Brisbane, prepare to loosen your belts - Australia's biggest food festival is on its way.
The Brisbane Times Good Food Month, to be held in July, was launched at the Gallery of Modern Art on Tuesday in the presence of culinary royalty.
Spanish chef Ferran Adrià, whose elBulli restaurant in the Catalan region of Spain had three Michelin stars and had been voted the world's best restaurant five times when it closed in 2011, helped launch the fledgling event.
On his second visit to Australia, Mr Adrià said he was impressed with the standard of the local fare.
“I think Australian cooking is mature right now and soon there will be a new generation of young Australians who will come out and make that a reality,” he said through an interpreter.
Adrià closed elBulli to concentrate on a project to map out the history and evolution of world cuisines.
“The world has been formed through civilisations and today's is a global civilisation,” he said.
“There is no longer an Asia separate from a Europe – it's becoming more and more united and that's what this civilisation's been marked by.
“In the past 10 years, since the dawn of the internet, humanity has become more united than in the previous thousands of years.”
And it was the internet that was changing the face of cooking, he said.
“The internet is integral to the evolution of humanity in an incredible way and cooking is one of the most important activities of humanity, so in that way it is,” he said.
Brisbane Times Good Food Month manager Natascha Mirosch said the festival would be designed to appeal to everybody.
“So we have probably 150 events over the month, everything from children's cooking classes to people who want to stay up late and have a late-night supper at one of our restaurants,” she said.
“Lots and lots of restaurants will be involved in it. We have lunches, we have dinners, we'll have special guests and, of course, we'll have the Night Noodle Markets.”
The Night Noodle Markets are already a hit down south and Mirosch expects no different in Brisbane.
“They were expecting 5000 people a night [in Melbourne] and they got 30,000 people, so it's obviously right on trend with street food Asian style,” she said.
“…Brisbane loves food. We're in the middle of the perfect storm when it comes to Brisbane and food.
“Everything's come together really well. We're at a stage of development with our restaurant where they're at a very high quality with great service and people are eating out more.
“I think Brisbane will take it on board and it will be a really vibrant month.”
The Good Food Month festivals are expected to attract 2 million people throughout Australia at sister events in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, presented by local Fairfax mastheads The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times.
Fairfax chief executive Greg Hywood said the national initiative was a natural fit for the company.
“This is a national initiative for us,” he said. “Fairfax and our audience and customers love food – it's something we share and something we feel very pleased to participate in, to give back to the community.”
And, since the first Good Food Guide was launched by The Age in Melbourne in 1980, Hywood said the food industry had grown with the guide.
“I think, 30 years ago, people were just grateful to have a restaurant in their community,” he said.
For more information on Good Food Month, presented by Citi, visit goodfoodmonth.com