As the crow flies, the Kimberley is some 2000 kilometres north of Perth. This month, Western Australia’s top end comes a little closer to the city centre during The Mantle’s inaugural Taste of the Kimberley & WA festival.
The three-week event is being driven by Stuart Laws, chef of The Mantle’s Peruvian-Japanese restaurant Don Tapa, who hopes to hold more regional West Australian food festivals throughout the year.
“I’ve been passionate about Indigenous training for a while now,” says Laws who came up with the concept during last year’s Gascoyne Food Festival. “Instead of doing something large-scale, I wanted to organise smaller, more exclusive events that can showcase regions and their cultures to people. The Mantle is a great space that lends itself to those things. I figured I’d start with the Kimberley at the top and work my way down.”
The festival starts on Tuesday with Battle of the Chefs, a six-course dinner starring native ingredients from the Kimberley and around the state. Joining Laws on the night will be Sam Ward (Más pop-up), Kiren Mainwaring (Co-op Dining), Sue Lewis (Sue Lewis Chocolatier), Melissa Palinkas (Young George) and Robyn Low (Rivermint Dining). Each chef will prepare a d(ish and mentor a young Indigenous chef on the night.
As part of the festival, The Mantle and Yallingup’s Eagle Bay Brewing have collaborated on a beer made with desert limes grown by Marvick Native Farms in Mogumber. Other events on the calendar include cooking classes, art exhibitions, basket-weaving demonstrations and talks on the cultural significance of indigenous ingredients led by Dale Tilbrook from the Swan Valley’s Maalinup Aboriginal Gallery.
Don Tapa will also incorporate indigenous ingredients into its menus during the festival. The new dishes will include a pearl meat and native lime ceviche and char-grilled kangaroo with miso carrot.