Peter Clemenger AM AO

It all started as a bold idea to cheer up a city that had lost its bid for a second Olympics. It was a simple enough idea but one that probably would have been forgotten in that morning if it hadn’t been Peter Clemenger’s. Not one to let things slip, the legendary ad man made a few calls – as he does – and suddenly there was an event. (People just don’t say no to Peter Clemenger – not out of fear but out of respect that if he thinks it’s important, it probably is.) Well, actually the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival ended up as five events – those phone calls of Peter’s are pretty influential. Just a handful of events, but even then one – the first World’s Longest Lunch – didn’t sell enough tickets to be branded a truly long lunch. It was typical of Clemenger’s phlegmatic nature that he just dug his hand into his own pocket and invited all his staff out to lunch. From that tiny seed planted by Peter Clemenger in 1993 has grown an internationally acclaimed food and wine festival that attracts over 310,000 attendees to over 220 events each March. And the World’s Longest Lunch now sells 4,500 tickets each year at 26 locations across the state! The Festival is now one of the world’s biggest, and most prestigious, food and wine gatherings. It has been credited by commentators and the food and wine community as influential in growing Victoria’s status as Australia’s culinary capital. And it is has become a home-grown hallmark event in the Victorian events calendar that eclipses the attendances of the Grand Prix……but without Peter Clemenger it would have been one of those great ideas that stayed…just that – an idea. That’s why Peter Clemenger is the only Honorary Legend of Melbourne Food and Wine.