FT33 Dallas | Australia “Invites the World to Dinner” in Tasmania — The Daily Meal
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Australia “Invites the World to Dinner” in Tasmania — The Daily Meal

Australia is an essential destination for anyone who loves food and drink. It’s packed with exciting restaurants, especially (though by no means exclusively) in the metropolises of Sydney and Melbourne; its range of culinary raw materials, both wild and raised, is encyclopedic; it produces wines of every sort, from almost every grape imaginable, both bargain-priced bulk (g’day, Yellow Tail) and exquisite vintages; its beer is iconic and its whisky is attracting ever more attention from connoisseurs.

Clearly, Australia’s challenge was to get folks into the tent. According to Tourism Australia, “To narrow the perception gap between those who have visited Australia and those who have not, Tourism Australia is evolving its global campaign with the idea that Australia could be the world’s greatest restaurant — Restaurant Australia.”

Well, okay. What this translated into was a $33 million (in U.S. dollars) advertising and promotion campaign culminating last month in a spectacular two-part feast in Hobart, on the Australian island of Tasmania. The idea was to showcase both indigenous ingredients — among them, such seafood as Sydney rock oysters, Moreton Bay bugs (slipper lobsters), and that Tasmanian spiny lobster; meats ranging from grass-fed beef to red kangaroo; and, of course, a full range of wines from all over the country — and some of Australia’s top chefs to an international audience, who would presumably be dazzled and return home to spread the gospel.

The guests, besides local media and dignitaries, were some 86 “influencers” — chefs, food and wine writers, TV food personalities, and the like. I was lucky enough to be among their number, and I brought along my old friend and Daily Meal Council member Waxman (whose restaurants include Barbuto in New York City, Adele in Nashville, and Montecito in Toronto). Other U.S. representatives, besides us and Eric Ripert (of Le Bernardin fame) included Alice Waters (also a member of The Daily Meal Council); Ripert’s sommelier, Aldo Sohm; Dallas-based chef Matt McCallister of FT33; and half a dozen editors and freelance writers associated with various American websites and magazines.

by COLMAN ANDREWS

::: original article