Gourmet Escape 2015 is officially here.
Augusta-Margaret River Mail journalist Gemma Leask and Busselton-Dunsborough Mail journalist Emma Kirk sat down with a few of the chefs, to find out what excites them about the festival.
After taking the token shot of all the chefs together at Cape Lodge, Gemma chatted with James Viles, David Moyle and Vladimir Mukhin.
Talking with David Moyle, it was clear he was just as excited about the surf as he was about the local produce.
Coming from Tasmania, where he heads up Franklin Restaurant, in the iconic former Mercury Building in Hobart, Moyle managed to bring his board with him so he could get in the water.
“I was out at Smiths Beach straight away, so when I’m not at the festival that’s where you can find me.
“As for the cooking, I’m pretty excited; there are really incredible native herbs and plants over here, as well as the amazing fresh seafood.”
After cooking for 19 years, Moyle's philosophy all comes down to what’s seasonable.
“With our menu’s we tend to source produce first and then work everything else out according to what we have.”
Another chef keen to hit the surf is James Viles.
From New South Wales, it is Viles’ first time at Gourmet Escape.
“It’s my first time in the Margaret River Region and it’s really amazing, I am hoping to go out and do some fishing and surfing this afternoon.”
When asked what he expected of the festival, it was clear Viles doesn’t like to plan.
“Honestly I have no expectations, I know it’s going to involve great food and amazing people, but really I just like to take things hour by hour.”
Viles will be cooking for Feast in the Forest and Audi Gourmet Beach BBQ.
“I’m really keen to get my hands on some snapper from Augusta, it’s great to be able to work with such fresh seafood.”
Last but not least was Vladimir Mukhin, a fifth-generation chef, who was clearly excited to be in Margaret River.
“It is my first time in Australia and it is really beautiful, really amazing scenery.”
Mukhin was lucky enough to bring his daughter along with him to enjoy the festival.
WATCH: An interview with Vladimir Mukhin in his Moscow restaurant The White Rabbit.
“I am enjoying every minute of it, I have been to the beach to relax but I need to prepare for my upcoming lunch and dinner.”
Mukhin likes to go to the roots of cooking, focusing on family and tradition, but with a twist.
“It’s all about going back to the roots, but I also like to make my cooking my own.”
Gemma was hoping to interview Adriano Zumbo, but unfortunately he was caught up prepping for the festival.
She hopes to hunt him down this weekend, so watch this space.
Emma Kirk meets Fulvio Pierangelini, Heath Townsend and George Cooper
GOURMET Escape has kicked off for another year with an international line up of superstar chefs gathering at Cape Lodge in Yallingup.
The event brings some of the most celebrated chefs from around the globe to the region and is a chance to showcase produce from local growers to the world.
Italian maestro Fulvio Pierangelini who consistently ran one of the best rated restaurants in the world for 30 years said he was still unsure what he would prepare.
Pierangelini will be appearing at the iconic beach barbecue at Meelup along with fellow chefs Matt Moran, Guillaume Brahimi, and James Viles.
“I love everything here it’s strange for the first time in my life I feel like I’m in a different place which is completely new for me,” he said.
“When I am on stage with the help of Josh and local Aboriginal ingredients I will make a dish.
“I have a big respect for your land and your history but I will do something with my culture and style.
“I will touch your produce with a lot of emotion and really try to understand. I just want to fall in love with your product.”Chef Fulvio Pierangelini
Wise Winery head chef Heath Townsend said events like Gourmet Escape lifted the standard of food that is available in the region.
Townsend said since the area had become well known for its wine it had now been exposed as a food and wine destination throughout the world.
“The high calibre of chefs we have here is fantastic” he said.
“Some of these guys are people I have grown up with as idols and look to for inspiration in the dishes I create.
“To meet them face to face and have a chat with them and shake their hand is just awesome.”
Townsend said his event Farm, Forage, Graze at Wise Winery would be a real showcase of local produce.
Dunsborough private chef George Cooper who will be preparing two events at the festival said he would use local sustainable produce and ingredients from the native bushes.
WATCH: Dunsborough private chef George Cooper talk about his vision.
Cooper said events like Gourmet Escape had made the region a “real foodie hotspot” and gave it great international exposure.
“Foodies like to experience the region and they find we have good local produce,” he said.