Food News

GT’s picks of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2020

With more than 140 food and wine events concertinaed into 11 days, the choice paralysis is real.

By Audrey Bourget
They've held literal long lunches on a 500-metre table, doled out absinthe-flavoured ice-cream, exhibited the Good Food Crap Drawings of Instagram favourite Anna Vu, and set up a stall for Attica's Ben Shewry to hug strangers for $20 a pop, all in the name of fundraising for victims of this year's Christchurch shootings – the Melbourne Food and Festival never fails to please, and the 2020 program promises more excellent food, wine and good times.
Held from 19-29 March, the festival packs 146 events featuring international headliners (Alison Roman! Fuchsia Dunlop!), home-grown stars and street parties in just 11 days. There's a lot to take in, so we've shortlisted the events that are most worthy of your attention.

Global Dining Series

It's a tough job knowing where to start with this series of events that pairs some of the biggest international chefs with talent from top Melbourne restaurants. Could it be a three-course lunch by New York's Alison Roman at the Stokehouse? Sichuan culinary doyenne Fuchsia Dunlop joining forces with Neil Perry and Neisha Woo at Spice Temple? Cloudstreet's Rishi Naleendra, who earned his stripes at Tetsuya's and Yellow, going in with Khanh Nguyen at Sunda, or Zahav's Michael Solomonov whipping up an Israeli feast with Ben Shewry at Attica? The choice is yours.
For more on the Global Dining series, visit www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au
Alison Roman. Photo: Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott, courtesy of Hardie Grant Books.

MasterQuiz by The Hungry Gentlemen

When two Gourmet Traveller writers come together for a night of trivia-meets-taste-testing, only good things can happen. GT's wine expert Max Allen and contributor Richard Cornish (i.e. The Hungry Gentlemen) reprise their wildly popular MasterQuiz in 2020. Be ready for culinary hijinks, "surprise" celebrity appearances, and up to $2,000 worth of prizes.

It’s the year of Filipino food at the festival

Next year's MFWF festival features three events that celebrate the South Asian cuisine. Melbourne's The Entree.Pinays, who describe themselves a group of food-loving entrepreneurial Filipinas, present a panel talk (and dessert-tasting) with leading Australian-Filipino pastry chefs; while Chad and Chase Valencia from Los Angeles restaurant Lasa cook up a five-course modern Filipino feast at Rice Paper Sister.
And if you've yet to experience the joys of lechon and sisig, the Barrio Laneway Fiesta, a festival of Filipino street snacks, is just the ticket. Street food, Melbourne laneways – what a way to cap off the last day of the festival.

The free events

A ticket is not a pre-requisite for the MFWF's open events. An appetite is. The Sichuan Snack Fair promises mouth-numbing goodness by Fuchsia Dunlop and local heroes Dainty Sichuan and Lee Ho Fook; and if the MFWF is holding something called The Big Spaghetti, an all-pasta street festival featuring dishes by Capitano, Rosetta and drinks by Bar Americano and moustachioed wine importer Giorgio De Maria, you're best to block out your diary on 28 March.
Both events will be held at the Queen Victoria Market, the headquarters of the festival in 2020. It's also where you can catch talks and demonstrations by the festival stars including Roman, Helen Goh, Josh Niland and Eyal Shani. On 29 March, Ben Shewry will be leading discussions around the topic of hope with guests like Dark Emu author Bruce Pascoe and rapper Briggs.

And some more…

A vegan party by Smith & Daughters' Shannon Martinez. An Oaxacan lunch by Josh Lewis (La Casita and Fleet) and Jack Stewart (Congress). A clam bar by Belles Hot Chicken and New Zealand brewers Garage Project. A mysterious night-time adventure at Lune Croissanterie. Melbourne, you've got it made.
The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2020 will run from 19 to 29 March around Melbourne.
Information and bookings at mfwf.com.au