$40m campaign culminates in 4-day Tasmanian food fest

In Attractions, Australian Cultural Exports, Australian Domestic Tourism, Food, Media and Communications, National Headlines, Tasmania, Tourism Routes

“Hahaha “Australia’s new Lara Bingle” zing.

Bizarre Blue Ridge Marron crustacean is Australia’s new Lara Bingle

From NewsCorp, 21st October 2014

The West Australian blue ridge marron is the star of the Invite The World To Dinner gala.

The West Australian blue ridge marron is the star of the Invite The World To Dinner gala. Source: Supplied

A BRIGHT-blue crayfish will carry the hopes of the nation’s tourism operators on its spindly legs when served up to the world’s most influential foodies at a gala dinner next month.

The blue ridge marron from Western Australia promises to be one of the stars of the Restaurant Australia finale at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart.

Organised by Tourism Australia, the $40 million campaign aims to convince overseas visitors to travel down under to experience the food and wine, and some of the journalists involved will also visit Cairns and other parts of the Far North.

The guest list for the gala dinner includes celebrity chefs, food bloggers and other media identities with a combined following of more than 400 million people worldwide.

Former tourism darling Lara Bingle missed out on an invite, but the face of Indian cuisine Sanjeev Kapoor will be among the diners, along with celebrity chef and author Eric Ripert, acerbic British food critic Adrian Anthony Gill and American cookbook queen Alice Waters.

A total of 16 countries are represented, all of which are key target markets for Australia’s tourism industry.

Although the three-course menu is tightly under wraps, News Corp has learnt marron will feature along with Blackmore beef and Tasmanian oysters, lobster and abalone. Sydney super-chef Neil Perry will share cooking duties with fellow Australians Peter Gilmore and Ben Shewry, who are all too aware of the significance of the meal.

“The most important message is the fact that our food is world-class and exciting with amazing produce and innovative ideas,” Mr Perry said.

“Hopefully, that all comes together on the night.”

The West Australian blue ridge marron.

The West Australian blue ridge marron. Source: Supplied

Tourism Australia managing director John O’Sullivan said the venue was chosen for its “fit with the campaign”.

“All state and territory organisations were invited to put forward recommendations on how they might host the ‘Invite the World to Dinner’ gala,” Mr O’Sullivan said.

“Tasmania was selected as the host because of the international status of MONA, the venue itself and the setting.”

In the lead-up to the November 14 dinner, guests will be treated to a personalised four-day gastronomic blitz of the country covering every state and territory.

While some might go mudcrabbing in the Northern Territory, others will forage for sea vegetables off Tasmania’s east coast, shuck oysters on the New South Wales coast or explore Melbourne’s laneway cafes and bars.

Mr O’Sullivan said hopefully the guests would share their “incredible stories through their huge followings” and help inspire many others to travel in their footsteps.

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