Talking up our food all over the world

SOMETIMES we miss the obvious. We don't see what is right under our noses.

This was brought home to me last weekend at The Noosa International Food & Wine Festival.

Sorry if you weren't there, because it was a gourmet safari, full of epicurean highlights, high-end entertainment, flowing wine and non-stop culinary extravaganzas.

Among the myriad events taking place in Festival Vill

age (our local Lions Park transformed to food paradise) were panel discussions.

This is where luminaries sit at a table with microphones in a marquee, discussing food topics in front of an enthralled audience.

I happened to be on two of the panel discussions, one where the topic was: Destination Oz - The New Hotspot.

Our "stellar line-up of panellists - as we were described by the moderator - approached the subject: "How can we make Australia better known as a culinary destination?"

We all know Australia is known and loved for its outback, reef, the Daintree, beaches and many other charms but it is not known internationally for its food.

Since our food is better than good, there is a mission to correct this and to that end, Tourism Australia has just launched a $10 million food campaign.

So, with my "stellar" mates on the panel, we picked over the topic, pondering how we could make Australia better known for its great food culture.

None of us could come up with anything really helpful.

We all agreed the Paul Hogan "shrimp on the barbie" campaign worked well, but we needed something bigger than that now to show off our culinary prowess globally.

On and on we talked. How could we get this message out there?

Err ... hang on a minute. Wasn't that happening right outside the marquee in the Noosa Lions Park?

Just outside were some of the word's top chefs (that's official, chefs from the S. Pellegrino's The World's 50 Best Restaurants were present.)

While we tried to find a solution, influential food and travel writers from Europe and Asia were outside absorbing the high standard of the fab food and premium wines.

Restaurateur and founder of the Noosa International Food & Wine Festival, Jim Berardo, took that very message out to the world earlier this year, promoting the region and its festival in Singapore, Italy, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand and every state in Australia.

And our stellar panel didn't see what was right under our collective noses.

Imagine if just one other restaurateur from each state did the same as Jim Berardo? Would we have need of a $10million campaign?

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