Culinary Curations at The Curated Plate

Image source: Contributed

The Curated Plate 2023 offered a glimpse into the future of a flourishing food industry, uniting local makers and consumers over the dining table, as Georgia Beard reflects.

This year, The Curated Plate returned in all its gastronomic glory – a plated presentation of culinary craftsmanship, perfecting the harmony of home-harvested textures, colours and flavours.

Satisfying our appetites after last year’s sample-sized The Curated (side) Plate, this 10-day celebration of artisanal food and drink redefined the meaning of the sensory experience.

We travelled from one end of the Sunshine Coast to the other in search of the experimental and the immersive. From overgrown pastures and winding waterways to refreshingly new haunts and fond favourites, no venue was left empty, and no kitchen left idle.

Four signature events made their debut, encompassing all markets and demographics in the regional food industry.

CRAFTed Food Agritourism Conference projected the future of local agritourism while Paddock to The Curated Plate Presented by Hot91 expanded local palates with a market of homemade fare.

Craft connoisseurs sipped their way through the coast’s favourite breweries, distillers and bars for MooloolaBARS before Riceboi, Sum Yung Guys and Spirit House united with local foodies and musos to deliver a lively Asian Food Festival at Spicers Tamarind Retreat.

After last year’s sell-out success, we celebrated the union of cuisine and conversation at our second Podcast & Pinot at The Doonan!

As we savoured Head Chef Wayd Bailey’s homegrown long lunch, four guest panellists shared their life stories, from The Doonan’s Rob Comiskey to OzHarvest’s Michele Lipner OAM to DÉ SAINT to Hot 91’s Sam Coward!

Our foray didn’t stop there! We toured Market Bistro, Bottarga and The Met among Maroochydore’s emerging cityscape to Meet the Sunshine Coast Makers presented by FAN; indulged in a La Dolce Vita trackside feast of food, fashion and entertainment at the Sunshine Coast Turf Club; and savoured gin-infused fare and fiery rum at Nil Desperandum’s RumFire!

This is merely a slice of more than 100 events stretching from Caloundra to Doonan, showcasing over 300 local producers and makers.

As the banquet expanded, so too did the appetite of diners, resulting in a soaring 9,500 ticket sales compared to last year’s 1,500!

“We are all thrilled with the result, and these figures incorporate small boutique experiences with 11 to 25 attendees to full blown festivals that could take unlimited numbers,” said Project Manager Zoe Sparks. “Our Sunshine Coast locals are hungry for what we had on offer, but we drew a large number of visitors too which shows that people are recognising the amazing food and beverage scene we have here.”

As Sunshine Coast chefs, producers, distillers and brewers invited us beyond the dining table, we got to know the people who gather our produce, prepare our plates and pour our glasses – enriching the flavours and the experiences!

The Curated Plate closed the gap between creators and consumers, forging stronger connections as the Sunshine Coast harnesses food tourism in revolutionary ways.

“We are very mindful of involving our local businesses as much as possible and ensuring we set them up for success,” Zoe said.

“One of our key drivers is to ensure that our industry partners do well, so our focus will always be on raising the diversity and quality rather than getting ‘bigger and bigger’.

“We have a lot of plans and ideas already for 2024 and we can’t wait to get the ball rolling.”

Neither can we! Cheers to 2024!

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