Experience inventive and delicious dishes.
Experience inventive and delicious dishes. Contributed

Foodie festival funds up in the air

THE Noosa community and foodies across the Sunshine Coast are waiting anxiously to find out who Tourism Noosa will pick to run a food and wine festival.

Tourism Noosa's board of management met last night to discuss sponsorship applications for its advertised event celebrating "culinary and produce offerings", which closed on Monday.

CEO Damien Massingham (pictured below) said he could not confirm who had applied to run the event, but the Daily understands at least two proposals had been received. One is understood to be from Jim Berardo, director of previous NIFW festivals, and the other Sheraton Noosa Resort and Spa.

"The applications received are now being reviewed," Mr Massingham said.

A decision on the winning applicant would not necessarily be made at the meeting, as it was common process for the Board to request additional information, he said.

"We review events on a regular basis and we sometimes have to go back for more information. That's a normal part of the process," he said.

"The decision will be made in the near future and it'll be done once all of the review process has been completed."

Mr Massingham said he could not say the amount of funding at stake.

The funding decision will be pivotal for the future of the festival. Tourism Noosa was one of four tourism sponsors of the 2015 Noosa International Food and Wine Festival, and as the region's marketing body it distributes the majority of funds collected by the Noosa Shire Council's environment levy.

As reported in the Daily, the company behind the NIFW festival and Berardo's Restaurant, Noosa Food and Wine Events, is now in liquidation. The iconic fine dining restaurant closed in May, while sister Hastings St eatery Berardo's on the Beach remains open.

A new company directed by 2015 festival director Jim Berardo - Berardo's Festival Management - was registered in June and last month bought the intellectual property rights for the NIFW festival name and domain name. Mr Berardo has said he intended to continue running the festival, while suppliers of last year's festival who are still owed money have expressed concern at the proposal.

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