Cooking up ideas: Local businesses look to capitalise on Crab Fest

The Foreshore Cafe owner Aran Lock, Whizz Pop Candy Shop owner Corey Warner and Samudera Artisan Food and Bakehouse owner Nat Loaring. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.
The Foreshore Cafe owner Aran Lock, Whizz Pop Candy Shop owner Corey Warner and Samudera Artisan Food and Bakehouse owner Nat Loaring. Photo: Kaylee Meerton.

Local businesses are thinking outside the box ahead of Mandurah's signature event in an effort to capitalise on the thousands of visitors expected to attend Crab Fest.

Several new kids on the block don't want to be overlooked during the annual festival so have taken up the City of Mandurah's call to get involved this year.

With Crab Fest set to attract 100,000 local, national and international visitors to the Peel region on March 16-17, mayor Rhys Williams said it is the perfect opportunity to "deliver economic benefits to our local community".

"Crab Fest is such a great event for our community and celebrates the best that Mandurah has to offer," he said.

"Not only does it bring colour and pride to our city, but it supports local business and therefore jobs for our young people.

"Last year 145 local businesses were involved including 39 Peel-based stallholders and vendors and generated $8.25 million for the local economy."

Crab Fest is such a great event for our community and celebrates the best that Mandurah has to offer.

Mandurah mayor Rhys Williams

Mr Williams said building on that success to support and include local businesses was a key focus for Crab Fest 2019.

"This year we have expanded the event footprint to include businesses at the top of Mandurah Terrace, who will be offering alfresco dining at their venues," he said.

"A number of local businesses will also be taking part in the ‘Local Kitchen’ cooking stage, designed to promote local restaurant offerings from food to cocktails.

"We are also opening the estuary to boaties, so they can get closer to the action and enjoy Crab Fest from the water as well."

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Mandurah Terrace businesses The Foreshore Cafe, Samudera and Whizz Pop Candy Shop have a number of exciting plans in the works to draw people into their businesses.

Samudera Artisan Food and Bakehouse owner Nat Loaring said his chefs will be relocating to the alfresco to cook up a crab storm.

The restaurant will have three special crab meals on offer - a Szechuan salt and pepper whole cooked crab, an authentic crab red curry and crab cake burgers in authentic French brioche.

We want people to know we're serving local Mandurah crab not just over Crab Fest but all year round.

Samudera owner Nat Loaring

Mr Loaring said the local businesses had been working with the City of Mandurah to help make the most of the Crab Fest weekend.

"Rather than just have all the food on the foreshore, which is all temporary, this whole idea is for the Crab Fest to come out to all the local businesses along here," he said.

"We want people to know we're serving local Mandurah crab not just over Crab Fest but all-year round.

"Coming down to try our local crab is what Crab Fest is all about but you can come back later and there's a place to still get the local crab.

"This has been needed for a while, bringing it towards the shops along the foreshore because we are here all the time."

Mr Loaring hopes the smell from the Wok fryer will draw patrons in to grab some crab and a coffee and enjoy all the festivities of the weekend.

"We will be cooking behind the new benches we have built out of the Old Bridge timber and we'll be serving over the top of the bench. The roads will be closed so you can walk straight up to us, place your order and watch us cook it," he said.

"There will be plenty going on including an art market over the road here. 

"It's going to be a great weekend."

New to the area, The Foreshore Cafe owner Aran Lock said he is also excited for what Crab Fest has to offer.

The businessman only made the move to the Peel region to open up his restaurant late last year, but knows he is in for a big weekend.

"I've never seen it before so I have no idea just how big to expect," he said.

"If it's anything like the Christmas pageant, which was when we just opened, it will be mental.

"We're going to try out a few meals from our new upcoming menu for Crab Fest.

"We've got plenty of alternatives to crab as well, cooked out of our kitchen."

Whizz Pop Candy Shop owner Corey Warner said he is still "frantically preparing" for the big numbers he knows will be coming and going through his sweets store.

"It's going to be massive," he said.

"It hasn't always been but the more they open it up to us, the better it goes which is good."

About 3000 people attended the first official Crab Fest, which is a stark contrast from the 100,000 expected at the two-day event this year,

While Mandurah Mail journalists will be on the ground across the weekend to cover the event, our team would also love to share your photos. If you have a photo you want to contribute, send us an email via editor.mandurahmail@fairfaxmedia.com.au.

For more information on this year’s Crab Fest, visit www.crabfest.com.au.