Celebrity chef demos are big drawcards at Australian food gigs. And floating around the Good Food and Wine Show in Brisbane this weekend (at the Convention Centre) were Masterchef celebs George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan.

There is trumpet, there is fanfare and decibels of entertainment wrapped around chefs slicing, grilling, patting and plating – all the way with cute dialogue to keep 800 aspirant entertaining stars of tomorrow totally enthralled. But the onlookers cannot taste the demo dishes – just two invited guests from the floor. Cost? AUD 2.50 entry on top of the AUD 20.00 at the door.

As you get the hunger pains there is the nearby Wild Oats Restaurant serving the stage dishes of Alastair McLeod (Bretts Wharf), Matt Moran (Aria Brisbane), Tobie Puttock (Fifteen Melbourne) and Gary Mehigan (Masterchef).

Most of the noise is focussed around the Lifestyle FOOD Channel Celebrity Theatre. The wine section progressed quietly with hordes of tasters in the queue for the 70-seat Riedel Wine Theatre touching on the standard subjects – regions, how to understand the drop, modern styles, traditional styles and general wine practicalities.

For more select engagement 25 people gathered in Riedel’s nearby Decanter Bar for some predictable subjects: shiraz, chardonnay, bubbles, author Matt Skinner pairing food, burgundy, pinot and Mediterranean newbies.

The last class each day (the Show went three days) was Riedel the glass people’s turn with decanting talks – very fitting though not very essential these days with so many young wines drunk soon after bottling.

Not all wineries exhibit at this show but there was good regional coverage. And given that Australia’s future sales image has been cast at the higher value, perceptibly better wines generally made in non-industrial quantities, then the regional groups are better at underlining the site-specific produce of this land.

The demographic: mainly females expecting to have a day out, 25-54, staying 3-5 hours at the Show. If they wished for any recipes, a touchscreen menu gave free entry to a post-show service dubbed accessallareas for 50 recipes from the celeb theatre, cooking school, restaurant, demo videos, wine tips and interviews plus backstage footage.

So that’s how to relive the experience!

More info at www.goodfoodshow.com.au . The visitor expectation is 20,000.

But if organisers wish to find a greater attendance, then throw in controversial “bad boy” chef Gordon Ramsey as a leading star.

At past Good Food and Wine Shows this year in Melbourne and Sydney his media coverage swelled the crowds to 42,000 and 44,000 respectively. Aspirant masterchefs just had to see what the fuss was about.

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