Melbourne is no stranger to being flocked with top-flight international talent at the beginning of each year and, if the programming for the 2016 instalment of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival is any guide, March will be no exception.
For starters there's a double-dose of exciting young talent on the Chinese food front. May Chow, chef and proprietor of Hong Kong hotspot Little Bao, is on board, maximising fun in a bun, and she's joined by none other than Danny Bowien, the Oklahoma-raised chef whose spicy-food-without-borders approach has made Mission Chinese the talk of both US coasts.
From a more classical background, but offering every bit as much star power, comes the mighty Pierre Koffmann, master of the stuffed pig's trotter, and mentor to a generation of Francophile British chefs (Marco Pierre White among them).
Tartine Bakery chef Chad Robertson will host a casual Sunday lunch at The Town Mouse's new wine bar, Embla. Robertson will put the wood-fired oven and grill to good use for each course (fingers crossed for a Tartine croque-monsieur).
Piedmontese brothers Manuel and Christian Costardi from Hotel Cinzia will share their expertise in risotto (they have more than 20 on their menu), while Paul Cunningham from the restaurant of Denmark's Henne Kirkeby Kro inn and Paul Carmichael, head chef at Sydney's Momofuko Seiobo, will also venture to Melbourne for the event.
And it's by no means all about the imports. Local hero Guy Grossi will cook a lunch stretching the main straight of the Melbourne Grand Prix circuit, and this year's Festival Hub, Queensbridge Square, will transform into an Urban Dairy with local and international cheese, yoghurt and ice-cream makers. Who's hungry?
Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, 4-13 March