The Good Food & Wine Show, Melbourne 2011

The Good Food & Wine Show took place this year in Melbourne between June 3 - 5 2011 in the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. We only had time to go on Friday since batasan had work on Saturday and we were busy on Sunday. I was a little upset that I didn't get to see Poh but Friday was still an awesome day. I know it's shameful, but for the many many years I've lived in Melbourne and the 11 years that the show has been on, I've never attended once, until this year. I half expected it to be like the Taste of Melbourne show at the Royal Exhibition Building, however, it was completely different. Instead of a lot of food tasting, the Good Food and Wine Show had more cooking classes and food stands where you can purchase products. The best part of it all was, of course, the celebrity masterclasses in the Fisher & Paykel Celebrity Theatre. More about these fantastic classes later on.

The show was very much focused on wine, beer and spirits as there were many colourful stands from regions across the country, showcasing their beautiful range of goodies. I'm not a big drinker (nor can I take it very well due to the Asian flush syndrome) so I didn't purchase the wine glass ($3) which was necessary to try most of the wines there. Maybe I should have gotten one as a souvenir or something…

That last photo was obviously not alcohol, rather, they were olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

There were also finger foods and samples to try out, including the delicious (I was oh so very hungry at the time) mini turkey burgers. There were two flavours on offer, one was satay and the other Mediterranean. There were 4 of us and of course everyone wanted a piece of this burger, along with 50 other people standing around. I was nice enough to hand the one I grabbed to my friend but little did I know that I'd be waiting for 15 minutes for the next batch to reach my eager hands. It was well worth the wait however, since we didn't have anything else to eat until almost 4pm when we finally finished the last celebrity theatre show. Although there was a restaurant in the centre of the hall (whose dishes were the creations of Masterchef's very own Poh Ling Yeow and Marion Grasby), we really didn't have time to sit down for a proper meal due to the tight schedule of those celebrity shows.

I also loveeeed the Maggie Beer food stand where they handed out Maggie's own quince and bitter almond ice cream in cute little tubs that came with its own spoons. At the start i thought it tasted a bit like this Chinese cough syrup (which I normally wouldn't like too much) but this rich interesting taste quickly grew on me. So much so that I went back for seconds (I'm so naughty).

They were also giving out hot tomato soup. It was quite sour (not my friend's favourite it seemed) but I loved it. I love anything sour and anything tomato so this was perfect for me. It was meant to keep me from being too hungry as I watched the shows but the yumminess worked the other way!

Just before the celebrity shows, we were able to catch just one of the cooking classes in the BBC Good Food Theatre. This one was by Amanda Lennon, editor for the Good Food Magazine, on how to make profiteroles. It was quite interesting, especially when I've never made profiteroles myself before. However, it was a shame that the bench was very high up and we didn't really get to see much.

I must thank batasan for getting to the show at 9am, a whole hour before its doors were opened to the public, because he managed to get fantastic seats to all the celebrity shows. We went to all of them on Friday, including Tobie Puttock, Masterchef's Gary Mehigan & George Calombaris and Manu Feildel's sessions.

For Tobie's show, we were sitting right in the front row, just off to the right. The view was fantastic, however, we still didn't manage to get any giveaway goodies. I guess our culinary knowledge just wasn't good enough (or rather we were just not picked to answer anything, doh). Regardless of walking out empty-handed, I thoroughly enjoyed Tobie's show, which I believe, was the best of the day. He was a wonderful and funny host all the while being as talented as he is as cooking. The roast chicken in milk smelt wonderful which really wasn't a good thing for my rumbling stomach and his apple strudel looked dangerously good. I was too engrossed in his humour that I didn't catch a lot of the steps to make it though. Must read his book I have sitting at home. :)

Yes I love meatballs too.

It sure smelt good...look at the steam coming out of that pot!
Tobie preparing to pull out the dough for his apple strudel
Tobie rolling out the dough, it should be rolled and then pulled with your hands into a very thin layer
Tobie giving out lots of bags of goodies
And...more goodies...I think he may have accidentally given it all out...

Tobie's show started at 11:45am and went overtime. We only had 15 minutes until Gary and George's was going to start so no time to buy any food. :( The silly thing was we should have just stayed inside the theatre (as our seats were really close for the next show) but silly us went outside and lined up again to get in.

This time, we sat in the second row from the front, right in the middle. Fantastic view as you can see from the photos below.

I loved Gary and George's opening video, seemed just like them. This was also the first time I saw them in person and at such a close distance too! It was almost surreal because just the night before, they were in my TV on Masterchef. I also loved their humour, you can really see how well they work together on and off the stage. The dishes they cooked looked and smelt lovely, I was SO tempted to put up my hand to try but every time, someone always beat me to it.

"There is ABSOLUTELY no reason to not stock the GC Olive Oil at home, right George?"

"Hor hor I come GC Olive Oil!"
"Where did the GC Olive Oil go? George did you take it?"
"Fresh lobster is just BEAUTIFUL with a splash of the GC Olive Oil"
"Hey Gary, you reckon this needs a bit more GC Olive Oil in it?"
"Now for a splash of GC Olive Oil to finish" - I don't know what this was actually...
Even Manu's stealing George's GC Olive Oil for his mini burger!
"It's ok, don't be scared of the oyster. It has GC Olive Oil on it."
The best thing about being a chef is being able to constantly snack on food...yummy!
All hail the magic pre-prepared dough!
And of course...all hail the all mighty GC Olive Oil!
Before we knew it, the show had turned into a broadway musical about the GC Olive Oil...oh, and the dough of course.
Gary teaching us how to skin squid
George showing us what to do with the quill (backbone from the squid), I can't believe someone actually volunteered to take it! Yucky...
George feeding the taste tester...
The broadway musical coming to a's nearing the end folks!
"Oh look at that squid...would go very well with some GC Olive Oil.

Ok, enough of the GC Olive Oil jokes. I did find it pretty funny though. :D For those of you who didn't go to the show, GC Olive Oil is George's own brand of olive oil and they made jokes about it throughout the whole show.

Manu's session was also quite interesting to say the least. First his intro video. It sums him up quite well I thought, sexy, funny and umm…adventurous perhaps. Not sure if this was appropriate for the general audience. The show we attended was Friday so obviously most school kids were not there, however, the same video was played during the weekend sessions which would have been quite interesting for them and the parents.

His entrance was also a grand one. Riding a bicycle and wearing classic French attire, he was throwing flowers into the audience like he was on the hills in France. He sure was quick to get changed into his chef clothes though.
Manu looking a bit lost...
Manu looking even more lost...
Manu making his beautiful looking mussels.

He also brought along his dance partner from the show Dancing With The Stars and put on a little dance routine in the middle of cooking. Multi-talented as he is, a good cook and a good dancer.

He seemed to be a little distracted from cooking as he started to juggle apples just a few minutes after that dance routine. It was quite interesting though, especially how he managed to take a huge bite out of each apple as he juggled them. He must chew very quickly because those bites were ginormous.

And yes, everyone thought Manu may have had a few drinks beforehand because he was acting just a tad on the jolly side. Ok, a bit more than jolly. He stuck his tongue out at a taste tester who had joined him on stage, totally oblivious to what Manu was doing as he dug into the food. That second photo is surely a look of triumph, "YES! He didn't notice!" :D

His poached pear sure looked good though. He called only 'single ladies' up on stage to taste test, to which I really wanted to raise my hand but I was afraid Yuye might get upset. Damn it I should have put up my hand.

Look at that pear and chocolate! SO enticing...

After the show, we saw a beautiful work of art by Ford just outside the theatre. It was a mural of a red Ford hatchback driving through hills - the whole piece was made by pinning down different types of fresh produce such as eggplants, capsicums and potatoes. What a magnificent sight. I don't think it actually made me want to buy a Ford anymore than what I did before, however, I was quite impressed with the effort. I wonder what they're going to do with it afterwards. Cook it and eat it perhaps?

Just before I left, I just had to buy something. How can I leave without spending some money right? So, I bought 4 jars of Fehlbergs pickled onions. It was on special at the show of $15 for 4. Normally I believe they retail for around $4.25 each in Coles, so a very slight discount. They were delicious though and thought my parents might like them.

The Convention Centre is beautiful even if you're not visiting it for a show so do go there and enjoy a quiet afternoon.

If you missed the show this year, they are happening around Australia very soon with Sydney as the next stop. Alternatively, be sure to visit next year for a fun and food filled day/weekend.

2011 show dates
Melbourne: 3 - 5 June, 2011 @ Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre
Sydney: 1 - 3 July, 2011 @ Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre
Perth: 15 - 17 July, 2011 @ Perth Convention & Exhibition Centre
Adelaide: 7 - 9 October, 2011 @ Adelaide Showgrounds
Brisbane: 4 - 6 November, 2011 @ Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre

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  1. LOL at the Manu video! It does seem rather odd! Looks like you had a great time. George and Gary do such an entertaining show together :)

  2. Fantastic roundup, it's like being there! I can't wait for the Sydney one in a couple of weeks. I wonder what they did at the GFWS before George and Gary and Masterchef came on the scene ;)

  3. @Not Quite Nigella, I did indeed have a great time! Can't believe I didn't go to the show earlier :D

    @OohLookBel, thanks! I wish I can go to the Sydney one too! Maybe they'll have different celebrity chefs attending. I totally can't imagine food shows without Masterchef and George and Gary now, seems rather odd...mustn't have been that good back in the day. :P

  4. I missed this exciting event. I should have been there to join the fun. I really would love to see those wine products around the country.

    West Australian Wine

  5. This looks like a really great show. It shows that everybody had so much fun aside from learning more recipes and cooking tips.

  6. This event is certainly a fun way to learn cooking. I'm sure the all the guests enjoyed watching these famous chefs doing their acts.