Tasting Australia’s 10 days of masterclasses, chefs tables, wine tastings, celebrity chef collaborated dinners and long lunches is the oldest of its kind in Australia. Set in Adelaide and the surrounding countryside, the festival showcases the best of South Australian produce alongside Australia’s brightest hospitality talent.
One of these is undoubtedly Mark Best, who is set to take time out from his new role as culinary
adviser at the Ritz Carlton in Melbourne to exhibit what regional South Australia has to offer,
“South Australia may seem on the surface to be an arid place, but if you look closely it is incredibly
Best himself has a deep connection to the region “I spent a fair bit of my childhood in Murray
Bridge, where mum still lives”. It’s near Murray Bridge, at Rio Vista Olives, that Best, along with
Jason Roberts and Paul Farag, will host a Day in The Groves. The trio will tailor a feast utilising
produce from the Murray River and The Coorong.
Best will also team up with Africola’s Duncan Welgemoed for the Tasting Australia Airlines dinner
in the Flinders Rangers. Guests will dine at the Woolshed restaurant on Rawnsely Park Station, a
sheep station steeped in history. “Rawnsley Park was opened up by Afghani cattle traders, so that
will be a part of it, we’ll be making flatbreads and Afghani-style curry. That’s what Duncan and I
are about, celebrating that history and pioneering spirit through food.”
Best is aware of a new pioneering spirit taking root in Australia, born out of spiking interest rates
and high living costs. Restaurateurs who are finding it increasingly difficult to operate within city
walls are looking to regional Australia as an alternative. Best welcomes this progressive exodus of
chefs moving inland, and the shift in young talent no longer migrating to cities “I’m so pleased to
see people staying in regional areas, and them seeing hospitality as a way of establishing a lifestyle.
In today’s information age, remote chefs are able to participate in the hospitality scene on a national
and even global scale and be part of something larger than themselves.”
Best hopes that this new hospitality frontier will help people to better discover Australia’s cultural diversity, “explore a bit further than metropolitan areas and get out into these regional areas and historic places, and people will be pleasantly surprised. People think of Australia as a cultural monolith, but it’s not. It’s incredibly culturally diverse, from north to south, east to west. Getting people out of the metropolitan areas up into these regions and showing them this diversity is why I like being part of Tasting Australia”.
Tasting Australia will run from the 28th of April to May 7th.
On top of juggling food festivals and new hotel openings, Mark Best has recently made the move north to Brisbane. “The culinary scene is fantastic, that’s one of the reasons we moved here. Its incredibly vibrant. It has changed immensely over the past 10 years. There is so much happening and its incredibly exciting.”