Yep, you’ve probably heard the news by now: Truffle Kerfuffle is back and bigger than ever. While heading the talent line up are the obligatory TV celebs, the real drawcard is the epic list of local culinary superstars.
Normally behind the stovetop and away from curious peepers, this is your chance to get the lowdown from your favourite chefs, all just a few hours’ drive from home, down in Manjimup: Australia’s home of the not-so-humble truffle.
Here’s our pick of the best truffle tickets to get your hands on this June, and the chefs that you don’t want to miss.
Brunch In Common
Partners in crime, or should that be crumb? Bread in Common’s former executive chef, Scott Brannigan is teaming up with Chris Eales, who has recently taken the chef’s whites from him at the Freo hot spot. Truffles for brunch? Hell yes. These two will be joined by Australian Gourmet Traveller’s Max Veenhuyzen for an intimate event at the festival. Limited to just 26 diners, this food and wine masterclass will take place around the kitchen bench and hopefully leave you inspired to attempt some of your own culinary creations back home. Of course, if you were more focused on the conversation than the cooking, you can simply recreate the memories back home with the wine and order dinner in…
Must Be A Truffle Lover
You would have to be living under a rock to have missed Russell Blaikie’s impact on the Perth food scene. After nine years as head chef at 44 King Street, he returned to his love of French bistro food and founded the iconic Must Winebar in 2001. Featuring one of Perth’s best wine lists and gaining experience in some of the world’s top kitchens, it’s no wonder Blaikie has starred on TV and radio shows, published a book and continues to drive punters in the droves to his tables. Truffles, wine and a love of French bistro: this is a masterclass with our name written all over it.
Hit The Village With Tony Howell
In the village you won’t be able to miss Tony Howell, whose face (and food) you have likely seen gracing TV screens, cooking demonstrations and in the top kitchens of Margaret River. A darling of the food and tourism industries, Chef Tone’s charm and knowledge is hard to beat. At this year’s Truffle Kerfuffle he will be the MC at the Festival Stage, a role he is well equipped for, providing plenty of entertainment for food lovers. If you want more after the festival, continue your trip down south with a stay at Cape Lodge; it’s here his chef whites are regularly worn and where he hosts cooking classes and demonstrations year round.
Cooking With Fervor
Paul ‘Yoda’ Iskov is a chef, a forager, an educator and an important preserver of Australia’s culinary traditions. He’s also an all-round great guy; chances are if you’ve seen him in action already, it’s with a big smile. His skills as a chef have been honed in some of the world’s best restaurants including Noma (Copenhagen), Vue De Monde (Melbourne), D.O.M (São Paolo) and Pujol (Mexico City). In 2013 he established Fervor, with the aim of delivering a ‘culinary experience that you can’t get anywhere else’. Spending a large amount of time travelling throughout WA, he connects and learns about bush foods from Traditional Owners and Elders. Taking his findings back into the kitchen, he then shares this knowledge with diners at pop-up events in some of WA’s most remote and stunning locations. Spare the helicopter this time and catch him at the Chef’s Cabin, The Festival Stage and the highly anticipated Fervor Lunch and Masterclass.
Magical Manjimup Brunch
Who could say no to an event entitled ‘Magical Manjimup Brunch with Aaron Carr and Mary Street Bakery’? Seriously, if you haven’t booked yet, you are mad. Aaron Carr is one of WA’s most acclaimed and longest standing chefs. With 21 years at the helm of Vasse Felix’s restaurant, he has consistently scored top marks in Australia’s food guides. In 2017 he fulfilled a lifelong dream and opened his own restaurant, Yarri. Awarded two Chefs Hats at the national Good Food Guide Awards in its first year, it is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to accolades for the restaurant. Back to brunch though. Truffles: Tick. One of WA’s top chefs: Tick. Mary Street Bakery (which needs NO introduction to brunch lovers): Tick.
L’Elegante Tartufo Dinner
Park yourself at the table of these two chefs and unbuckle your belt a few notches. It’s L’Elegante Tartufo (The Elegant Truffle) dinner, but don’t say we didn’t warn you. This food is going to be worth settling in for, and swapping your swishest outfit for one that allows a little more indulgence. Nic Wood of Santini Bar & Grill flies the flag high for produce to plate dining. His favourite ingredient is one that many could benefit taking an extra pinch of: restraint. Joining Nic in the kitchen (along with the truffles) will be chef Melissa Palinkas, co-owner and executive chef at Young George. With a similar approach to Nic, Melissa excels in ‘nose to tail’ and ‘roots to shoots’ cooking. Nothing is left to waste under her watchful eye and her innovative approach and focus on sustainability has ensured her respect and admiration in the Perth foodie scene. Wine and dine by candle light and enjoy the good life with this pair at the helm of the kitchen.
World Of Truffles
Let’s hear it for the girls. Normally, one would need to drive down to the depths of Albany to taste Amy Hamilton’s inspired culinary delights. After a background starting in visual arts, her career took a turn when she discovered the joys of the hospitality game, working with Russell Blaikie at Must Winebar. Step forward a few years and as her kitchen experience expanded, she was drawn to pursuing her dreams at a run-down bar in Albany’s iconic London Hotel. In need of some love, the slightly bohemian Parisian bar underwent a transformation under Amy’s direction. Now a destination for food and cocktail lovers, the Liberté menu smacks you in the face with flavour with unashamedly bold combos of French and Vietnamese cuisine. Throw in some truffle action alongside Amy’s natural fair for hospitality and it’s a match made in heaven.
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Image credit: Three Williams