The Sunshine Coast may be home to some of the freshest, most flavoursome produce, but some still associate the region with one fruity tourist trap: The Big Pineapple. However, that's all about to change after the success of the first The Curated Plate.
Earlier this month, for the first time, some of the industry's biggest, most revered, and exciting names — local and international — descended on the Sunshine Coast to cook, drink, graze, forage and reveal long-held trade secrets in the beautiful hinterland, rainforest and beaches along the Sunshine Coast.
Franklin's Analiese Gregory flew in for the occasion, joining her old mentor and boss, Peter Gilmore, for one event, while also cooking alongside Arc Dining's Alanna Sapwell and Monique Fiso of Hiakai, who's known for pushing the boundaries of traditional Māori food.
One of the most memorable moments for Gregory, however, was meeting Raymond Blanc of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons before his headline event, A Hinterland Harvest. The four-course lunch at one of Maleny's most breathtaking spots, Weddings at Tiffany's, was one of the festival's hottest tickets with Blanc being joined in the kitchen by Nelly Robinson and Alejandro Cancino — a rare treat.
Blanc was full of admiration for the local Maleny produce and the Australian style of cooking, praising how it supports farmers, fisherman and regional producers.
It wasn't just a place for attendees to experience new flavours and see some of their favourite chefs in action, it was also about chefs and producers trading skills and knowledge.
Gregory got to grips with the seasonal offerings native to Mooloolaba Beach while foraging on the coast Nick Blake from Wild Forage Australia. Meanwhile Dan Jarrett, head chef at The Tamarind, Spicers Retreat, had a pinch-me moment welcoming Den's Zaiyu Hasegawa into his kitchen to cook together.
From the custom-built restaurant on Mooloolaba Beach to the calibre of chefs keen to showcase just how much the Sunshine Coast has to offer, it's safe to say The Curated Plate will be back with an equally-impressive line-up next year.
For now, enjoy Gregory's favourite takeouts from the four-day festival by clicking play on the video above.
Brought to you by Tourism and Events Queensland