Grazed and Grown A foodie haven
Do you have your tickets to Grazed and Grown yet? This delectable event held in Brisbane’s South Bank Parklands from June 18-20 is set to excite your senses.
Stroll through The Marketplace to meet some of the state’s most innovative producers and artisans as you enjoy a taste of their exquisite offerings. Then absorb the skills of industry leaders as they hold cooking demonstrations and talks hosted by affable local experts Alastair McLeod and Matt Kirkegaard.
While Alastair was born in Belfast and has cooked in Michelin-starred restaurants across the world, today, he’s every bit a Brisbane local. His passion for Queensland produce is palpable and he can’t wait to discover the new takes and tastes on offer at Grazed and Grown. We caught up with Alastair to chat about the highlights he’s most looking forward to.
What are your top three reasons for why people should head along to Grazed and Grown?
In winter, Queensland is a powerhouse of food production with the large majority of winter vegetables being produced in the Lockyer Valley 75 minutes from Brisbane’s GPO. That is to be celebrated and supported. Grazed and Grown seeks to shine the light on the farmers, fishes, growers and producers that are at the heart of the food conversation. People are seeking to change their golf swing with how they source their food. Grazed and Grown provides inspiration and a little aspiration.
Who are some of the talent you’re hosting? Can you give us an inside tip on some of the dishes they’ll be creating?
Our future is in good hands with dynamic chefs like Alanna Sapwell & Will Cowper choosing to ply their trade in Brisbane. They celebrate the season and despite (or in spite of) their world-class training, they cook with simplicity, authenticity and a passion for produce sourced from their doorstep
Sustainability is at the forefront of Grazed and Grown – how important is this issue to you as a chef?
Sustainability is undoubted the spirit of the age that implores us all to tread a little lighter on the earth. It’s important to me that sensibility informs my cooking. I want my ingredients to tell the tale of who grew, farmed or fished for it. I don’t like waste. For example, root vegetables are never peeled, nothing is cut into parallelograms and nothing transformed into a foam or gel. In fact most veg arrives to our kitchen door with the dirt still clinging to it and the green leaves attached.
What are some of your personal favourites when it comes to seasonal Queensland produce?
Rob Bauer’s Dutch Cream potatoes from Mt Sylvia in the Lockyer Valley, Mushrooms from Samford Valley Mushrooms, salad greens from Blue Dog Farm in Mt Mee, Strawberries from Luvaberry in Wamuran.
You’re hosting along with beer aficionado Matt Kirkegaard – what has he taught you about the amber ale?
Matt taught me that tasting beers differs from wine in one very important way. To appreciate bitter notes, beer needs to pass over the back over your tongue. In other words, you have to swallow it rather that swirling the glass and spitting it out. Thank you Mr Kirkagaard, I like that.
Now that food events are back on the table, is there a renewed excitement and energy from the food community about being able to present and share their stories?
The food fraternity love to celebrate, break bread and pour wine. There is a palpable sense of joy about being able to come together once more. My fingers and toes are crossed that we continue on this path.
Are you excited to get back to sharing the great produce of QLD again?
We have world-class ingredients within a few hundred kilometres of Brisbane. I delight in being able to tell the story behind the food. For me that is the message of Grazed and Grown.
When it comes to big food and wine events that you are involved in around the country (Good food etc), what is different about Grazed and Grown?
Grazed and Grown is proudly parochial – I don’t see that word as pejorative – rather, I see it as a timely juncture in our maturing food story. There is a clear sense of where you are in the world, which is surely the biggest compliment you can pay to an event of this nature.