The Night Noodle Markets kick off this Friday at Reconciliation Place, heralding the start of Good Food Month, a month packed with unique first-class dining experiences.
Good Food Month is all about highlighting innovative Australian chefs who continually advance the frontiers of how we perceive food, and celebrating the delicious taste sensations and new dishes they are creating.
As Venessa Cowell, head of Nine Food Events says, “This year’s program brings together some of Australia’s fiercest culinary forces. We are also proud to champion Canberra’s incredible young rising talent that will soon lead the charge in evolving the country’s dining culture”.
Kicking off Good Food Month’s restaurant experiences, exciting chef Matt Blackwell, of hatted Brisbane restaurant GOMA, will be taking over Monster Kitchen and Bar for a one-night dinner party. A collaboration between Matt and Travis Goodlet, executive chef at Monster, their intriguing menu draws inspiration from premium ingredients that are locally sourced and sustainably produced.
“The menu that Travis and I have created complements our styles really well, I think,” according to Matt.
“I am trying to bring some of what we do over at GOMA so people can get a taste of it in Canberra. Most of the ingredients and dishes I am bringing with me are unique to Queensland, and I think it will be really cool for people in another state to get to try them in the way I’m using them.”
While Matt’s now an industry leader, like many chefs, his start was humbling.
“I kind of fell into it whilst still at school,” he says. “I began washing pots like most chefs. Then I just got hooked on the atmosphere and lifestyle of the kitchen and being a chef.
“I constantly have ideas so we’re normally always working on something new or evolving a dish or element into something else. It’s usually either something new that has come into season or I’ll work around a flavour I’ve eaten recently and loved and want to work with.
“I think cooking modern food with bold and interesting flavours has people interested. I also draw a lot on techniques and flavours I picked up whilst working back in Europe, which aren’t so common in Queensland and I think are interesting and cool to see sometimes.”
Matt attributes a glimpse into other cultures as key to his culinary frame of reference.
“I think travel and seeing parts of the world with totally different food and cultures is one of the biggest things that has changed how I see and approach food. I feel it has made me so much more open-minded with the way I look at food.”
His favourite ingredient at present? Black cherries.
“We were lucky enough to get loads from the Granite Belt just before Christmas and preserved them in Amaretto, they taste awesome! Also, Feijoa season is probably my favourite fruit season of the year, they’re so unique and just remind me of living in New Zealand.”
With six full courses as well as snacks and petit fours, this one-night menu is set to music, so diners get to experience the full gamut of Blackwell’s creative flair.
Tickets to this dinner party are selling quickly. You can purchase your ticket here.
Apart from the official events, several leading local restaurants are joining in the Good Food Month festivities, curating their own fine dining events. You can find the full list of events at the Friends of Food Good month website.
Because food tells a story and can take us on a journey, these events, in particular, caught my eye.
Daana’s South Indian Culinary Heritage Trail will be weaving Chefs Sunita and Sanjay’s personal memories with stories and anecdotes drawn from the rich tapestry of Southern Indian culture over seven courses. Diners will have the opportunity to taste a fritter from a recipe ‘lost in time’! Doesn’t that sound magical? This event will run for two nights. Details and booking available here.
Executive Chef Morrow from Braddon Merchant has built strong partnerships with his South Coast suppliers, many of whom were terribly impacted by the bush fires. His four-course dinner heroes those suppliers and he will highlight their stories through each course. This dinner sounds worth showing up for! It runs just one night but will have two sittings. Details here.
So, do your research for Good Food Month and get ready to choose your own adventure.
Find details of all the Friends of Good Food Month events here.
Matt Blackwell at Monster Kitchen and Bar.
Date: Thursday, 5 March 2020
Time: 7:00 pm to 10:30 pm
Venue: Monster Kitchen and Bar, 25 Edinburgh Avenue, Acton.