Imagine sitting down to a six course meal featuring the finest local produce from Ballarat’s best chefs.
That is exactly what will happen when Ballarat hosts the Regional World’s Longest Lunch as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
Meigas chef Jose Fernandez said he expected more than 100 diners, who would each have the opportunity to taste flavours from around the world.
“For us we are going to put our Spanish flavour, and each chef will reflect their own nationality of cuisine (with each course), so it is going to be very dynamic,” he said.
The Athletic Club Brewery owner Peter Parry said the event was an opportunity for Ballarat to “show off” its regional produce.
“We produce our beer locally here in Ballarat so it is really good that we can showcase that to the people who come for the festival,” he said. “They will be more than pleasantly surprised about what Ballarat has to offer and how things are progressing – or flourishing really.”
Mr Parry expected visitors to be impressed by the “big city experience” – which would not just be found in the form of food or drink but also the environment.
“There is a vibrant feel in the area of the luncheon (held in a laneway off Armstrong Street),” he said. “It will be very electric in the sense that people will be there to enjoy themselves and to really appreciate good food, wine and beer.”
Perhaps one of the most unique aspects of the lunch is the collaboration between venues that could be considered rivals.
“Over the last couple of years in Ballarat, the hospitality industry has really gotten together,” Mr Parry said. “It is not seen as competition, we like to see other people succeed within Ballarat.”
Mr Fernandez hoped there would be more collaboration in the future.
“In a small town like Ballarat, if you’re working together, it makes you stronger and everybody is going to grow,” he said.
Ballarat’s Regional World’s Longest Lunch takes place in the lane between The George Hotel and Hop Temple on Friday, March 31.
The region will host three food events as part of the festival, with a second Longest Lunch event in Creswick and a Food and Wine Are Getting Married event at The Forge’s Housey Housey.