MEDIA UPDATE  |   November 28, 2017


In 2018, the internationally acclaimed Melbourne Food and Wine Festival presented by Bank of Melbourne (MFWF) will celebrate our love of food and wine while also exploring how the way in which we eat impacts the liveability of our communities both now and in the future.

These ideas will the subject of lively discussion at the Theatre of Ideas, which takes place on 17 March during MFWF.

Held at Federation Square and hosted by acclaimed food writer and critic Jill Dupleix, this talk-style series will see presenters with a common vision come together to discuss the part they play in making our dining tables, communities and environment better for everyone.

Meet the big-picture thinkers, the grassroots movers and shakers, and the visionary re-inventors changing the way we eat in this thought provoking series of talks.


Session 1 – Community

Stephen Harris (UK)

Leaving a career in finance, Stephen Harris taught himself to cook. In 1999 he and his brother acquired a “grotty rundown pub by the sea”, The Sportsman in Seasalter, Kent. Harris is renowned for his obsession with using local produce. Earlier this year, The Sportsman was named the best restaurant in the UK at Restaurant Magazine's annual Estrella Damm National Restaurant Awards for the second year running.

Ron Finley (USA)

Armed with a shovel, some soil and seeds, Ron Finley has come to be known as the “Gangsta Gardener” and his unexpected tactics have made him one of L.A.’s most widely known artivists.

Frustrated by his community’s lack of access to fresh, organic food, Finley inadvertently started a revolution when he turned the parkway in front of his South Central L.A. home into an edible garden in 2010.

Monique Fiso (NZ)

After working in some of New York City’s top kitchens, Monique Finley returned to her home of New Zealand and began a pop up dining series, Hiakai. Using traditional Māori cooking techniques and ingredients in combination with her Michelin star training, Fiso has taken Māori cuisine to a whole new level of sophistication and pushed it into the next chapter in its food story.

Session 2 – Sustainability

Peggy Chan (Hong Kong)

Frustrated that organic, plant-based dining was a rare and unusual find in Hong Kong, Peggy Chan opened Grassroots Pantry in 2012. In doing so, she helped to spearhead a green movement that’s now thriving in the city. Chan strives to set a standard that promotes local, farm-to-table and sustainable food practices while serving each table a delectable meal.

Anthony Myint (USA)

A restaurateur, chef and author, Anthony Myint is the founder of Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco and the broader Mission empire. Out of the success of the Mission restaurants came Anthony’s book Mission Street Food: Recipes and Ideas from an Improbable Restaurant, which he co-authored with wife Karen Leibowitz in 2011. In 2016, Anthony opened The Perennial, an environmentally sustainable restaurant, in tandem with ZeroFoodprint which Anthony co-founded with food writer Chris Ying.

Janice Leung (Hong Kong)

Janice Leung Hayes is a Hong Kong-based food writer and social entrepreneur with a deep love of food - its sources, makers, sellers and eaters. She is the founder of Tong Chong Street Market, Hong Kong's largest farmers' market.

Shinobu Namae (Japan)

Shinobu Namae worked his way through Michel Bras’ three-Michelin-starred restaurants in Laguiole France and Hokkaido Japan before opening L’Effervescence in Tokyo. L’Effervescence has since earned two Michelin Stars in 2014 and the 12th place in Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017. Shinobu’s approach is harmonious yet playful and favours fresh seasonal produce. 

Chris Ying (USA)

Food writer, editor and founder of the now defunct Lucky Peach, Chris Ying is a tireless advocate for sustainable eating. Ying is at the forefront of a global movement to change the way we think about food. He co-founded ZeroFoodprint in 2013 in an effort to get diners to think about the environmental impact of eating at their favourite restaurants and to help restaurants think about how to reduce that impact by reducing waste.


Lis Davies
PR representative
M +61 414 780 288