If you think you've missed the biggest food trends of the year, you've got a month to get up to speed.
From kitchen gardens to craft beer to food trucks, just about every food trend will be covered in the 540 events that will make up Good Food Month.
On Thursday night notable chefs, restaurateurs and food fanatics will gather at Guillaume at Bennelong at the Sydney Opera House to celebrate its launch. Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck and Thomas Keller of The French Laundry, internationally renowned chefs who are here for Neil Perry's annual Ultimate Starlight dinner, are expected to attend.
Rockpool chef Neil Perry, who has been involved since the festival's launch in 1998, said it had evolved each year to showcase Sydney's best offerings and ''crystallise'' the hottest food trends and spark new ones.
''There's a breadth and depth to what's offered at the festival, and it's not focused on one area of the industry, but all over it,'' he said. ''When [Danish chef and forager] Rene Redzepi came, it got people thinking about indigenous food products. Three years ago there was the chefs' showcase with a Middle Eastern feel, and certainly now we're seeing more and more of it.''
Festival director Joanna Savill said successful Middle Eastern cookbooks had kept the interest in that cuisine high. ''We love the spices and flavours, the easy appeal of dishes zinged up with za'atar or sumac or pomegranate molasses.''
Savill said people wanted to become skilled in the forgotten ''grandma'' traditions, including pickling, curing, preserving and even making salami at home.
Colin Holt, of Hudsons Meat, will hold one-off sausage- and salami-making workshops for the festival.
''The Instant Expert section of the program is very much about old-fashioned cooking skills as well as the down-home artisan techniques of making sausages, making salami, learning how to butcher a whole pig,'' said Savill.
''This comes from a desire to reconnect with where our food is coming from - environmental concerns, a respect for produce and farmers, the perception these skills are being lost.''
Research company IBISWorld identified laneway dining, food trucks, cider and craft beer and speciality breads as key food trends of the year, which spurred new product lines and gained big markets.
Ten key food trends
- Mexican Cuisine
- Middle Eastern Cuisine
- Cantonese Cuisine
- Laneway Dining
- Food Trucks
- Kitchen Gardens and Do-It-Yourself Food
- Cider and Craft Beer
- Herbal Teas
- Salad Bars and Fresh Juice Bars
- Sourdough and Gluten-Free Breads