MEDIA UPDATE  |   20 February 2020

One month to go: Melbourne Food & Wine Festival adds more cake, more how-to talks and a retail store to the 2020 program

With only one month to go until Melbourne Food & Wine Festival celebrates all things food and drink in the city of Melbourne, the wraps have come off the full program, and the festival, served to you by principal partner Bank of Melbourne, has revealed even more great reasons to join the party.

A Melbourne-focused retail pop-up, The Convenient Store presented by 7-Eleven, a morning of discussions all about community, resilience and what our future looks like with Attica Presents, the nostalgia of the Take the Cake presented by Queen exhibition celebrating The Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book, and the many how-to demonstrations at Shed X Talks, go the extra mile to showcase Melbourne as the global home of great eating and drinking in March.

Food + Wine Victoria CEO Anthea Loucas Bosha said: “We are so excited that the festival is only a matter of weeks away, and we’re thrilled to share the details of these latest additions. This year’s program is so diverse, from dinners with the world’s hottest chefs through to an event celebrating chips, the 2020 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival truly has something for everyone.”

Part Japanese convenience store, part Brooklyn bodega, part Berlin späti, The Convenient Store at Queen Victoria Market is a retail store packed with a mix of cult and bespoke products and fresh and packaged food produced in collaboration with leading Melbourne chefs and restaurants, including:

• Supernormal’s Convenient katsu sando

• Supernormal’s Convenient egg sando with yuzu kosho mayo

• The Convenient Motherlode: an epic Italian-influenced sandwich loaded with coldcuts and cheese from every single deli at Queen Victoria Market’s Dairy Hall

• Lune Croissanterie’s cheese and Vegemite scroll

• Baker Bleu’s olive, feta and walnut stirato

• Falco Bakery pop-tarts

• Convenient jam-doughnut ice-cream

• The Calamity Jane: Beatrix’s tribute to the Wagon Wheel

• That’s the Way the Violet Crumbles: Gelato Messina’s tribute to Australia’s favourite chocolate-covered honeycomb bar

The Convenient Store is also licensed, and in the drinks department, visitors will find wine from Gippsland, the High Country and beyond, beers from Brick Lane, gin from Supernormal, plus cocktails from The Everleigh and Bar Americano.

7-Eleven brings a brand-new Slurpee flavour to The Convenient Store, as well as fried rice and vegan mushroom onigiri, and a special 7-Eleven Melbourne-roasted coffee blend. Melbourne Food & Wine Festival will be donating the full price of each coffee sold to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

The Convenient Store is cashless and will be open from 8am till 6pm, Friday 20 to Sunday 29 March.

On Sunday 29 March from 10am till 1pm, Attica chef and owner Ben Shewry leads a morning of discussions all about community, resilience and what our future looks like. A free event held at Shed X at Queen Victoria Market, Attica Presents will address the urgent question that Australia faces today, as it endures fire, flood, drought and other extreme weather events and upheaval: where do we go from here?

Confirmed speakers include Black Emu author, historian and activist Bruce Pascoe; cultural educator and sustainability advocate Noel Butler, of Nura Gunyu; Dwayne Bannon-Harrison, founder of Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness; artist Reko Rennie; Sharon Windsor, founder of Indigiearth; and Leila Nimbadja and Clem Bresson from Maningrida Wild Foods. Shewry’s Attica team will also be serving lunch following Attica Presents at $30 a head, with all proceeds going to the rebuilding of the Butler family’s Nura Gunyu education centre, which was destroyed by bushfires at the beginning of the year. Registration to attend the talks and bookings for lunch will be available from 2 March.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book, a collaborative exhibition titled Take the Cake will be held at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square, showcasing the designs it made famous. The book has sold more than 500,000 copies nationwide, and its designs have formed the centrepieces of Australian birthday festivities for a whole generation, from tip-trucks filled with lollies to jelly-napped swimming pools, dinosaurs and ballerinas. The cakes will be constructed by students from the William Angliss Institute, with cameo cakes from household Melbourne names including Chrissy Swan, Jane Kennedy, Virginia Trioli, Shaynna Blaze, Chyka Keebaugh, Lord Mayor Sally Capp and Beatrix Bakery. The exhibition, which runs 18 to 25 March, forms part of the upcoming NGV Design Week, and is free to enter.

In addition to the display, visitors will be able to purchase cupcakes inspired by the Children’s Birthday Cake Book from the café at Deakin Edge, and join tours on the weekend led by Pamela Clark, the book’s author. For the budding cake decorator, there’ll be an opportunity to decorate their own cupcake. The Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book is published by Bauer Media Books.

This year, Melbourne Food & Wine Festival partners with Victoria’s annual Multicultural Festival to bring it to Queen Victoria Market on Sunday 29 March, as part of Cultural Diversity Week celebrations. The Multicultural Festival features a free program of entertainment for all ages across multiple stages as well as dance workshops, a cinema, cultural arts and crafts, roving acts and kids’ activities. Food from a diverse array of Melbourne eateries, including Indigenous eats from Nornie Bero (Mabu Mabu), Turkish food from Ismail Tosun (Miksa), Ethiopian from Saba Alemayoh (Saba’s Ethiopian) and Persian from Hamed Allahyari (Salamatea), will be available on the day.

In a series of family-friendly sessions, a wide range of talks and demonstrations will be available for free from some of the best cooking talent from around Australia and the world. Described as SXSW meets TED, the Shed X Talks on the Asko main stage at Queen Victoria Market will feature many of the program’s headline chefs including Alison Roman, Ed Verner (Pasture), Eyal Shani (Miznon), Fuchsia Dunlop, Helen Goh, Lee Tiernan (Black Axe Mangal), O Tama Carey (Lankan Filling Station), Pamela Clark (The Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book), Josh Niland (Saint Peter) and Rishi Naleendra (Cloudstreet). The Shed X Talks will be hosted by broadcasters Alice Zaslavsky and Cam Smith, author Tony Tan and MFWF’s Pat Nourse, and will run from 11am till 4pm on Saturday 21, Sunday 22 and Saturday 28 March.

Shed X Talks will also run during The Big Spaghetti on 28 March, with guest presenters including Matt Preston and Sam Pang, Karen Martini, Andreas Papadakis (Tipo 00 and Osteria Ilaria), Pasi Petänen (Café Paci), Caterina Borsato and Marcello Mariani (Caterina’s), and Francesco Rota (Trattoria Emilia) hitting the Asko stage to share their pasta making techniques, tricks and secrets.
The Big Spaghetti is a celebration of pasta in all its many splendoured-forms by the maestros from Rosetta, Capitano, Lello, Marameo and more of Australia’s pasta masters along with drinks from Bar Americano and Giorgio De Maria Fun Wines. A stand-up street fair-style event showcasing one of Melbourne’s favourite meals, it runs from 11am till 8pm on Saturday 28 March.

Other Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2020 program highlights include:

  • Welcome to the Jungle – A sprawling celebration of plants, from the indoor variety to Melbourne’s best plant-based eating and drinking experiences. With the “Queen of Green” Shannon Martinez of Smith & Daughters at the helm and special guests Jerry Mai (Annam), Tom Sarafian (Bar Saracen), Charlie Carrington (Atlas), the teams from Fancy Hank’s and Mary’s Burgers and more, expect the unexpected and step into the jungle in the heart of the city. Friday 27 March, 5pm-10pm, tickets $25pp.

  • Maximum Chips – An ode to the humble chip in all its forms, Maximum Chips is a Friday night party that’s simply irresistible. With all the chips – crinkle-cut, shoestring, French fry and maybe the sneaky potato gem – this fun and casual event does exactly what it says on the tin. Friday 20 March, 5pm-10pm, tickets $35pp.

  • The Mixed Grill presented by Australian Good Meat – The ultimate Middle Eastern feast cooked over fire by some of the hottest names in food including Lee Tiernan of London’s Black Axe Mangal, Israel’s most celebrated chef Eyal Shani, Michael Solomonov of Philadelphia’s Zahav, Mat Lindsay of Sydney’s Shwarmama (and Ester and Poly) and Maha’s Shane Delia. Saturday 21 March, 6pm-10pm, tickets $130pp.

  • Sichuan Snack Fair – Doyenne of Sichuan cooking Fuchsia Dunlop headlines a new event showcasing Chinese dishes both spicy and nuanced created on the day by Dainty Sichuan, Spice Temple, Lee Ho Fook, Supernormal, Sun Kitchen and more. It’s a family-friendly celebration of Sichuan province’s greatest and hottest dishes with talks in both Mandarin and English. Sunday 22 March, 11am-5pm, free entry.

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, served to you by Bank of Melbourne, takes place from 19 to 29 March 2020. For full program and tickets, visit

Download press kit here.

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