We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.
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Our guide to the best of the region.
The Byron at Byron devises new ways to relax and revive.
Industrial designer David Caon shares his secrets on how to travel like a pro.
Is this the best-looking cafe in Sydney?
Load up your three-tiered tray with raspberry tarts, super scones and chicken curry puffs and get ready for a higher high tea with chef Bethany Finn from the Mayflower.
Goodgod returns to Vivid with another pop-up and an ambitious goal: to generate just one bag of rubbish in the process.
A far cry from Tuscany’s familiar gently rolling hills, Monte Argentario’s appealing mix of mountain, ocean, island and lagoon makes it one of Italy’s hidden treasures, writes Emiko Davies.
Kick off winter with a week of cheese tasting.
Farro can be used in almost any dish, from a robust salad to accompany hearty beer-glazed beef short ribs to a new take on risotto with mushrooms, leek and parmesan. Here are 14 ways with this versatile grain.
There's nothing new about Nordic interiors - blond timbers, concrete surfaces, warm, mid-century charm without the twee - and thank heavens for that. It's a style that augments the beauty of everything around it, in this case, gorgeous Hobart harbour, which makes up one whole wall. What is new here, however, is the food - by veterans of Garagistes, which once dazzled diners down the road, Vue de Monde in Melbourne and Gordon Ramsay worldwide. There's a strong Asian bent, but with Tasmanian ingredients. In fact, the kitchen's love of the local verges on obsessive - coconut milk in an aromatic fish curry is replaced with Tasmanian-grown fig leaf simmered in cream to mimic the flavour. Other standouts include a gutsy red-braised lamb with gai lan and chewy cassia spaetzle, pigs' ears zingy with Sichuan pepper and a fresh, springy berry dessert. While the food is sourced locally, the generous wine list spans the planet.
Beyond Kuala Lumpur's shopping malls, Lara Dunston finds a flourishing third-wave coffee scene, tailored food tours and charming neighbourhoods.
No, it’s not a pop-up. The team behind Sydney’s Moon Park is back with an all-day east-Asian eatery.
Chris Lucas has flown in talent from all over the world, including Eleven Madison Park, for his bold new venture. Here’s what to expect from Kisume.
Here we've scorched apricots on the grill and served them with torn jamon, shaved Manchego and peppery rocket leaves. Think of it as a twist on the good old melon-prosciutto routine. The mixture would also be great served on charred sourdough.
Prepare to enter a picture of the countryside framed by note-perfect Australiana but painted in bold, elegant and unsentimental strokes. Over 10 or more courses, Dan Hunter celebrates his region with dishes that are formally daring (Crunchy prawn heads! Creamy oyster soft-serve! Sea urchin and chicory bread pudding!), yet rich in flavour and substance. The menu could benefit from an edit, but the plates are tightly composed - and what could you cut? Certainly not the limpid broth bathing fronds of abalone and calamari, nor the clever arrangement of lobster played off against charred waxy fingerlings under a swatch of milk skin. The adventure is significantly the richer for the cool gloss of the dining room, some of the most engaging service in the nation and wine pairings that roam with an easy-going confidence. Maturing and relaxing without surrendering a drop of its ambition, Brae is more compelling than ever.
Cook it and they will come. Australia's tourism chief tells Helen Anderson why the future is on the table.
Two recent events - one professional, one medical - have improved John O'Sullivan's menu choices dramatically.
In early 2014 he was appointed managing director of Tourism Australia, and within eight months he had focused the attention of the nation's peak tourism marketing agency squarely on the pleasures of the table. He launched a campaign called Restaurant Australia to tap into the global groundswell of interest in epicurean tourism and tackle a "perception gap" about the appeal of Australia's food and wine experiences, and since then he's learnt much about his country and its cuisine.
"The amazing thing about Australia's food and wine offering is its diversity," he says from the agency's scenic 29th-floor office in Sydney's CBD. "It's everything from incredible fine dining to laneway bars to shucking oysters to barbecuing barramundi beside a river in the Northern Territory. And all the characters you meet along the way."
The other event was just as transformative. "I grew up being told I was allergic to crustacea," says the 46-year-old. "Then I was tested a couple of years ago and found that I wasn't. It opened up this world of seafood. I rediscovered prawns and crab."
Although shrimp and barbies are again part of the tourism message, Restaurant Australia confounds stereotypes rather than reinforcing them. And it's a broader message than the name suggests, focusing on three key elements of a traveller's food and wine experience - people, produce and place - and relying on farmers, chefs, winemakers and tourism operators to tell their stories.
Launched under the flagship "There's Nothing Like Australia" campaign, Restaurant Australia was designed to close the gap in attitudes between those who had been here and those who had not. Research in 15 key markets showed travellers who had visited the country ranked it second for food and wine pleasure - behind France and ahead of Italy. Only 26 per cent of people who had never visited Australia associated it with good food and wine.
"That was a real marketing problem," O'Sullivan says, "and closing that gap is really important because food and wine continues to be the third most important driver in picking a destination internationally across our markets."
Restaurant Australia's first big event, Invite the World to Dinner, drew 86 international food and wine "influencers" and media to an ambitious program of food-focused research trips in November 2014, culminating in a dinner for 252 in a subterranean gallery at MONA in Tasmania. The result, according to Tourism Australia, has been 119 research trips reaching a global audience of 6.1 billion.
The second phase of Restaurant Australia aimed to show the nation's unique produce and heritage through the eyes of one of the world's best chefs. More than 150 global media and culinary figures were hosted by Tourism Australia at a 10-week pop-up in Sydney by Copenhagen chef René Redzepi, of Noma fame. The wildly inventive menu based on indigenous produce - magpie goose, unripe macadamia nuts, fermented kangaroo and more - was developed by Redzepi and his team during research trips supported by Tourism Australia.
"From a marketing point of view, René's immersion in the Australian culinary landscape was priceless," says O'Sullivan. "Suddenly a global audience had their eyes opened to this unique pantry."
The word about Noma Australia spread like wildfire beyond media types - all 5,500 places, at $485 a head, were sold in four minutes, with a waiting list of some 27,000.
Restaurant Australia's third date-claimer is the World's Best 50 Restaurants awards to be held in Melbourne next June, which will be witnessed by another armada of food-andwine luminaries hosted by Tourism Australia and bookended by research trips and events.
The investment has been substantial - about $75 million from Tourism Australia and partners in the past two years. And the return? "Outstanding", insists O'Sullivan. The target to increase international visitor spending on food and wine by at least $500 million by December last year was achieved six months ahead of schedule; even better, he says, the extra spend now exceeds $1 billion. Australia's overall ranking as a culinary destination among existing and potential travellers has risen from number 10 to number six. And there's the further benefit of encouraging the tourism and hospitality industries to recognise "they're one and the same", says O'Sullivan. "But for me it's some of the softer stuff that's just as important," he says, citing a few of the unscripted connections made when chefs and producers have a platform from which to tell their stories to millions.
Born in Sydney and raised in Brisbane, Australia's chief tourism marketer spent simple, quintessentially Australian holidays with his parents and sister at the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast and Port Macquarie. He fancied the idea of becoming an activities officer at a Whitsunday resort, and enrolled in leisure studies at Griffith University. One of his lecturers, leading sports administrator Lois Appleby, steered him towards event management and sports marketing and became his first boss. O'Sullivan rose quickly through executive roles at the Sydney 2000 Olympic organising committee, Football Federation Australia, Events Queensland and Fox Sports. His conversation is peppered with sporting parlance. "I often compare chefs with footy coaches," he says. "Food is now celebrity, as much as music, as much as sport."
O'Sullivan believes food and wine will continue to fuel the growth of Australian tourism and will be crucial in hitting a shared industry target of annual tourism spending of between $115 billion and $140 billion by 2020. On current performance, he says, the industry is firmly on track.
With 12 offices abroad, O'Sullivan travels extensively for work and spends holidays around Australia with his young family. He loves street food ("though street food doesn't always love me") and along with his reacquaintance with crustaceans he continues his quest for the world's best hotel club sandwich. "I check in, and there's a Pavlovian response now," he jokes. "As soon as I shut the door, I look at the phone, look at the menu." The benchmark so far is set by the Shangri-La Hotel, Tokyo, "but I'd call it an ongoing project."
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