While speaking about food writing at Emerging Writers Festival earlier this year, I described working in the festival world as “extremely full time.” (Did I mention my boss was there? It’s cool, she tweeted it). Well, that time has come. After many, many months of hard work (and hence many days away from my beloved blog), Melbourne Writers Festival is finally here. Tomorrow is Opening Night!
A bit of backstory: I work full time at the writers festival, as the Artist Liaison & Program Coordinator, which sees me managing logistics for over 400 artists of all kinds, and running the greenroom during our 11-day celebration of creativity and big ideas.
This year I’ve had the privilege of not only looking after our artists but programming our food & wine events, otherwise known as Thinking & Drinking. It goes without saying that planning food & wine events for a major international arts festival ticks a lot of boxes for me – I’m really proud of the whole program this year and to have contributed to it is a wonderful feeling. I’ve talked about it a bit on the MWF blog and the City of Melbourne blog.
This year, some of the events within the Festival’s Food, Wine & Travel stream include:
- How to Dine: a (sold out!) three-course dinner headlined by none other than food critic and memoirist extraordinaire Ruth Reichl, joined by Sommelier of the Year Campbell Burton and hosted by Walkley Award winning journaist Virginia Trioli. We’re talking memorable dining experiences, what we learn about ourselves as diners and more at Andrew McConnell’s Moon Under Water.
- Thinking & Drinking: Food Ethics, featuring Cassie Duncan of Sustainable Table, ethicurean farmer Tammi Jonas, and Ewan McEoin of the Field Institute. Moderated by Leanne Clancey.
- Thinking & Drinking: Food Fundamentals, featuring the indomitable Alla Wolf-Tasker of The Lake House, businesswoman Phillippa Grogan of Phillippa’s bakeries, and Masterchef 2013 winner and cookbook author Emma Dean. Also moderated by Leanne Clancey – how lucky are we!!
- Thinking & Drinking: Australian Fine Dining: Is fine dining even a thing anymore? Or is it everything? Salad Days author Ronnie Scott, Australian Wine Communicator of the Year Andrea Frost and blogger behind the popular Where’s The Beef? blog Cindy Hauser discuss.
- Crowdsourced Criticism: Lorraine Elliott of Not Quite Nigella, Tresna Lee of Yelp and food writer Dani Valent discuss the ever-evolving nature of food criticism.
So, it’s time to go pour everything I’ve got into this great work. I’ll be posting the latest from the greenroom on Instagram & Twitter, so be sure to stay in touch there. See you on the other side and for my Australian friends, I’ll see you at the Festival!