Visit Sunshine Coast is planning to take its new multi-day Curated Plate Food Festival to not only the domestic market but also to an international audience, backed by the Queensland Government.
The event was first announced in October last year, and aims to shine a spotlight on the Sunshine Coast’s acclaimed produce and producers. Sustainable practices, artisan culture and health and wellness will form key themes of the festival, with local experiences from food trails to farm tours. Rather than being centred on one locale, Curated Plate will showcase the entire region’s “food footprint”, between 8 and 11 August 2019.
In Sydney last week to ramp up awareness of the festival, Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford said he’d used his knowledge and experience with developing a similar successful food project – Margaret River Gourmet Escape – in a prior role with Margaret River Tourism seven years ago.
Latchford, who has been with Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) for four years, said the region’s foodie scene was booming, and not just limited to one specific destination: from macadamia nut farms in the hinterland to the largest fishery on the Australian eastern seaboard, to the produce in Mary Valley and the Glasshouse Mountains, to eating with Indigenous people. “It’s the authenticity of the product that sets us apart,” he said.
His vision for the past 2.5 years has been to develop a unique event that capitalises on the Sunshine Coast’s culinary offering, which he says has “killer pulling power on a global basis”.
“The Curated Plate has been developed not to be just another food event located in a paddock, or a street, or a zone. It’s been designed to capture the depth and breadth of the food opportunities on the Sunshine Coast. All the way through from pineapples to macadamias, to seafood, the beef, to lamb, into the native foods,” Latchford said.
He said the strategy was to have visitors explore the Sunshine Coast for a prolonged period, rather than having tourists solely experience, for instance, Mooloolaba’s seafood or one of Noosa’s restaurants, as wonderful as they, and then move on.
“The Curated Plate is about spending a whole week within the region, moving through the area and experiencing all of the Sunshine Coast, not just one part. It is a microcosm. Our food story is natural, non-toxic, non-sprayed, non-commercial, easily available, 20-kilometre radius food to plate with some extraordinary talent.”
Latchford said The Curated Plate won’t be in conflict with other existing foodie events, such as the long-running Noosa Food & Wine Festival, which he says will continue to “evolve and change”.
It will be promoted both locally and to key international markets, he indicated.
Details of the Queensland Government’s funding, along with a range of holiday packages to the Sunshine Coast incorporating Curated Plate, will be unveiled in coming weeks.
Lead image: Visit Sunshine Coast’s CEO Simon Latchford is pictured with Chef Cameron Matthews (formerly of Spicers Clovelly Estate on the Sunshine Coast), flanked by VSC’s Liz Tuckett (left) and Lauren Grounsell.