A week after Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel turned down the stove for the 2023 festival, we take a look at the positive impact it had on local vendors.
Record numbers passed through the gates of Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel’s main hub, Town Square in Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga, with vendors showcasing their food and drink to more than 68,000 people.
Beyond Town Square, more than 150 events across 12 South Australian regions shone a spotlight on hospitality vendors as they cooked up a storm on a domestic and international stage.
Naturally, The Post wanted a slice of the pie, so we spoke to Josh O’Shaughnessy from Taco Cartel and Vanessa Button from Kuti Shack in Goolwa to chat about their experiences at Tasting Australia and how they managed to serve up 7000 tacos and shuck 3500 oysters respectively.
How was this year’s Tasting Australia?
Vanessa: We loved being involved in Tasting Australia. Being able to interact so closely with the consumer, especially for our chefs, was a great experience. We were really proud to showcase great South Australian seafood.
Josh: The Tasting Australia crew could not be easier to work with, and the infrastructure and vibes were amazing. Everyone there is there for good food, and that’s what you love to see as a food vendor.
Tell us about your highlights from the event.
V: Working alongside the other food vendors, the camaraderie behind the scenes, reconnecting with old industry friends, and making new ones.
J: As with all events, the highlights are always how the team works together and the friendships you make with your fellow foodies. We were lucky enough to be next to Peel St Restaurant, and seeing the quality of food a fine dining restaurant brings together is amazing to watch. Plus, they couldn’t be better neighbours to have.
What are the benefits of Tasting Australia to a business like yours?
V: The feedback was incredible. Reaching new customers who didn’t know who we were or where we were, who are now excited to follow us back to Goolwa and visit the restaurant.
J: As much as I’ve been around the event industry for years, Taco Cartel is still a relatively young brand, and Tasting Australia really sets us up to continue to grow as a business now that people know what type of quality food we produce. We are super excited to announce we will be opening our first store in June (in Greenwith), and hopefully, we will get to see lots of the people who visited us during Tasting Australia again.
If you could give one tip to people wanting to experience food in SA, what would it be?
V: Follow the produce. If a restaurant is championing food from its backyard, you will have the freshest, most thoughtful and genuinely South Australian experience.
J: We’re super lucky to live in such an amazing country and city where we have the best products and talented, hard-working businesses that want to deliver an amazing experience for their customers. So, if you stick local and support small businesses, you’ll always have an amazing experience in SA.
Vanessa, we heard Kuti Shack cooked more than 400kg of pipis and shucked over 3500 oysters. That’s phenomenal. How did you do it?
V: The produce is so good it sells itself, and as for the shucking, a couple of wonderful chefs with blistered hands.
And Josh, Taco Cartel served over 7000 tacos during the festival. That sounds huge! Tell us a bit about that.
J: Yes, just a couple of tacos for the 10 days, hey? Taco Cartel came about from working with a couple of friends, including a fine dining chef, about creating a menu everyone can enjoy. This has led to a Mexican street food menu that is allergen friendly – with no gluten, dairy or nuts in our core menu, and also delicious vegan options available. Since then, we have been lucky enough to be involved in the majority of major festivals here in SA.
Tasting Australia will return in autumn 2024, with dates to be announced soon.