Are you ready to party like you're Ben Shewry? The Attica chef has put together a mini-festival, the What a Wonderful World Gathering, featuring chefs and other speakers from around the world and a one-of-a-kind charity lunch in Melbourne over the weekend of Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 October. Never one to shy from wearing his heart on his sleeve, Shewry says the event is all about connecting chefs and restaurant people with the wider community, but will also tap into the essence of hospitality - something powerful, positive and potentially transformative for all involved.
"I know it sounds a bit corny, but I think it's really important to stay open, eyes, heart and mind, to the world around you," he says. "I'd like this gathering to be a time when people can check out for a moment, to stop, talk and take their bearings and think about what we're all doing, whether it's as chefs, winemakers, diners, or whatever it is we do."
To that end he is bringing together chefs such as Los Angeles Korean-taco king Roy Choi, Inaki Aizpitarte of Paris cult favourite Le Chateaubriand, Bo Songvisava, co-head chef of Bangkok restaurant Bo.lan and Peter Gilmore from Quay as well as other guests from a variety of backgrounds, including Tasmanian farmer Paulette Whitney, Lucky Peach editor Chris Ying, comedian Tom Gleeson, bladesmith Leila Haddad, enviro-designer and radical florist Joost Bakker, artist Kris Coad and digital disruption dude Will Dayble to speak on subjects close to their heart on the Saturday. On the Sunday the chef contingent will be bolstered by even more talent, including David Thompson of Nahm, Ben Greeno of Momofuku Seiobo, Daniel Patterson from San Francisco restaurant Coi, Isaac McHale from London's Clove Club, all working together and cooking up the proverbial storm to raise money for Helping Hoops, a charity which uses basketball to teach life skills to underprivileged children.
Admission to WAW Talks, at Spink St warehouse in Brighton on Saturday 4 October (Shewry says he thinks of it a bit like TED meets a bring-a-plate dinner at a Scout hall) is free, but ticketed through the WAW website. Bookings for WAW Gives, the $500-a-head lunch at Rippon Lea Estate on Sunday 5th, meanwhile, will also be taken via the site.
WAW: it's pronounced "war", but comes in the name of waging peace and bringing the good times. We'll see you there.
The WAW Gathering, 4-5 October, Melbourne.