Misha Moran was a naturopath before she started working in hospitality full-time, a mix resulting in what she calls her philosophy of “food as medicine”. Misha’s latest project is Food Rave, born out of her love of creative, good for your soul, festival-style dining, and her belief that just because it’s a pie and chips served at a festival it can still be the best pie and chips you’ve ever eaten.
“At music festivals I found that there was either really great food and not so great music, or the other way around.” And so it became Moran’s mission to rectify this imbalance.
Combining food, art and music, Food Rave’s ethos promises to win over Melbourne’s large population of discerning festival and restaurant-goers by offering high-quality, accessible food that celebrates small business and the city’s creative foodies who keep us so well fed.
Food Rave began after Let Them Eat Cake 2013 – the electronic music, art and design garden party-style festival held on New Year’s Day at Werribee Mansion.
Festival organisers approached Moran because, like her, they realised there was no reason why they shouldn’t have a superior food offering with vendors that matched the quality of music and art on offer.
Food Rave’s curated line-up for Let Them Eat Cake 2014 includes Melbourne pizza institution Ladro, gourmet hotdog outfit Phat Brats, American barbecue aficionadas from Fancy Hank’s, Vietnamese street food by Banh Mi Boys, Zebra Dream’s vegan coconut ice cream, burgers by Captain Melville, Everyday Coffee, and cakes and drinks by Storm in a Teacup.
Food Rave will also present a pop-up project in the CBD during Melbourne’s Food & Wine Festival in March.
In keeping with the event’s water theme, Moran’s concept – Nereus, named after the Greek god in charge of protecting the sea’s rich bounty, celebrates a range of ocean fare. Custom-built by The Seven, a group of local creatives, hospitality and bar insiders, the aquatic offering uses shipping containers to create a submarine mess hall-inspired dining space, alongside the kitchen, bar and private dining rooms.
Nereus will feature eight chefs or restaurants, selected by Moran, and serve an all-day bar food menu from midday, lunch and a dinner service, with DJs playing until late.
Kerala, which specialises in Southern Indian cuisine and does not currently have a permanent space, is locked in having previously featured as a pop-up at Collingwood cafe Tomboy and the Queen Victoria Night Market.
“Food curation and Food Rave challenges those starting out, putting them next to names that already have attention and a following,” says Moran. Established businesses are kept on their toes, too. In the Food Rave format they can push boundaries and try out menus and styles that their other ventures don’t always allow for.”
Encouraging collaborations between restaurants, chefs and local food producers is the next step for Food Rave. “My heart lies in knowing where our food comes from,” says Moran.
“It’s bizarre how all the things I have done in my life have started to link in,” she says. “Classic naturopathic principals teach knowing about what you eat and celebrating food. Food Rave isn’t about moving away from what people actually like to eat at festivals or when they’re in a casual setting. It’s about doing it well.”
Let Them Eat Cake takes place at Werribee Park on January 1 2014 from 11am to 10pm.
Nereus runs from February 28 to March 13 at the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. Secret CBD location to be announced on February 14 2014.