Fresh to the Table

This is an archived copy of an event that has already passed. It is online for informational purposes only.
  • Date:
  • Location: Noosa Springs Resort, Noosa Heads 4567 Queensland

Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Anna Bligh


At Our Table, a feast for the ears, eyes and stomach is about to be unleashed on Queenslanders in 10 locations around the State between August and November, as part of Queensland's 150th anniversary celebrations, Premier Anna Bligh said today.

At Our Table events begin in Normanton in August and include the Granite Belt, Noosa, Cairns, Ingham, Erub, Mackay, Longreach, Stradbroke Island and Brisbane.

Ms Bligh said Queensland had come a long way since the days when mutton and peas were the norm. Step aside traditional culinary locations like Europe, Queensland cuisine is right up there - thanks to Queenslanders and their individual heritage.

"It's Queensland's birthday this year and it's time to celebrate the personalities behind our food as well as our great food, recipes and food stories we have here in Queensland.

"At Our Table is not merely a gastronomical extravaganza serving up everything from the traditional fare to the extraordinary.

"It's about people of many cultures from all corners of the globe settling in Queensland and getting together around food.

"What brings us all together most often and where are some of the best yarns spun?

"Around the dinner or kitchen table.

"Queensland's 150th anniversary is all about celebrating our people, our places and our stories.

"That's also what At Our Table is about.

"So while there will be tables set amongst vineyards, gardens, at restaurants and gastronomic cultural delights served up, there will also be some stories spun and shared by chefs and cooks from Queensland's outback to the cities and the coast.

"Perhaps they will even be persuaded to share some long held secret recipes.

"One thing is for sure, we have this once in a 150 year opportunity to stop for a moment and realise just what wonderful chefs, cooks, characters, food history, food quality and recipes we have in Queensland and celebrate them.

"Even better Queenslanders will be able to share their own recipes online at and follow At Our Table as it travels across the State.

"What a great initiative to be part of. Just when you thought Queensland had seen the best of its Q150 Celebrations with the Q150 Steam Train and Shed, along comes another initiative that is quite literally gob smacking and mouth watering.

"It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if we see more Queenslanders smacking their lips and saying 'squisito' (yummy), in several languages, by the end of this year.

"What a fabulous snapshot At Our Table will be for future generations as it unfolds over the next few months and the stories it reveals of how far Queensland cuisine has come in the past 150 years, are kept for posterity by the State Library of Queensland."

Ms Bligh said At Our Table was being brought to Queenslanders by the Queensland Government's Q150, the State Library of Queensland and supported by numerous Councils, community organisations and individuals.

State Librarian Lea Giles Peters said the State Library was proud to deliver this innovative project celebrating Queensland's rich and diverse food history as communities gather at the table to share a meal, a story and their cooking traditions.

"As a leader in documenting and preserving the legacy of our State's heritage, At Our Table provides all Queenslanders the opportunity to share their memories, cultural traditions and recipes through food," she said.

"More importantly, it ensures the diverse range of culinary voices is collected and remain accessible for future generations."

Nadine McDonald Dowd, an organiser of the At Our Table project and board member of the Q150 Advisory Committee, said At Our Table created an opportunity for all Queenslanders to come together and acknowledge the diversity of the many different cultures that make us who we are today.

"Drawing on the stories, memories and heritage of Queensland communities, the events will not only be a celebration of food but a reflection of our past, and more importantly cementing how we define ourselves as Queenslanders today and for the future.," she said.

2009 is Queensland's 150th anniversary of separation from New South Wales.

At Our Table events in Queensland:

16 August The Cook's Table, Normanton
23 August The Winemaker's Story, Granite Belt
31 August Fresh to the Table, Noosa

6 September A Market Feast, Cairns
19 September festa di famiglia, Ingham
26 September Determination and Identity, Erub

24 October From Homelands to Harvest, Mackay
31 October The Stockmen, Longreach

7 November Saltwater Dining, Stradbroke Island
28 November Queensland unearthed, Brisbane


16 August - The Cook's Table, Normanton.
The main drag in Normanton, Haig Street will be closed off on the evening of 16 August and instead of vehicles there will be a long row of tables tempting locals and visitors alike to camp and muster cooking, Outback-style. In the thick of it will be Alfrieda Hughes, the cook at Magowra Station, and she's looking forward to it. "I reckon it'll be great," she said. She's going to serve up corn beef, vege and white sauce, saddlebag biscuits (because they don't break up in the saddlebag and you can put just about anything you have in the kitchen in them), and puff de loons (fried scones which are very nice with syrup). Fat candles invented at Shady Lagoons Station where Alfrieda was born, will light up the night. During the evening Alfrieda will let patrons into a few home kept secrets that showcase the innovation and creativity that comes naturally to chefs like her in re mote areas of the State.
Date and times: Sat 16 August 2009, 3.30pm-6pm
Cost: free community event
Bookings: no bookings required
Venue: Haig Street, Normanton

23 August - The Winemaker's Story, Granite Belt
Imagine yourself on a mission to find the best drop in Queensland. Your quest takes you deeper into the vineyard where you happen to stumble across a wine-maker or two or three each with their product and eager for you to sample their wares. Then it's into the kitchen where local food from fresh local produce is being prepared just for you, and a few friends. Andrew Simpson, Executive Chef at the Queensland College of Wine Tourism, is among those working on this project and creatively coming up with some pretty tasty dishes that ought to surprise even the most critical connoisseur craving for that new food and wine experience at the college in Stanthorpe. "I think it's great to have this opportunity," he said. It's great for the region and for Queensland's wine story which has come into its own in the past few years." Showcasing how far Queensland wines have come since Catholic Priest and viticulturalist Father Gerome Davadi from Italy first planted cabinet sauvignon grapes in the region in the 1930s. He seeded what's become an award-winning industry in the Granite Belt and some of his original vines are said to be still bearing fruit although exactly where they are is a closely guarded secret. What's so great about 23 August is that you can see what the Queensland College of Wine Tourism students are up to and also get to meet the wine-makers and there are quite a few to meet, according to CEO John Neville. "The laboratory will be open showing the research facilities and we will have cooking demonstrations," he said. "This is really a celebration of our wine industr y which has come a long way over the past decade." In a second wave of migration, the Granite Belt now has winemakers from New Zealand, Argentina and South Africa to add to mix of the second generation Italians and Greeks. The competition has been good. Wineries and winemakers are winning some pretty impressive national awards. One such is Mike Hayes, the winemaker and viticulturalist at Symphony Hills Wines who picked up gold medals for the Reserve Shiraz in both 2005 and 2009 at the Sydney Wine Show. Mr Hayes said this is just one example of the many high quality wines coming out of the Granite Belt. "The Q150 At Our Table event is going to showcase that even more," he said. "The quality is right up there. This event will help us showcase our wines to visitors from interstate as well as let the locals know exactly what's out there. It's also a great opportunity for the region's winemakers to get together in one place as we don't often get that opportunity."
Date and times: Sun 23 August 2009, 10am-4pm
Cost: $10/person
Bookings: No booking required. Tickets at door or pre-purchased from
Venue: Queensland College of Wine Tourism, 22 Caves Road, Stanthorpe

31 August - Fresh to the Table, Noosa
It's not every day you have the opportunity to meet the local producer who produced the food on the plate you are enjoying and thank him or her for the freshness. That's just what's going to happen on 31 August when Noosa's Fresh to the Table part of At Our Table, serves up a feast for dinner at Noosa Springs Resort. Shane Stanley, Manager of Noosa's Farmers' Markets of course is chuffed that celebrity chef Matt Golinski is the chef on the day. "I think it's a great concept for Matt to highlight the great quality products we have in the region and to demonstrate to people how it can be used in the restaurant or in the home," said Shane. "It's really exciting for producers to get more of a public profile and to be part of this Q150 event, At Our Table.

We just think it's a great honour, and that we're recognised to be part of it. We'll be there to talk about our fruit and vege and why it's important to support your local producer." Local chef Matt loves finding fresh food locally for his catering business Rolling Dolmade at Noosa. "It's always a pleasure going out there and getting the ingredients for something like this and dealing direct with the farmers. It's something I am very passionate about. I really enjoy doing the whole local food thing and because we have such good diversity in the region it makes it easy."
Date and times: 31 August 2009, 6pm-10pm
Cost: $60/person
Bookings: required - book through or phone 136 246
Venue: Noosa Springs Resort, Links Drive, Noosa Heads

6 September A Market Feast, The TANKS Arts Centre, Cairns
Where's fusion food happening? Cairns. At Our Table takes you on a market feast experience that will leave you in no doubt about how much Asian cuisine has influenced the foods in the Far North. Five Asian communities - Japanese, Chinese, Filipino[PH1], [PH2]Hmong and Bhutanese - will cook up, demonstrate and sell mouth watering examples of their finest cuisine - as well tell the stories of their food and culture through traditional music and dance as part of Cairns Carnival on Collins at The TANKS. Sandy Astill, Acting Marketing and Promotions Manager at the Tanks Arts Centre said that it was the first time community food demonstrations had been included in the Carnival. "It's great that At Our Table is part of the Carnival this year," she said. "Our Asian community is a major influence, particularly more recently our Japanese community. We have very strong Chinese history here while Hmong and Bhutanese are relatively newcomers. The Carnival celebrates community so it is great that it can do so as part of Queensland's birthday through At Our Table, the multicultural component of the Carnival. We will be encouraging people to buy their food and hear what the different communities chefs have to say as they take their food with them to watch the multicultural dancing performances." The Carnival on Collins, a family favourite for 20 years, is on Fathers Day, 6 September along Collins Avenue, Botanical Gardens and Tanks Arts Centre from9am-3.30pm, The Carnival is a free event with food such as food from At Our Table, sold on site.
Date and Times: Sun 6 September 2009, 11am-2pm
Cost: Free entry into the Carnival, $5/dish at A Market Feast
Bookings: No bookings required, first in best dressed
Venue: Cairns Botanical Gardens and The TANKS Arts Centre, 46 Collins Avenue, Edge Hill Tanks Arts Centre and Collins Avenue.

19 September - festa di famiglia, Ingham
Start practicing to say "ah squisito" as you sample delicious tastes of Italy at the testa di famiglia (Italian for family feast) in Ingham where the cuisine of five Italian districts from migrants and their descendants living in the Far North will compete to tempt your taste buds. The venue is the Hinchinbrook Community Hall where the mothers, fathers and grandparents of Italian migrant families will rub shoulders with chef Dominique Rizzo of Pure Food Cooking fame and of Sicilian heritage. "I'm absolutely ecstatic and thrilled to be involved, particularly in joining the community of Ingham with this project," she said. "To have the opportunity to sit down with some of the older members of the Italian community in Ingham and try out their family recipes, cook for the community and then be able to s hare those recipes with the younger generation in cooking classes is an amazing opportunity." For the record, Dom will bring her love for simple yet healthy foods and tradition to the table. Her culinary contribution to the festa di famiglia will be a traditional Sicilian dish, of course. "Bring back the simplicity of eating and sitting down at a table with family and friends," she said.
Date and times: Saturday 19 September 2009, 6pm-10pm
Cost: $25/person
Bookings: required - book through or phone 136 246
Venue: Hinchinbrook Shire Hall, 25 Lannercost Street, Ingham

26 September - Determination and Identity, Erub (Darnley Island) Sports Stadium
The grounds of the Saam Karem Beizam (deep water shark) Sports Stadium, on Erub (Darnley Island) is the prime venue for a kupmuri (also commonly known as a hungi or mu mu in other cultures) where food is cooked underground. The men prepare the kupmuri during the day and the women their famous sop-sop dish. These traditional activities will be part of a delicious island cuisine that will compliment celebrations for the anniversary of the Erub native title determination and the hosting of a regional touch football and volleyball carnival, when the town's ranks are swelled to around 600. Kenny Bedford, Councillor on Erub and Deputy Mayor of the Regional Council said he was very pleased that Erub could be part of the Q150 celebrations as a partner community in the At Our Table project. "I picked up a Q150 program when I was in Cairns recently, and there we were 'on the map'.literally", he said. "For us to be included in a Statewide event is something special and another opportunity for us to promote our community and dynamic culture". According to Kenny, you can cook just about anything in a kupmuri from turtle to fish, vegetables and the popular sop-sop dish intricately prepared by the women which "includes pumpkin, taro and sweet potato and is cooked in freshly squeezed coconut milk and banana leaves". What's one of the best things about kupmuri? Kenny says it's the fact that "it's hard to ever burn one and the earth oven keeps y our food cooked and warm until you are ready to eat it. "The delicious flavour of a kupmuri is like nothing else you've tasted". Never had sop-sop or experienced a kupmuri? There's only one place to do it to mark Queensland's 150th birthday, and that's on at Erub on 26 September.
Date and times: Saturday 26 September 2009, 4pm-6pm
Cost: Free community event
Bookings: No bookings required
Venue: Erub (Darnley Island) Sport and Recreation Centre

24 October - From Homelands to Harvest, Mackay
Australian South Sea Islander and Maltese communities have brought a rare flavour to Mackay palates, one that they can now share more widely through the Q150 and State Library of Queensland At Our Table project in a Long Hut banquet. You can be sure exotic flavours, recipes and stories to match will excite food connoisseurs for years to come. Cane cutters poems and gospel singing are part of the menu. Queenslander Peter Howard, one of Australia's best known food and wine commentators will be in Mackay as it all comes together. "How exciting that Queensland is acknowledging its foundation through its food and through people who b rought multicultural food to Australia so long ago. I think that's a very important statement that the Queensland Government is making."
Date and times: Saturday 24 October 2009, 12pm-4pm
Cost: Gold coin donation
Bookings: No bookings required
Venue: Australian South Sea Islander Meeting Hut, Mackay Botanical Gardens

31 October - The Stockmen, Longreach
Drovers will down their droving gear and take up camp oven cooking at the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame where they will spin a yarn or two and cook up a treat at the Cattleman's Bar and Grill. While dining in the heart of the Outback, this event will honour the stockmen and women who developed and grew the cattle industry in Queensland. Ben Maguire, CEO at the Australian Stockman's Hall of fame said Longreach is over the moon to be involved in At Our Table. "Privileged and delighted would be how we feel in two words," he said. "We're lucky to be part of it and it's a very special idea. We have this great outdoor area where we can set up a few camp ovens. Visitors and locals will be a ble to meet people who live their life on the 'road' and sample their food, whether that's of drovers, outback stations, camp cooks or Indigenous people. The Longreach leg of At Our Table is about the traditional cooking methods and the people who lived or live on the road and across the bush."
Date and times: Saturday 31 October 2009, 6pm-10pm
Cost: $25/person
Bookings: required - book through or phone 136 246
Venue: Australian Stockmen's Hall of Fame, Landsborough Highway, Longreach

7 November - Saltwater Dining, The Little Ship Club, North Stradbroke Island
Fresh seafood just doesn't get any fresher than this. North Stradbroke Island community cooks will take fellow Aboriginal chef Dale Chapman of The Dilly Bag out to collect fresh seafood for the evening's menu, share some of their closest kept family recipes and put on a feast of seafood and stories that will be hard to beat. This is one of those rare opportunities where the community lucky enough to get a seat for dinner at The Little Ship Club that night will rave about for years to come. Dale sees it as a good opportunity for Queensland to showcase its history and where it hopes to be in the future. "This is a very unique experience," she said. "Sure you can take yourself on food experiences at individual locations in Queensland, but At Our Table, sounds to me like one of the first times if not the first time that we are showcasing bush foods as part of the bigger Queensland food picture in such an inclusive way. I can't wait to get together with the island's chefs to see what we can create using their dishes."
Date and times: Saturday 7 September 2009, 4pm-9pm)
Cost: $15 (dinner), $25 (dinner and return ferry)
Bookings: required - book through or phone 136 246
Venue: The Little Ship Club, 1 Yabby Street, Dunwich, North Stradbroke Island

28 November -Queensland unearthed, Queensland Terrace, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane
The piece de resistance of At Our Table? Queensland Unearthed, the culmination of celebrating the stories, people and recipes discovered during the nine earlier At Our Table community events will be presented at the State Library of Queensland. State Librarian Lea Giles-Peters invites Queenslanders to come to the State Library and experience the diversity of cultures that is central to Queensland heritage today. "Come and explore the richness of our Collections through this milestone event," she said. Internationally acclaimed chef Alistair McLeod will create a quintessential culinary experience and he can't wait. "I think I have the best job of all," he said. "I get to synthesise experiences from all the regions involve d from Noosa to Normanton, the Granite Belt to Cairns. To be able to represent faithfully through food those regions is a privilege." Passionate about Queensland's fantastic fresh food ingredients, he's big on praise for producers and keeping dishes simple. "Cooking has to have soul for me. There has to be a sense of provenance, where it's coming from, not the supermarket shelf, but the producer, the people who are singularly passionate and devoted to their work. Like why the Puglisi family have been making this wonderful wine and what challenges they may have faced." As for examples, he is prolific. Take zucchini flowers from Landsborough. "They are the very bloody best in the world."
Date and times: Saturday 28 November 2009, 6pm-10pm
Cost: $60/person
Bookings: required - book through phone 136 246
Venue: Queensland Terrace, Level 2, State Library of Queensland

Queensland Government, Premier and Minister for Reconstruction :
PO Box 15185, City East QLD 4002, Brisbane
07 3224 2111
07 3229 2900
Queensland Government, Premier and Minister for Reconstruction

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Noosa Springs Resort, Noosa Heads

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