It's not often you'd find Marco Pierre White, David Chang and children's entertainer Justine Clarke headlining the same festival. But then again, it's not the oddest food and music mash up we've seen (that accolade goes to the Download Festival featuring Ozzy Osbourne and Paul Carmichael).
The Western Australia Gourmet Escape, 8–17 November, is bringing together some of the finest culinary talent from around Australia and the world for a 10-day celebration of food and wine in Perth, the Swan Valley and the Margaret River region.
David Chang, doyen of the Momofuku empire and doubter of the Aussie burger, will be wielding the tongs at a beach barbecue alongside his Sydney-based Momofuku counterpart Paul Carmichael; while Pierre White will returning to the festival, appearing at two Swan Valley events.
"I absolutely love this part of the world, so I'll be making the most of being back in Western Australia for this glorious event," says Pierre White. "I'm appearing at the first-ever Gourmet Feast set on the grounds of Sandalford Estate in the Swan Valley, and I'll be hosting a dinner at Sittella Winery, where guests will learn more about my thoughts on the past, present and future of food."
The festival will also feature Pierre White's one-time teacher Pierre Koffmann of London's La Tante Claire, Danny Bowien of San Francisco's lauded Mission Chinese Food, and Amanda Cohen of New York vegetarian eating house Dirt Candy. There's some closer-to-home names too: Mark Best (on a cruise liner), Jock Zonfrillo (Orana) and Matt Stone (Oakridge Estate) collaborating on an Australian-style barbecue, and Josh Niland (Saint Peter) cooking a fin-to-tail dinner with wines paired by Margaret River's Amelia Park, and our David Thompson, now based in Bangkok, will be flying in to cook a collaborative Thai dinner with Gaa's Garima Arora.
It's a bumper version of the festival, which launched in 2015 and was initially conceived as a four-day event confined to just the Margaret River. This year marks the first time events will also be held in the Swan Valley and in Perth, and over a mammoth 10 days.
Pierre White, who headlined the first Gourmet Escape, says he's looking forward to exploring more of what the state has to offer. "The majority of my time in Western Australia so far has been spent in Margaret River and the south west, which has been absolutely sensational," he says.
"The Swan Valley is actually Western Australia's oldest wine region with a fascinating history I look forward to learning more about. It's right on Perth's doorstep – so I'll undoubtedly be eating my way around both locations."
Tickets to the Western Australia Gourmet Escape go on sale on Thursday 18 July, 9am AEST. For full event details, visit gourmetescape.com.au