Margaret River Gourmet Escape: everything you need to know

The godfather of modern cuisine, Marco Pierre White, will officially kick off this year's Margaret River Gourmet Escape.

The original rock star chef, and the youngest ever to have been awarded three Michelin stars, is a headline attraction for this year's culinary festival which starts on Friday.

The premiere food and local produce event see's chefs, TV personalities, media outlets and knowledgeable foodies flock from around the world to experience the best in produce, food creations and beverages, there are a number of events that are a must see on the Mail's list.

At the heart of the event presented by Audi festival is the must see Gourmet Village.

A buzzing world of culinary excitement and the perfect opportunity to experience the delectable delights the region has to offer.

Hosted at Leeuwin Estate Winery from 11am – 5.30pm on Saturday November 21 and 11am – 5pm on Sunday November 22, it’s where all the stars come together across one action packed weekend programme filled with cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, master classes, intimate Q&A’s and panel discussions.

With something for everyone, from amateur food appreciator to fine dining connoisseurs, the Gourmet Village allows everyone to enjoy the culinary attractions of Margaret River.

There are no ATMs at the Village, so guests should ensure they bring cash with them. 

Those worried about the rain we have had earlier this week need not worry, with the weather set to improve by the weekend.

Tickets to all events are on sale via Ticketek until 12 noon Thursday November 19.

After Thursday tickets will be available from the Margaret River Visitor Centre at 100 Bussell Highway, Margaret River. 

Tourism Minister Kim Hames said the Margaret River Gourmet Escape's ability to attract the best chefs in the world was one of the keys to the event's success.

"Over the years, local, national and international chefs of note have embraced the Margaret River Gourmet Escape experience, resulting in worldwide media coverage of Western Australia's South-West region and showcasing our State's amazing food and wine," he said.

"This year is no exception with the line-up also including Antonio Carluccio, Sat Bains, Aaron Carr, Adriano Zumbo, Rick Stein and Matt Stone, to name a few."

Dr Hames said foodies had been quick to embrace the event with about 22,000 tickets sold to the festival last year, more than double the sales for the first gourmet escape in 2012.

"Last year's Margaret River Gourmet Escape generated almost 30,000 room nights and produced $8.8 million in economic impact for the region which shows how valuable it is to State tourism," he said.

The State Government has committed funding for the Margaret River Gourmet Escape to stay in WA until at least 2017 after renewing its three-year contract with Brand Events Australia, the event owner, last year.

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the Royalties for Regions investment would continue to encourage visitors to discover the produce and landscapes of the South-West and promote those products around the world.

"Regional tourism creates great social and economic prospects for people who live and work in the regions," Mr Redman said.

"In addition, the Margaret River Gourmet Escape provides trade development potential for West Australian producers."

Dr Hames said tourism was crucial to the WA economy, generating $8.7 billion in visitor spend in the 2014-15 financial year.

"Our strategy is to increase this value to $12 billion by 2020.  Supporting events such as the Margaret River Gourmet Escape helps us achieve that goal and adds vibrancy to regional towns," he said.

More information about Gourmet Escape can be found at http://www.gourmetescape.com.au/

This story Godfather of food launches Gourmet Escape first appeared on Augusta-Margaret River Mail.