Local and international. Contemporary and classical. High-end and accessible: this year’s Truffle Kerfuffle, more than ever, has something for everyone.
But whereas recent editions of the annual Southern Forests food festival have featured young culinary firebrands - Duncan Welgemoed of Africola, say, or James Viles of Biota - the line-up for the 2018 event skew a little more old-school. In a good way.
“We’re always looking to highlight talent at the cutting edge of Aussie food, but I think you’ve also got to give some respect to what you could call the classic practitioners who generally fit very well with the use of truffle,” says festival director, Max Brearley. “The mystique and desirability of truffle is woven through French and Italian cuisine.”
Many of this year’s interstate and international guests sport strong ties to French and Italian cooking. Melbourne-based restaurateur Guy Grossi – in the home stretch of opening his first Perth restaurant, Garum, at Hibernian Place – is overseeing the festival’s opening event, the Friday night Feast and Fire dinner. Mark Best, chef-patron of Sydney’s legendary progressive diner Marque, logged time in the kitchen of Alain Passard’s legendary Paris three-star, L’Arpege, while Sam Aisbett – kicking goals in Singapore at Whitegrass – counts Sydney powerhouses Quay and Tetsuya’s as previous ports of call.
Flying the flag for London are two chefs with plenty of experience at Michelin-starred restaurants. Marianne Lumb of Notting Hill 14-seater Marianne will be sharing her modern European know-how with guests at the intimate and interactive Chef’s Cabin sessions, as will Bruno Loubet, a veteran chef that’s cooked with French masters Pierre Koffmann and Raymond Blanc.
The local contingent is equally impressive. Among the events confirmed as part of the first line-up announcement: a Saturday morning truffle hunter’s brunch prepared by Scott Brannigan of Bread in Common.
In addition to intimate masterclasses and lively long-table dinners, guests can also explore the Festival Village and taste local produce and wine, watch truffle dog demonstrations and purchase WA goods (entry ticket required with additional activities a combination of free and ticketed events).
In short, winter is coming, and it’s looking more than a little delicious.
Truffle Kerfuffle is being held at Fonty’s Pool June 22-24. Tickets can be booked online.