Palate, palette and plate will come together in a culinary carnival set to raise the bar on yum in this year’s Taste of Melbourne festival. The city’s signature foodie event celebrates its 10th anniversary with a new venue and fresh menu which brings contemporary culture to the table.
Rehomed in tree-studded Yarra Park, the four-day fair of fare promises to kick the sensory experience to another level with co-labs pairing celebrated chefs with creative artists from across the spectrum to present a unique dish and limited edition artwork.
Picture Santorini expressed on a plate by celebrity chef and MasterChef judge George Calombaris reflected in the explosive spray paintings of Ash Keating, or the classically-trained intensity of Estelle’s Scott Pickett fused with the precision of paper artist Geoff Nees.
The most colourful and futuristic fusion brings together fashion designer Nixi Killick and ex-Om Nom head chef and dessert queen Christy Tania. The duo’s yet unamed creation consists of a seashell cupping a crystal mountain and a purple sauce-filled pearl that conjures mermaid queens and unicorns.
When they meet face-to-face for only the second time for our photo shoot at Christy’s new Windsor icecream and dessert delicatessen Glace, it’s like rainbows colliding.
“I think in a way we represent similar things in our different industries,” says Nixi, who hit the headlines when, barely out of RMIT, she was called on to dress Lady Gaga head-to-toe for her 2014 world tour.
Three years later, Nixi gladly set aside work on the next collection for her NXK label to create a dessert-matching design which will be printed on a tea towel.
“A partnership works if you speak the same language and we are both on the same page with colour.
“Really, it feels so intuitive,” Nixi explains.
“We work from the same place,” Christy says. “I am a very visual chef because you eat first with
The creative co-labs are a first for the Taste Festival franchise, which began in London in 2007 and now extends to 22 cities around the world.
This year’s Melbourne iteration, presented in partnership with Electrolux, opens (November 30, 5.30pm) with a birthday bash featuring sweets, eats and live music, followed by a weekend after-dark dance party beneath the trees.
During the day, foodies will browse and graze across more than 100 artisan producers in the marketplace, watch live cooking demonstrations and pick up kitchen tricks in the Electrolux Taste Theatre, or share a table and a special dish with one of the nation’s top culinary talents in an intimate Electrolux Chefs’ Secrets masterclass.
For those wanting to experience the festival in a certain style there’s the Luxe Lounge with an exclusive bar and tastings or you can book one of the private tipi-style tents, complete with butler service overlooking the hoi polloi.
Sunday is Family Funday with free entry for children aged 14 (when accompanied by an adult ticket holder) with plenty of activities to excite budding young chefs.
Taste of Melbourne \ November 30 – December 3, Yarra Park, Wellington Parade, East Melbourne