It’s no secret that I love food – if I didn’t I wouldn’t spend hours stalking dishes and chefs on Instagram, watching countless documentaries or cooking shows on Netflix, or dedicate my non-working hours to my blog. But part of the evolution of my obsession has been trying to understand more about where my food comes from, what is happening in the restaurant industry for the workers and for produce, and what choices I should be making.
Finding information is easy enough, but sifting through the volumes can be exhausting – and contradictory. Cue WAFADS, Western Australia’s first ever food and drink symposium which is being organised and run by Ai-Ling Truong and Katrina Lane. Held at Claremont Showgrounds on Sunday 28 May, it’s a day full of some pretty amazing events and it holds a stellar culinary lineup of local and interstate heroes.
Best of all, it’s not just for those in the industry. It’s open to anyone who wants to come – and you can buy tickets from their crowdfunding campaign at Chuffd. There’s also other ways you can support their work, like buying tickets to a long-table dinner on 24 May, a sundowner or even get your hands on a t-shirt if you’re so inclined.
The day itself will bring together farmers, producers, chefs, educators and consumers for a unique, community building, sustainable food and drink event. There’s a program of talks, panel discussions and workshops.
If you’re a bit of a fine dining nerd (or even if you’re not), you’ll be pretty excited to see Ben Shewry there on the day who is headlining FADS. I’ve dined at Attica before and it’s seriously as good as it’s reputation claims. After all, it’s just been crowned Australia’s best restaurant (again) after coming in at number 32 in the prestigious San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant list for 2017.
On his agenda for the day will be discussing mental health in the industry, which is something that needs more of a spotlight. We’re all so quick to talk about the food that we ate, but no one stops to think about the life chefs live. The hours, the sacrifices, the struggles and wages. It’s difficult, there’s no doubt. I love food, but I could never do what they do. And so I think it’s great that this sensitive topic is being broached.
Here’s the schedule if you’d like to see what else will be happening on the day, and some more information on the breakout conversations taking place. I know I’m leaning towards Joel Valvasori of Lulu La Delizia’s pasta conversation and also look forward to hearing more from Ben Shewry.
Perth’s resident Mexican cuisine expert Sam Ward of Mas (formerly of El Publico and Highgate Drink & Dine) will also be slinging some knowledge around ownership of food traditions and honouring recipes. Pretty inspiring topics that I think will feed my mind in all the right ways.
With MCs Laura Moseley, Max Veenhuyzen and Jude Blereau on board, I’m expecting witty, informed and enlightened talks. And while there’s lots of people I consider my friends involved on the day, I know it’s something I’d be interested in regardless.
I hope to see you there!
Find out more: http://wafads.com.au