The first announcement of celebrity chefs and food industry experts has been announced for the 2019 Western Australia Gourmet Escape, with international stars David Chang (USA), Marco Pierre White (UK), Danny Bowien (USA), Amanda Cohen (USA) and Pierre Koffmann (UK) leading the lineup.
For the first time, the festival will be held in three WA regions - the Swan Valley, Perth and Margaret River, however not all of the celebrities will be venturing south for the final portion of the event.
A festival program of more than 50 events will begin in the Swan Valley where food, music and family-friendly entertainment is on the menu, followed by collaborations with visiting chefs in some of Perth's best restaurants, before heading down south to the Margaret River region to celebrate the world-class wine and produce the South-West is famous for.
Pierre White, who attended the festival in 2015 and described the experience as 'life changing,' will be taking part in a one-off collaboration dinner at Sittella Winery in the Swan Valley, as well as making appearances at the family-friendly festival in the Swan Valley, Gourmet Feast in the Valley.
"Gourmet Escape without question is the greatest food event on earth," Pierre White said.
"It puts a spotlight on this region. Look at the soil, feel the sand, that's why everything grows so beautifully.
Chefs from every single corner of the world come here. It's life changing because you're being exposed to something that you've never been exposed to before. It's as simple as that."
Katrina King, Gourmet Escape Event Director said the event had positioned the Margaret River wine region on the global culinary map.
"In 2019 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 food and wine locations," she said.
"From fine dining with Michelin stars, to casual new wave wine events, to a wholesome family-friendly festival and returning favourites, like the Westpac Gourmet Beach BBQ, Gourmet Village at Leeuwin Estate, Cullen Chardonnay Wine Tasting and Lunch and Sunset Beats & Bites," Ms King said.
The Swan Valley will also play host to the inaugural World Gourmet Symposium, a trade event designed to educate, dissect and debate the future of the food, beverage, tourism and hospitality industries.
This year the dancefloor will also be heating up, with the addition of an exciting music program that features chart-topping headliners The Rubens, fresh off their European tour, and indie star, singer-songwriter Fergus James, at the new Gourmet Feast in the Valley event in the Swan Valley.
2019 Program highlights
SWAN VALLEY & PERTH - 8-14 November
Gourmet Feast in the Valley - a new family-friendly food and music event held on the stunning grounds of Sandalford Winery over the festival's first weekend.
Celebrating artisanal produce and authentic culinary experiences, visiting chefs include the first rock star chef Marco Pierre White, hardcore carnivore Jess Pryles and Christian Stevenson aka DJ BBQ.
The soundtrack will be pumping with Aussie alt-rock favourites The Rubens headlining on Saturday 9 November supported by Fergus James, 6-piece soul act Odette Mercy and Her Soul Atomics and Aussie DJ and chef Andrew Levins.
The Sunday session is all about celebrating WA musicians with local singer-songwriters Web Rumors, indie-pop songstress Carla Geneve and rock goddess Abbe May taking to the stage.
Not forgetting the little ones, dirtgirl and her band Mother Earth (Saturday 9 Nov) and Aria award winning children's performer Justine Clarke (Sunday 10 Nov) will keep the kids entertained. Guests can also take part in hands on activities and masterclasses, enjoy locally focused festival food by some of Perth's hottest food trucks and revel in the drama of cooking over flame at the Feast Fire Pit presented by Australian Good Meat.
The Swan Valley program also features three exciting collaboration dinners:
Marco Pierre White on the Past, Present and Future of Food dinner at Sittella Winery (Fri 8 Nov)
Low and Slow with Jess Pryles presented by Australian Good Meat (Fri 8 Nov)
The Italian Connection Dinner with Fico (TAS) and Lamont's (Sat 9 Nov)
The World Gourmet Symposium (Thurs 14 Nov) will bring together industry leaders and change-makers to discuss topics that impact and shape the culinary world.
Mid-week will see some of Perth's hottest restaurants welcome visiting chefs into their kitchens for unforgettable dinners with the world's best. (Perth program to be released in August.)
MARGARET RIVER - 15-17 November
Dining by Twilight at Margaret River's Secret Garden presented by Seedlip - this much-loved event will this year feature Amanda Cohen from Dirt Candy in New York, alongside WA chef George Cooper for a vegetable degustation using produce grown on Cooper's own farm (Sat 16 Nov.)
Into the New Africa #1 - Foraging, respect for the land and a deep love of country: South Africa's Kobus van der Merwe, from The World Restaurant Awards' Restaurant of the Year 2019* Wolfgat, is heading to Western Australia to prepare an intimate, personal dinner with Paul Iskov of Fervor (Fri 15 Nov.)
Into the New Africa #2 - For one night only, two nomadic chefs - Selassie Atadika from Ghana, and Paul Iskov representing Australia's original flavours, will come together in a cross-continent celebration of wild foods (Sat 16 Nov.)
Eating at The Crossroads: Nouri Comes to Vasse Felix - Ivan Brehm pioneers Crossroads Cooking, a culinary practice which reveals the complex web of shared food histories that influence what we eat today, exploring the global story of human connection. He will team up with Vasse Felix's Brendan Pratt to weave the practice through the menu, paired with wines from the vineyard, a pioneer in its own right (Fri 15 Nov.)
Ristorante Cracco at Cape Lodge presented by Singapore Airlines - traditionally reserved for visiting chefs over the festival weekend, the elegant Cape Lodge lakeside restaurant will open its doors for Gourmet Escape attendees to experience a unique collaboration between resident local chef Tony Howell and Milan master Carlo Cracco (Sat 16 Nov.)
Mission Chinese X Chow's Table presented by Gage Roads Brewing Co. - from the eclectic streets of NYC to the picturesque valleys of Margaret River, this unique partnering will see Mission Chinese mastermind Danny Bowien collaborate with local legend Malcom Chow for a Chinese banquet like no other (Sat 16 Nov.)
When Bo.Lan Came To Wise - Bo and Dylan from Bo.Lan in Bangkok will bring their traditional Thai cuisine with a fine-dining twist and serve it with unforgettable views and wines at Wise Vineyard Restaurant (Fri 15 Nov.)
Lake House Meets Wills Domain- East meets south-west as two champions of regional food, Alla Wolf-Tasker AM of Lake House Daylesford and Seth James from Wills Domain, come together to serve an unforgettable dinner overlooking the vines (Fri 15 Nov.)
From Fin to Tail: Saint Peter X Amelia Park - Josh Niland, one of the world's most talented fish whisperers, comes to Margaret River to combine forces with Amelia Park's Blair Allen who champions incredible local produce and seasonal cooking, paired with Amelia Park's award-winning wines (Sat 16 Nov.)
Mark Best on the Ocean Dream - join Australian chef Mark Best for a one-of-a-kind luxury cruise on idyllic Geographe Bay on board the luxury catamaran 'Ocean Dream.' Best's cooking combined with spectacular views and world-class local wines will make for an unforgettable experience (Fri 15 - Sun 17 Nov.)
Estate-to-Plate: A Locavore Experience at Voyager Estate - Passionate, committed and 100 per cent behind local produce and producers will be the ethos behind this collaborative dinner between Ray Adriansyah (Locavore, Bali) and Spanish-born chef Santiago Fernandez (Voyager Estate.) And because dinner will be held at Voyager's grounds, this celebration will also include Voyager's vaunted wines (Sat 16 Nov.)
Adding new flavour to the festival's forest events, the new Safari Club Cookout will offer live entertainment and showcase a range of cuisines from our visiting chefs who are famous for cooking over flame including:
A Thai Takeover with David Thompson and Garima Arora. Garima from Gaa in Bangkok, is the first Indian Female Chef to receive a Michelin Star and was recently awarded Asia's Best Female Chef 2019 at Asia's 50 Best Restaurants Awards (Fri 15 Nov.)
An Indian Inspired feast by Prateek Sadhu from Masque in Mumbai (Sat 16 Nov.)
An Australian BBQ with WA home-grown talent Matt Stone and South Australia's Jock Zonfrillo (Sun 17 Nov.)
The ever-popular Westpac Gourmet Beach BBQ will be hosted by a blend of international, Australian and WA chefs, once again offering up the perfect waterside dining experience coupled with incredible produce, wine and music (Fri 15 Nov- Sun 17 Nov.)
On Friday, David Chang will bring a taste of the legendary Momofuku restaurant empire to the South-West.
Saturday, meanwhile, is all about home-team love as renowned West Australian fire starters Kenny McHardy (Manuka Woodfire Kitchen), Scott Bridger (Bib & Tucker) and Brenton Pyke (Market Eating House) swap their wood-ovens for an open-air kitchen
To finish, Monty Koludrovic from Bondi institution Icebergs Dining Room & Bar will cater a Sunday Sesh brimming with Sydney cool.
Wine royalty Christina Pickard, James Halliday, Nick Stock and Mike Bennie will be on hand to educate, inform and guide guests on their wine tasting journey at a number of returning favourites, including Sunset Beats & Bites, The Official Closing Party, Long Lunches at Fraser Gallop Estate, premium Chardonnay Tasting at Cullen Wines, the Leeuwin Estate Art Series Dinner, and the eighth instalment of the Gourmet Village at Leeuwin Estate Winery.
Tickets go on sale at 9am AEST on Thursday 18 July. For full event details visit www.gourmetescape.com.au