The beloved Western Australia Gourmet Escape presented by Westpac is expanding. Now a fixture on the global culinary calendar, the festival will expand to 10 days this year. Running from November 8 to 17 across three regions in Western Australia – the Swan Valley, Perth and Margaret River – the festival will host the likes of David Chang, Marco Pierre White, Danny Bowien, Amanda Cohen, Garima Arora, and Alla Wolf-Tasker.
Event Director Katrina King said the festival is expanding in recognition of the state’s prominence as a food and wine destination. “We’re extremely proud to offer the most diverse program yet, showcasing so many global cuisines and experiences in some of Western Australia’s most stunning and unique locations.”
Activities range from fine dining with Michelin-starred chefs to casual new-wave wine events to wholesome family activities. Returning favourites include the Westpac Gourmet Beach BBQ, Gourmet Village at Leeuwin Estate, Cullen Chardonnay Wine Tasting and Lunch, Cape Mentelle International Cabernet Tasting and Sunset Beats & Bites.
With more than 50 events on the huge program here’s five highlights to keep front of mind.
Gourmet Feast in the Valley (November 9-10)
On the first weekend of the festival, Perth’s favourite food trucks will rally on the lush grounds of the Sandalford winery to tend to guests’ bellies. On Saturday slick alt-pop act The Rubens will provide the soundtrack with support from Fergus James, while local acts will bolster the bill on the Sunday. There will also be kids’ entertainment on hand. Marco Pierre White heads the culinary line-up at this inaugural event, joined by hardcore carnivore Jess Pryles, DJ BBQ (aka Christian Stevenson) and Sydney DJ/food nerd Andrew Levins. Keep an eye on Pierre White’s one-off collaboration dinner at Sittella Winery nearby on November 8.
Mark Best on the Ocean Dream (November 15-17)
Mark Best is widely regarded as one of Australia’s most important chefs. His Sydney fine diner Marque won every major dining accolade in Australia and was added to the World’s Best 50 Restaurants list. After it closed in 2016, Best operated a restaurant called Bistro by Mark Best aboard luxury cruise ship Genting Dream. His notoriety skyrocketed in 2018 after he made it to the grand final of Netflix series The Final Table. This is a rare chance to sample Best’s cooking aboard the luxury catamaran Ocean Dream with the ocean as your back drop.
Into the New Africa #1 (November 15)
Kobus van der Merwe is owner of South Africa’s Wolfgat Restaurant, named restaurant of the year in this year’s inaugural World Restaurant Awards. Renowned for his use of foraged ingredients, here he’ll team up with WA’s own Paul Iskov of Fervor, another master of wild fare. Held on Fermoy’s private lakeside cabana, this 40-seat, eight-course dinner will pair dishes with Fermoy Estate wines, and promises to be an intimate exploration of both chef's talents as well as a rare opportunity to try highly uncommon dishes.
Dining by Twilight at Margaret River’s Secret Garden presented by Seedlip (November 16)
This twilight dining experience has fast become one of Margaret River’s most-loved events. This year sees chef Amanda Cohen, of New York’s first vegetable-focused restaurant Dirt Candy, team up with WA chef George Cooper (Tiller Dining) for a dining experience under the stars. Featuring produce grown on Cooper’s Yallingup farm, this indulgent degustation is definitely one for lovers of veggies.
Safari Club Cookout (November 15-16)
Nestled beneath towering jarrah and karri trees is the Leeuwin Estate Safari Club – an ideal setting for a feast cooked over flames. Each year the Safari Club welcomes a number of international chefs to its beautiful forest kitchen, where guests congregate to enjoy the best of meats cooked over the grill. This year’s line-up features the likes of Garima Arora, the first female Indian chef to receive a Michelin star, Prateek Sadhu from Masque in Mumbai, and Jock Zonfrillo from Orana in Adelaide.
All tickets for the event go on sale 9am AEST Thursday July 18.
Broadsheet is a proud media partner of Western Australia Gourmet Escape presented by Westpac. See the full 2019 program here.