COOKING: Demonstration at the Farmers Market with chef Ben Williamson. BELOW: It’s not all cooking. Some of the chefs have fun on the waves at Noosa.
COOKING: Demonstration at the Farmers Market with chef Ben Williamson. BELOW: It’s not all cooking. Some of the chefs have fun on the waves at Noosa. Paul Smith Images

Competition dished up at Noosa

THE only salt the guest chefs at the Noosa Food and Wine Festival are used to is the flavour in their famous recipes, but yesterday they were dished up some competition in the waves for the Chefs Versus Surfers battle at Noosa Main Beach.

Guest chefs Pete Evans, Peter Kuruvita, Andreas Nielsen, Ben O'Donoghue and Samantha Gowing competed in the waves with surfing professionals before a sold-out barbecue breakfast.

Tourism Noosa chief executive Damien Massingham said it was a highlight of the weekend which started on Thursday and finished up yesterday.

"We had a range of chefs competing against our professional surfers who were doing a bit of paddleboarding, pulling each other's leg ropes, pushing people off boards - it was all a bit of fun, then they cooked up a breakfast for hundreds of guests.

"We had about 600 people here having breakfast.

"Each of the chefs cooked a different dish."

Mr Massingham said the competition was the cherry on the top of the festival, which catered for all tastes and served up delicious meals to about 10,000 customers.

He said another highlight came on Saturday when 550 people enjoyed food at the Noosa Street Feast Long Lunch, when Hastings St was taken over by a 240m-long table and catering by top restaurants Noosa Beach House, Bistro C and Rococo.

"The whole event has exceeded our expectations," Mr Massingham said.

"People have been going to a range of events throughout the weekend, and the good thing about this year is we've had a range of different price points and free events to include everyone."

Mr Massingham said about 10,000 people converged on Noosa for the festival, with 37% of those people travelling from interstate.

"The amount of people from Melbourne and Sydney has been fantastic," he said.

"The Sunshine Coast is well-known as a foodie destination. People love our climate, and the fact we're using local produce and local chefs. It's a great recipe for a great weekend."

Mr Massingham said foodies explored the entire Coast with a food trail extending up to the hinterland, and a seafood trail - which both sold out in hours.

"In future years we will expand those trails so it does take in the wider aspect of the region," Mr Massingham said.

"The benefits are widespread.

"I've met a lot of people over the weekend and what's been really pleasing is, while they're in Noosa, they've also been down to Maroochydore, up to Pomona and out to Caloundra - people are not only visiting the festival, but getting out and about on the Coast.

"It's a great economic boost for the region, and research shows that they will come back."

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