Industry Update
Opinion Article26 March 2019

Food Scene – How Melbourne Managed to Become Australia's Gourmet Capital

By Marie Nieves, Lifestyle Blogger

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For many people who like to travel, experiencing the food of other cultures plays a big part when it comes to deciding what place they'd like to travel to next. Melbourne is a place that offers many options to its visitors - whether they'd like to enjoy fine dining, casual coffee drinking in one of its coffee shops or simply brunching in a cozy laneway restaurant, every food aficionado is sure to be pleasantly surprised by the diversity this city is known for. Let's take a look at the factors that shaped Melbourne into the culinary capital of Australia.

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Cultural diversity

As a city that is home to around half of the inhabitants who were born overseas, Melbourne can be described as a multicultural melting pot. The presence of numerous cultures resulted in each of them leaving their own mark in terms of cuisine. Food can serve as a stepping stone towards getting to know a culture that is different from ours, and foodies in Melbourne are known for their willingness to give everything a try thus discovering a part of some culture. There are numerous cuisines from all around the world that offer their traditional meals to visitors touring this city - you can try Chinese dumplings when in Chinatown and borsch soup can be found in a Russian restaurant, while their Italian immigrant population made it possible for visitors to take a sip of strong, Italian espresso or cappuccino. Melbourne's multiculturalism is what makes this place unique - its embrace of different cultures serves as its main tourist attraction.

Catering as a part of a food scene

Events like annual presentations and meetings with clients are great opportunities for collaboration and networking, but other than the venue, they require accommodation in terms of food. That's when catering companies come in handy - they offer a more intimate and private atmosphere when compared to restaurants, and the best part about them is their flexibility when it comes to creating a menu for your guests. Catering is a part of the Melbourne food scene and it offers a variety of menus that can be altered to fit your requests. Opting for tailored catering in Melbourne is a great way to leave a good first impression and is sure to wow your potential business partners or give your existing colleagues and partners a memorable experience. The ability to choose the style of presenting the food at an event gives you a chance to craft the atmosphere of the event and set the tone of it. What's more, menus are made with seasons in mind, so you can opt for a BBQ in the summer or some warm, hearty meals in winter.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

Since 1993 when the first ever Melbourne Food and Wine Festival was held, it's been a synonym for the celebration of cuisines from around the world. It includes a number of events promoting Melbourne as Australia's gourmet capital - from cooking classes to large lunches, wine tastings and beer brewing tours and tastings - there's something for everyone at MFWF. Every March it attracts thousands of food and wine experts from all around the globe, which goes to show how much Melbourne's food scene has evolved. A few decades back, it was common for Australian chefs to travel to Europe in order to get familiar with the profession and work there for some time to gain experience. Now, it's the other way around - chefs from America, Asia, and Europe are coming all the way to Melbourne in order to sample the very best this gourmet capital has to offer, while at the same time they can get acquainted with innovative approaches that Melbourne food scene offers.

An innovative approach to food

The city's vast multicultural menus have something for everyone. Laneway restaurants offer a variety of different foods waiting to be tried out by curious foodies while cafes give you the chance to enjoy the finest coffee you can find in Australia. When in a restaurant, there's no etiquette or a set of rules or tradition you have to follow - it's a place that gives off a relaxed vibe. It's because of such a relaxed approach to food that the innovations are very common in Australian cuisine. To Australian chefs, cooking is like painting on a blank canvas when the inspiration strikes - no culinary tradition to limit their imagination and no rules to follow. By not following any culinary concepts, they're free to create something new and unseen, like a Japanese taco. Also, there's fierce competition vying for a wider customer base, so there's the omnipresent threat of being stuck in a rut. That's why pushing the envelope and thinking of new ways of creating delicious food is so important in this cultural city.

Melbourne is without a doubt a must-visit culinary destination of Australia. It wasn't always like this and its constant growth is inspiring to witness. It continues to amaze its visitors with its world-class culinary art, thus creating an identity for itself and ensuring its place on every foodie's list of must-visit places.

Marie Nieves

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