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No Carbs Before Margs – The Margaret River Gourmet Escape

Hooray! I’ve been looking forward to this event for ages. Ladies and Gents last month I headed down to the annual Margaret River Gourmet Escape.

Imagine the best food and wine festival you’ve ever been to and times it by a zillion.

It’s a three day culinary celebration with top chefs and wine buffs from all over the globe. They’re sharing their top foodie tips and secrets, cooking gourmet dinners, hosting master-classes and holding intimate Q&A’s.

But the main hub of excitement is the Gourmet Escape Village where local producers, wineries, breweries and restaurants from the region showcase their wares, and invited chefs (like Heston Blummenthal and Rick Stein) dazzle and delight hundreds, nay THOUSANDS of enthralled gormandizers from a huge outdoor ampitheatre.

All this set against the beautiful rolling green woodland and pristine beaches of Australia’s South West. It’s the Foodie Event of the Year!

*For a bit of context, Margaret River is a small town in the South West corner of Western Australia (about 4 hours drive from Perth) and the surrounding area is the Margaret River wine region, known for its premium vineyards and wineries, great beaches and world-class surfing breaks.

The Gourmet Village is a great place to hang out, make friends, learn all about the produce from the region and most importantly of all, EAT. I had a great time wandering between stalls and bumping into loads of people and different producers that I’ve met on my travels so far.

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Mark “The Black Olive” Olive

Mark Olive is a man with a plan.

And it’s a far GREATER plan than just teaching us how to cook pancakes with muntrie berries and wattle seed (although they were really tasty).

Mark is a renowned Indigenous Chef and part of a plan at the Roelands Mission to teach young Indigenous adults how to cook using ingredients from the bush. But much more than that, it’s about teaching vital social skills and life skills.

Whilst driving through Australia’s South West we popped by to hear about the great work they’re doing and to swot up on bush food and Indigenous ingredients.

Situated about 160km south of Perth, there’s a ten strong team at Roelands teaching not just cookery, catering and hospitality, but helping the younger Indigenous generation understand important lessons about their history. Old craft techniques are taught and stories are told through music and spoken word, reconnecting them back to the land.

The confidence and sense of identity these teachings instill give the students a brighter opportunity for the future.

BUT ANYWAY, back to those pancakes!

A lot of bush fruits are quite tart making them great for desserts. In our pancakes we used a combination of muntrie berries and wattle seed. The berries have an apple and cinnamon taste adding a lot of flavour, and we mixed the ground down wattle seed with cold water to add a touch of savoury.

If you’re in the area and have the chance, pop into the Roelands Mission and say hello. They’re doing great work for the local community and any support they receive is greatly appreciated by the fantastic team they have working there.

And you may even be allowed to flip a few pancakes.