Alla Wolf-Tasker. Andrew McConnell. Gilbert Lau. To legendary food and wine names such as these we can now add another bunch.
Since the Melbourne Food and Wine began in 1993, a fresh batch of Festival Legends has been awarded each year, honouring chefs, restaurateurs, producers, innovators and culinary educators who've shaped Victoria's food and wine scene.
More than 130 people have been accorded legend status. This year, the gongs go to Syd Weddell, founder of food and cookware retailer The Essential Ingredient; Bunurong man Bruce Pascoe, who's helping to revive Indigenous crops such as murnong (yam daisy); fourth-generation Yeringberg winemaker Sandra de Pury (whose father Guill de Pury has previously been named a legend), and chef and restaurateur Guy Grossi.
Joining the honour board at the annual ceremony were Melissa Connors, a tree-changer who's started This Farm Needs a Farmer to connect new and experienced farmers, and chefs Matt Stone and Jo Barrett, who are blazing a zero-waste trail at Oakridge in the Yarra Valley.
The dinner was also chance to announce the winner of the Hostplus Hospitality Scholarship, Caitlyn Rees. The scholarship will allow the head sommelier at Charlie Parker's and Fred's in Sydney to work at three respected venues and wineries around the world.