In the past, there were those who might have suggested a certain sameness to the Margaret River Gourmet Escape line-up. Event organisers, it would appear, have taken note – at least if this year’s first round of announcements is anything to go by.
From television personalities to heavy hitters and up-and-comers from the world of fine dining, there’s plenty of ground covered.
Undoubtedly the most high-profile of this year’s guests is author, television presenter and habitual midnight snacker Nigella Lawson. While specific details won’t be released till next week, it’s safe to assume that events featuring the BBC star will be among the festival’s most in-demand tickets.
At the other end of the scale will be those who’ll be hoping to snag seats at events featuring guest chefs from the world’s finest restaurants. As always, there’s no shortage of World’s 50 Best Restaurants firepower with three chefs from top 10 restaurants making their West Australian debut at the festival. Among them are Spaniards Joan Roca from El Celler de Can Roca (number 2) and Andoni Luis Aduriz from Mugaritz (number 7). Mauro Colagreco from France’s Mirazur (number 6) rounds off the high-powered trio.
Dominique Crenn, named world’s best female chef at this year’s awards, will be leaving her San Francisco restaurants Atelier Crenn and Petit Crenn to make her first West Australian appearance. Other World’s 50 Best talent heading to Margaret River include Isaac Hale of The Clove Club (number 26 and winner of this year’s highest new-entry award), Ashley Palmer-Watts from Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (number 45), and Thai food authority David Thompson from Bangkok’s Nahm (number 37) and Long Chim in Perth and Singapore.
Throw in some of Sydney and Melbourne’s best-known chefs – Peter Gilmore (Quay, Bennelong), Mark Best (Pei Modern), Mitch Orr (ACME), Analiese Gregory (Bar Brose), Lennox Hastie (Firedoor) and Andrew McConnell (Cutler & Co, Marion, Supernormal) – and you’ve got the makings of a very fun, very delicious weekend away. See you in November.
Margaret River Gourmet Escape runs November 18-20. Tickets to events go on sale at 11am on Friday July 22.