Over 17 days food and wine lovers are invited to celebrate the world’s ocean and river fare guided by the best seafood chefs, join exclusive behind-the-scenes tours both on and off the water, get amongst it at lively street parties, secure a spot at never-to-be-repeated dinners, and much more.
THE FESTIVAL HUB, 28 February – 16 March
The Immersery: Festival Kitchen, Bar and Raingarden, the centrepiece of the 2014 program, is a three-level hub space on the banks of the Yarra River featuring a floating barge bar, open-kitchen eatery and skyline community space in the City of Melbourne’s Queensbridge Square, open for 17 days of the Festival. Following on from the Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar in 2013, this ambitious project designed for the second year by HASSELL, is inspired by water’s cyclical journey with the three levels of the installation each representing one of the three states of water – liquid, solid and gas.
The menu at the open-kitchen eatery on the concourse level will be designed by a local chef collective – Florent Gerardin (Silo by Joost), Jesse Gerner (Anada & Bomba), Joel Alderson and Adam Liston (Borrowed Space), Hamish Nugent and Rachel Reed (Tani Eat & Drink), and Daniel Wilson (Huxtable & Huxtaburger) – and will take the much-loved tradition of Chinese yum cha dining and apply truly global flavours from east to west while embracing a range of water-based cooking techniques. At the floating barge bar sample wine plus one-off cocktails and drinks celebrating the three states of water designed by some of the country’s boundary-pushing bartenders.
Melbourne Water and HASSELL will create raingardens to ‘green’ the urban space throughout and allow visitors to learn about how water can be captured, filtered and reused before it re-enters the water cycle. A cloud-like canopy ‘hovering’ over the disused rail bridge running parallel to Sandridge Bridge will create a spectacular new elevated view of the city, if only for a short time.
OPENING WEEKEND, 28 February – 2 March
Festival favourite Bank of Melbourne World’s Longest Lunch (28 February) gathers 1,500 lunching revellers at one 500 metre-long table to kick off the first day of the Festival along the banks of the Yarra in Alexandra Park. The three-course menu will be designed by Jacques Reymond, Adam D’Sylva, and Stefano de Pieri and brought to life by Peter Rowland Catering. Celebrating the world’s waterways as the lifeblood of food and wine, each chef will draw on personal connections to the Amazon, Mekong, and Murray-Darling rivers respectively to create a menu matched to fine wines from Seppelt.
LANGHAM MELBOURNE MASTERCLASS, 8 – 9 March At the hotly anticipated Langham Melbourne MasterClass, 8 – 9 March, learn from and taste the creations of the new wave of young gun chefs alongside global greats of the kitchen as they share their connection with the world’s most precious resource. Chilean food forager Rodolfo Guzmán (Boragó, Santiago), three Michelin-starred Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood, St Helena, USA), and artisan produce champion Matthew Jennings (Farmhouse Inc. Providence, USA) are among the line-up.
Also part of Langham Melbourne MasterClass, Perfect Match uncovers classic and quirky food and wine pairings guided by Victorian chefs, winemakers, sommeliers and producers. Presenter duos include Geoff Lindsay (Dandelion, Elwood) and Mike Aylward (Ocean Eight Winery, Mornington Peninsula) creating matches for fresh Vietnamese flavours, and Rosa Mitchell (Rosa’s Kitchen, Melbourne) and Owen Latta (Eastern Peake Vineyard, Ballarat) sharing pairings inspired by ‘God’s Kitchen’, the island of Sicily.
OTHER HIGHLIGHT MELBOURNE EVENTS
Melbourne’s hottest restaurants will pull out all the stops to bring you dining experiences exclusive to the Festival. Brothers Matt and Andrew McConnell join forces for Blood is Thicker than Water, a street party between Casa Ciuccio and Cutler & Co with water and blood-inspired dishes; Darren Purchese (Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio) takes over the historic Johnston Collection for decadent desserts at Swan Lake’s Sweet Seduction; chef Frank Camorra and food writer Richard Cornish will talk foodies through a gastronomic tour of southern Spain, from the secrets of Spanish seafood to tales of nuns making moreish doughnuts (A Gastro-Tour of Spain, MoVida Aqui), and the world-famous Nobu Matsushisa will create a menu influenced by his 25 restaurants across the world for The Master and The Prodigy (Nobu, Crown Melbourne).
Learn about and taste our state’s outstanding seafood at events on and off the water. Hook, Lunch & Sinker returns with a fishing trip and lunch at Stokehouse Upstairs lead by The Age Good Food Guide Young Chef of the Year Ollie Gould, or at Melbourne’s Fish Mongrels at Sanford Australia, Melbourne’s wholesale fish hub, take a 3am tour and a first-hand look at wild-caught seafood.
New for 2014, the Flemington Grazing Trail & Cellar Door combines the best of Victoria’s wineries, craft breweries and artisan producers with Group 1 racing on Flemington’s Super Saturday race meeting (8 March), offering trackside wine tasting and gourmet produce picnics just outside the city. Family-friendly events include hands-on cooking classes for kids in Queensbridge Square at Little Foodies Corner (1 – 2 March), and over the long weekend waterside restaurants and bars will pop up with a range of delights along the Yarra River at Crown’s Food and Wine Live Site (7 – 10 March).
And for those seeking to explore and debate the social and environmental issues connected with water, the Festival is collaborating with The Wheeler Centre for an evening of stories and reflections from a broad spectrum of extraordinary speakers for On Water: Eight Speakers. Eight Stories (11 March) at The Athenaeum Theatre.
REGIONAL WEEKEND, 14 – 16 March
Foodies are invited to tour through Victoria over Regional Weekend (14 – 16 March) with all Festival events taking place out in the regions. The weekend kicks off with 22 Regional World’s Longest Lunches at spectacular locations across the state including Queenscliff Harbour on the Bellarine Peninsula, among the vines at Elgee Park vineyard in the Mornington Peninsula, and overlooking the ocean in Inverloch, Gippsland.
Water MasterClass – the Festival’s famed outdoor MasterClass experience – moves to regional Victoria for 2014 with a progressive experience for 50 guests culminating in a spectacular feast at Campbell Point House on the Bellarine Peninsula (15 March). Aaron Turner (ex-Loam, Drysdale) returns to Australian shores to join Peter Gilmore (Quay, Sydney) and the UK’s Michelin-starred Nathan Outlaw (Nathan Outlaw Restaurant, Cornwall) for fly fishing and fish smoking workshops, plus hands-on mussel and oyster demonstrations with seafood farmer Lance Wiffen (Sea Bounty, Portarlington).
Also over Regional Weekend, join the ultimate ‘60s themed cocktail party at The Dispensary Enoteca (Bendigo), James Bond vs. Don Draper, as they pit the signature drinks of the two smooth operators against each other. Feast at regional events embracing Victoria’s waterways, from floating down the King River ‘river sledding’ on lilos followed by lunch at Dal Zotto Winery (High Country) for Lilos & Prosecco; to dinner with Ovens River produce in the Alpine Valley at Tani Eat & Drink’s Down by the River.