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All systems go for Moree on a Plate 2019

PRODUCERS, florists, artisans, entertainers, chefs – when it comes to talent, Moree needs to only look within its vibrant community to unearth skills and flair to rival any city counterparts. 

In 2019 Moree on a Plate, one of the region’s most established, and highly regarded, food and wine festivals has announced a ‘look local’ theme – growing local talent, as well as local produce.

And while our rural regions continue to battle the strong grip of drought, Moree on a Plate is defiant in its commitment to producers, and the community.

Moree on a Plate will showcase three local home cooks, Daisy Nguyen, Di Haddad and Catherine Madden, elevating them to celebrity status as they each share their tips and tricks in a number of interactive and relaxed cooking demonstrations.

Kate Goodhew and Marianne Pollock busily prepare for Moree on a Plate.

President Bethany Kelly said the festival, which is only possible thanks to the generosity of local businesses and sponsorship, was excited to look within the community to promote local talent, rather than spending money on a ‘celebrity chef’.

“Moree is full of such a huge variety of talented chefs and home cooks, and we are thrilled to offer the opportunity for them to share their skills in our highly popular cooking demonstrations,” Mrs Kelly said.

“In the past we have always facilitated a celebrity chef, at a significant expense, and so this year for something different, and sensitive to the current local economy, we will help nurture our own, home grown talent.”

Lebanese, Vietnamese, cake-baking and decorating are the menu delights, with Bethany confident the skills taught will be easily adopted in kitchens across the region.

“We want people to learn skills they can easily put into practice – be it rolling a gyoza or the prettiest of cake frosting techniques – our local talents have a wealth of knowledge to share,” she said.

This year’s festival will be held this Saturday, May 11 at Moree Secondary College’s Albert Street Campus from 10am to 4pm.

Local vocal talents Jacqualyn Drenkhahn and Demi Thorburn will set the atmosphere of the day, with Moree’s own famed band, The Contingency Plan, also indulging the crowds.

“The festival continues to grow each year, and despite the drought we are so proud to offer the community a vehicle to promote producers, talent, tourism – and most importantly, a fun-filled, relaxed day out,” Mrs Kelly said.

“The Moree district has long been regarded as one of the world’s premier producers of grains and cotton, and a number of evolving industries, such as oranges, pecans and olives, have also cemented their place on the table in recent years.”

Peter Birch with his famous Paella at the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Stall.

Likewise, across the region – from The Conscious Farmer organic beef on the Liverpool Plains to Arc-en-Ciel Trout Farm at Hanging Rock – Moree on a Plate successfully attracts top producers from across the north-west and south-east Queensland.

And with a two-dollar cover charge, the committee is intent on ensuring the event is affordable and accessible for all.

The highly entertaining Blokes on the Barbeque will be back in 2019, as will the ever-popular Kids’ Korner, featuring fun, interactive cooking classes with children’s performer and healthy food advocate, Bubble Muffin.

And festival organisers encourage visitors to make a weekend of it, with a number of complementary events scheduled around the Mother’s Day weekend.

Yaama Ganu Gallery and Café will present a unique exhibition, opening Thursday, May 9 showcasing art work from talented Indigenous women.

The Moree Gallery will also host an exhibition opening Friday, May 10 at 10am, with the group show including renowned talents Catherine Stewart, Sarah Bishop, Lucinda Kirkby Ceramics and Anna Smith Wire Sculptures.

Local acapella group, Serendipity, will play on Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11 at 7pm at BAMM, the newly restored Bank Art Museum Moree.

Armidale’s Buddha Belly Kitchen will be back at Moree on a Plate in 2019 on Saturday, May 11.

And for a genuine agricultural experience, Tourism Moree together with O’Dempsey’s Agri Tours will host a number of farm tours during the weekend, exploring the region’s thriving pecan industry and rich cotton cropping culture.

“Moree on a Plate is so many things to so many people – it’s a farmers’ market; it’s a family day out; it’s an opportunity to enjoy a relaxing lunch in the autumn sunshine; and it’s a wonderful way to promote not only our marvellous producers but our lovely town of Moree,” Mrs Kelly said.

“We would love visitors to come and enjoy our region for a few days. This is the perfect opportunity to indulge in some rural hospitality, enjoy the widespread talent of our community and of course relax in our unique healing artesian hot pools.”

For more information and to keep up to date with Moree on a Plate announcements, see Facebook/moreeonaplate or Instagram moap2400 or online at www.moreeonaplate.com.au.

Words and Images: Georgina Poole