Good things happen when @australia invites the world’s biggest chefs and food influencers to a behemoth of a party.
An elaborate pop-up market graces a Tasmanian pier to showcase anything and everything Australia does so well – butter, venison, barra, raw milk cheese, mangos and wine. Salami is paraded and wattleseed crackers are celebrated. The MasterChef crew make a fashionably late appearance and some people beside me are losing their minds for a photo op with the holy trinity of judges.
Later that evening a coast-to-coast progressive evening begins with guests being ferried across the island. There’s lobster with kombu butter, green lipped abalone and enormous whole marron making the rounds as the sun sets amongst a dizzying smokey haze. The oysters are so good they taste exactly like the sea, if the sea was in heaven, and the wind is so chilly but nobody seems to mind because blankets and music and fire are abundant and plentiful. People are tumbling over one another at the pass of the make-shift outdoor kitchen for a glance of what’s to come, skewers and big cameras at the ready.
A stunning venue is sought out for the main meal, a culinary inappropriate one at that, but who cares – a custom dining table has been commissioned, a work of art in itself, to seat hundreds within the walls of MONA to enjoy a three-dish menu curated by Neil Perry, Peter Gilmore and Ben Shewry.
Afterwards dessert is served downstairs in nests in the trees and there’s cheese flowing and whisky flowing and really everybody is having the best time. There’s a lady dressed up as fairy floss singing opera in a bathtub of fairy floss. And I’ll agree my descriptive prose sounds like nothing more than a huge wank, but trying explain this sensory overload in words is like desperately trying to eat ice cream that’s melting through my fingers… it’s difficult and awkward, and makes me look stupid regardless of determination and real feels™.
But before all of this even happened, the nice people organising this mammoth occasion go and choose me – to report from the ground with my camera, a nobody being surrounded by the biggest somebodies in the business. Thanks a million, Australia, for the tremendous experience I’ll forever be grateful for – and while it’s usually uncouth to post event photos here I’m sure you’ll agree this is an experience worth plastering all over my corner of the internet. No words, just pictures. If you’re into gratuitous photos of lobsters, please keep scrolling.