April 22, 2015
by Bronwyn Marquardt *
Create it, and they will come … that was the message from celebrity chef and passionate country produce promoter Miguel Maestre as he helped the South Burnett take over the city on the weekend at Brisbane’s trendy Eat Street Markets
Miguel, of Channel 10’s “The Living Room” fame, is known for his love of showing city foodies where their meals and drinks come from.
While he’s never been to Kingaroy or the Bunya Mountains, Miguel is more than familiar with Goomeri after filming at last year’s Pumpkin Festival for a hugely popular segment on The Living Room.
“I’m not kidding, people did not know the name ‘Goomeri’ but they knew it was the place the pumpkins come from,” he said.
“It was so exciting, I loved it. I dressed up as a pumpkin, and I rolled my pumpkin really straight.
“We made pumpkin risotto, and as soon as we put the recipe up on our website we had 15,000 hits, straight away. People loved it.”
Miguel enjoyed getting to meet South Burnett producers and products during their debut appearance at the Eat Street Markets at Hamilton Wharf.
However, he said it was no longer enough for a region just to have good food, wine and accommodation to stand out from the crowd.
It’s wonderful to have the wine, the oils, the produce, the scenery,” he said. You have that in the South Burnett, but I have to be honest with you, so do many other parts of Australia, too.
“It’s like Goomeri. You have to have something quirky, original, a little bit different.
“If you put on an unusual festival or have something different, we (The Living Room) will come to look at it and film a segment on it. We’ll taste it and create with it and show people where it comes from.
“And then people will come, too. I would love to do that and come and see you in the South Burnett.”
Miguel was in Brisbane to promote rural Queensland and the role farmers and producers play in providing food and drink for the rest of the State and the nation.
“I don’t think the people in the cities know how hard the country people work to bring the food to them that is on the table,” he said.
“That is why markets like this are so important. People need to see that the meat comes from the lamb, the milk comes from a teat that has to be pulled just right, the wine is produced from grapes that are grown in just the right conditions. It’s key.”
South Burnett producers – and their Granite Belt, Southern and Western Downs and Toowoomba colleagues – have been taken under the wing collectively by Tourism and Events Queensland under the media-friendly title of “Southern Queensland Country” (hashtag #sqcountry).
SQ Country Tourism CEO Mary Clare Power said part of the rationale behind the link-up was the fact that the Southern Queensland region was the only part of the State to experience a “true” Autumn.
“It’s the only place in Queensland where visitors can experience four seasons in one day, and we want to celebrate that point of difference,” she said.
Ms Power said pointing out that to Eat Street fans of food, wine, art and other products could bring new life – and tourists – to the country.
Throughout the event, organisers were keen to point out that the correct pronunciation of South Burnett was “Burn-It” not “Burr-net” … “the locals will get very annoyed with you if you say it like that”, the crowds were told.
Maps, brochures, and tastes were available throughout, and all signs led to the Bunya Mountains and Kingaroy.
South Burnett producers at the Eat Street Markets included:
- Shannon Scott from Taste South Burnett … his watermelon fudge was a best-seller;
- Bernie Cooper, from Crane Wines, who was representing 10 wineries from throughout the South Burnett;
- Chris and Rob Patch, from The Peanut Van;
- Judy Barnfield, from Kalinga Farms, Blackbutt, who with husband Robert had taken a break from harvesting to attend their first Eat Street Market; and
- Steve Winter, who was promoting Kingaroy Cheese.
* Bronwyn Marquardt blogs at Maid In Australia