Regional Western Australia

Gascoyne Food Festival 2019, part 1: Carnarvon and the Long Table Lunch

Carnarvon Gascoyne Food Festival

The Gascoyne Food Festival is one of my favourite events. It’s a good opportunity to head north and escape the city, and enjoy some regional produce and hospitality. All events of the 2019 festival sold out, with over 2,000 guests enjoying gourmet dining experiences in Carnarvon, Dirk Hartog Island, Exmouth and Mount Augustus. New events this year were held at Wooramel River Retreat and Quobba Station.

Carnarvon Gascoyne Food Festival

This year I flew up on the Thursday morning, and spent the day driving around Carnarvon. It’s always a beautiful place to visit, and very easy to get around. You certainly appreciate the joys of country driving on relatively quiet roads.

I visited some of my favourite spots in the area, such as the Space and Technology Museum and One Mile Jetty before hitting the Fruit Loop Drive Trail, a great way to connect with local producers. Lining the banks of the Gascoyne River, honesty stalls on the side of the road have a wide range of produce available to purchase.

Venues such as Bumbak’s, Morel’s, Gascoyne Organic Farm, Tiptons and Westut Plantation are local icons and the perfect way to experience fresh regional produce.

The main event was held on Friday: the eight-course Long Table Lunch, set in the heart of productive horticultural country on the Gascoyne River at Bentwaters Plantation.

Led by chef Stuart Laws (Showcase Events WA), the diners were fed by Melissa Palinkas (Young George), Chase Weber (The Standard), Leigh Nash (Dingo Sauce Co.), Nic Wood (Santini Bar & Grill), Gord Kahle (Cook & Mason), Scott Bridger (Bib & Tucker), Kyle Lyons (Otherside Brewing Co. and MasterChef 2019) and Rohan Park (Fervor). The lunch was expertly emceed by Perth radio and TV favourite Carmen Braidwood.

As you would expect, not one of the 280 guests went home hungry (and very few sober, thanks to wine sponsor Swings & Roundabouts and beer sponsor Gage Roads).

Chase Weber’s unique “Comfortable in our Skins” dessert featuring Sweeter Bananas, banana skins, Nguyen passionfruit and burnt honey was a favourite course amongst the crowds.

Nic Wood’s Harvey Beef rump camp was some of the tastiest and tenderest beef I’ve ever eaten.

There were a few sore heads on Saturday morning at the Grower’s Market, held at the Carnarvon Civic Centre. Thankfully there was plenty of coffee, fresh juice and legendary “Church Burgers” to go around. The cooking demonstrations must go on…

I returned to Perth with another set of fantastic Carnarvon memories, and it was only a few weeks until I went back to start the long journey to Mount Augustus for Australia’s Biggest BBQ. Stay tuned for the full story on that unforgettable adventure…

Visit the Carnarvon Visitor Centre website for more information on the region and start planning your visit to the Gascoyne Food Festival 2020!

Martin travelled to Carnarvon as a guest of the festival.

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