About the other night…
Well, that was huge. More than 300 excited diners packed the spectacular Plaza Ballroom on Thursday night to taste the future at 30 Under 30, a gala dinner that celebrated 30 years of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival by bringing together 30 of Victoria’s finest chefs under 30 years of age to cook an epic 30 dishes.
Presented in three services – 10 snacks, 10 dishes served family-style, to share, and 10 desserts – the menu was all about inspiration and celebration rather than excess, so those 30 dishes were portioned with an eye to the pleasure of discovery rather than crushing diners into submission. Not so much a marathon or a sprint as a wander through the state’s greatest kitchens to see what’s cooking with the next generation of culinary leaders.
“If this is what the future looks like, then Victoria’s culinary fortunes are full of promise,” said MFWF creative director Pat Nourse. “Fresh, fun, inventive, intelligent and – yes – delicious. It’s a good time. What a smart, considerate, and very impressive group of people – working with them has been a real privilege for the whole festival team.”
“What’s really nice is there are so many different elements of cooking being represented in this room tonight,” said Etta chef, Rosheen Kaul. “You’ve got your ferment people, you’ve got your fine-dining people, you’ve got the ones who are in it because they just love delicious, tasty food – having all of those people represented as the next gen is what’s really exciting.”
To match the offer on the plate, we asked a group of sommeliers and bar managers under 30, led by Alice Diffey (Gerald’s Bar), Michael Hegarty (The Recreation), and Claudelle Savannah (Commune Group), to come up with the ideas for the Victorian-made drinks for the night. And as if that wasn’t already a surfeit of delight, a surprise birthday-cake moment from pastry sensation Patchanida Chimkire, of Mali Bakes fame, took things to the next level.
We’re very grateful for the support of Visit Victoria in producing this showcase of amazing Victorian innovation and talent, to executive chef David Ricardo, head chef Gareth Wisnecki, director, sales and events Karen Groch and the team keeping it real behind the scenes at the Plaza Ballroom, to 30 of Victoria’s best venues for loaning us their star talent, to everyone who bought a ticket to celebrate this milestone, and, of course, we’re hugely thankful to have had the chance to work with such an inspiring group of young Victorians.