MFWF 2014 line-up

Author: Pat Nourse
Photography: Courtesy Melbourne Food & Wine Festival and Rob Whitrow (Nathan Outlaw portrait)

Want the inside word on the top international talent jetting in for the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival this March? Who better, then, to give the goss than Natalie O'Brien, the festival's CEO; here she gives us her top picks of the festival's high-flying chefs. Get into it.

CHRISTOPHER KOSTOW
Where he cooks The Restaurant at Meadowood in the Napa Valley, USA
What he's famous for Being only the second US-born chef to achieve three Michelin stars. A philosophy graduate, he also draws on his American upbringing when highlighting the produce of the surrounding Napa Valley.
Why we brought him to Melbourne Christopher has maintained three Michelin stars since 2010 and is one of America's most innovative chefs. Meadowood is the most exciting restaurant to open in the Napa Valley since The French Laundry.
Where you can catch him International Chef Dinner: Relais & Chateaux at Tonic House (6 March) and Langham Melbourne MasterClass (9 March).

DAMIAN D'SILVA
Where he cooks Immigrants, Singapore.
What he's famous for He's known in Singapore as the rebel chef, is influenced by French, Italian, Spanish, Peranakan and Eurasian cuisine, and revives 'lost' Singaporean dishes. His restaurant, Immigrants, is one of Singapore's most popular. And Anthony Bourdain is a fan.
Why we brought him to Melbourne Damian's passion for revitalizing heritage and hawker cuisine, his truly multicultural vision and blend of historic and modern gastronomy.
Where you can catch him Langham Melbourne MasterClass (8 and 9 March) and International Chef Dinner at Tonka (11 March, sold out).

JAMES STAPLEY
Where he cooks Whare Kea Lodge and Chalet on Lake Wanaka in New Zealand.
What he's famous for James trained in the kitchens of the Park Lane Hilton and Selfridges, before settling in Central Otago where he has come to be regarded as one of NZ's most innovative chefs.
Why we brought him to Melbourne Taking inspiration from Lake Wanaka, James is only limited by his imagination and the seasonal produce is available from his organic kitchen garden and local artisanal suppliers.
Where you can catch him International Chef Dinner: Relais & Chateaux at Tonic House (6 March) and Langham Melbourne MasterClass (9 March).

JOHNNY IUZZINI
Where he cooks Sugar Fueled Inc.
What he's famous for  He's a past James Beard Pastry Chef of the Year and was named one of Forbes magazine's 10 most influential chefs in America.
Why we brought him to Melbourne Johnny is an exciting innovator, a non-traditional pastry chef, not-to-mention an entertainer. His CV speaks for itself: 10 years as executive pastry chef at the three-starred Jean Georges in New York, and now at his own pastry arts consulting company, Sugar Fueled Inc.
Where you can catch him Langham Melbourne MasterClass (8 and 9 March) and Afternoon Tea at The Langham (6 March).

JUAN LUIS FERNÁNDEZ
Where he cooks Aponiente, El Puerto de Santa María, Cádiz, Spain
What he's famous for Aponiente's use of plankton is world-renowned. Aponiente executive chef Angel Leon was awarded Chef of the Year at Spain's National Gastronomic Awards.
Why we brought him to Melbourne Aponiente's creative, challenging cuisine is uniquely Mediterranean and constantly pushes the boundaries of gastronomy.  There is no one better to present Aponiente's cuisine than Angel's head chef and right hand man, Juan Luis.
Where you can catch him Langham Melbourne MasterClass (8 and 9 March) and Gourmet Traveller's reader dinner, Aponiente at MoVida (11 March).

LUIGI TAGLIENTI
Where he cooks Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala in Milan, Italy.
What he's famous for He's a starred chef at the vanguard of Italian cooking, combining tradition with his innovative approach to putting a modern spin on classic dishes.
Why we brought him to Melbourne A protégé of Carlo Cracco (himself a MFWF alumnus), when Luigi cooks, his exciting food pays homage to the past while using meticulous avant garde techniques. With his visit we also celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Melbourne-Milan sister city relationship.
Where you can catch him Langham Melbourne MasterClass (8 and 9 March).

MATT JENNINGS
Where he cooks Farmstead Inc. in Providence, USA.
What he's famous for His accolades include Providence's 'Pied Piper of Cheese', Food & Wine's 40 under 40 Big Thinkers and one of the Most Sustainable Chefs in America. Matt was also part of Michelle Obama's 'Let's Move' campaign.
Why we brought him to Melbourne Matt's heritage-focussed farmhouse cuisine and expertise in the worlds of cheese, charcuterie and nose-to-tail, seasonal cooking. Connecting with our theme of water, Matt's early chef days were spent with summers cooking in kitchens in throughout the island of Nantucket around the region's leading fishing ports in USA's Cape Cod.
Where you can catch him Langham Melbourne MasterClass (8 and 9 March) and International Chef & Wine Dinner at Saint Crispin (4 March, sold out).

MAURO ULIASSI
Where he cooks Ristorante Uliassi in Senigallia, Italy.
What he's famous for His two-starred restaurant on Italy's east coast is rated as one of Italy's top restaurants.
Why we brought him to Melbourne When calling on recommendations from the Festival's Italian chef alumni, Mauro's name was always top of the list for a chef demonstrating inspiring techniques with water and seafood.
Where you can catch him Langham Melbourne MasterClass (8 and 9 March) and International Chef & Wine Dinner: Mauro Uliassi at Grossi Florentino (sold out).

MITCH TONKS
Where he cooks The Seahorse and RockFish restaurants in Devon, UK.
What he's famous for A seafood guru with accolades including Best Fishmonger, Observer Food Monthly's best restaurant and best London seafood restaurant and best fish book in the World Gourmand Awards. 
Why we brought him to Melbourne Mitch's insight and passion for all things seafood. The UK's Independent labelled him 'a fishmonger for the 21st century'.
Where you can catch him: Langham Melbourne MasterClass (8 and 9 March) and International Chef & Wine Dinners at Siglo (10 March) and The European (12 March).

NATHAN OUTLAW
Where he cooks Nathan Outlaw Restaurant in Cornwall, Outlaw's at The Capital in London, UK  and Outlaw's Fish Kitchen, Port Isaac.
What he's famous for The only seafood restaurant in the UK with two Michelin stars, with his first star at 25 years old and the UK's Best Seafood Restaurant in 2011.
Why we brought him to Melbourne The worldwide recognition of Nathan's sustainable seafood credentials, driven by his focus on local produce, finely balanced execution and clean flavours.
Where you can catch him Water MasterClass (15 March) and International Chef's Dinner: Nathan Outlaw at Circa, the Prince (13 March).
 
RODOLFO GUZMÁN
Where he cooks Boragó in Santiago, Chile.
What he's famous for His use of indigenous produce and treating the living environment with the same reverence as the Mapuche and Pehuenche people.
Why we brought him to Melbourne Rodolfo's untamed and innovative approach that has put Boragó at number-eight on Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants. Rodolfo draws on the longest stretch of Pacific coastline in the world for his foraged ingredients, from the Atacama Desert to Easter Island.
Where you can catch him Langham Melbourne MasterClass (8 and 9 March) and International Chef & Wine Dinner: Rodolfo Guzmán at The Town Mouse (5 March).

The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival runs 200-plus events Victoria-wide 28 February to 16 March 2014; for bookings and more information, visit melbournefoodandwine.com.au.







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