I’m starting to feel a little excited. It’s like the week leading up to your birthday and you’re pretty damn sure that the present hints you’ve dropped have been heeded. The reason for my excitement is that the Omnivore French food festival hits Sydney — the penultimate destination of its 2013 world tour. It’s a bit like a busman’s holiday, for chefs. Only i’m pretty sure they will be jetting in and, technically, it’s not a holiday. But you can’t come to Sydney in summer and just work, right? So what’s it all about?
On the business side of things the Omnivore crew — rising chef stars from around the world — will be donning their whites in masterclasses held all day on Friday and Saturday. And guess who has the day off work on Friday? Moi. That’s because i had to work last Sunday, and you get to take the following Friday off in recompense. Now i’m not much of a fan of Sunday work rosters — especially when a 7.30am start is involved— but the timing has worked out in my favour this week because I’ll be soaking up what this international crew has to say like sherry in a trifle sponge at Omnivore HQ (Australian National Maritime Museum) on Friday, which we all know is the worst day in the world to be in the office.
Friday’s stellar line-up includes James Henry from Bones in Paris, which makes me feel much better about the fact that i didn’t make it to Bones when i was in the French capital recently. There’s a smattering of Sydney chefs — including Hamish Ingham (The Woods), James Parry and Daniel Puskas (Sixpenny) and Colin Fassnidge (Four in Hand). On Saturday Auckland’s Michael Meredith (Meredith’s) takes to the stage, with others including Sydney’s Ross Lusted (The Bridge Room) and Sven Chartier from Saturne in Paris.
I’ve been invited as a media guest both days and might even do some live blogging from the events (if i can get my fingers and thumbs around the iPad, while my eyes and ears are engaged on the stage).
There’s a series of pop-up dinners too — collaborations between the visiting chefs and our home-grown wonder-stars — over the next four days. I’m desk-bound in the Fairfax office weekday evenings so can’t make any of these, but i’ve been invited to the grand finale: the Omnivorous “dance ‘n dine” party on Saturday, which will feature dishes from 15 Omnivore chefs. I’ll be in fasting mode the few days leading up to it, to ensure i don’t miss a bite.
Omnivore has toured Montreal, New York, Shanghai, Istanbul and Moscow in the past 12 months, showcasing new talents in each city. The Omnivore Sydney cast will help kick off Good Food Month 2013, which sees the month of October jam-packed with food events all over the city, and beyond.
Sydney is certainly one sun-smacked, food-packed city at the moment. International foodies, eat your heart out!