MELBOURNE restaurant royalty are on board for High Country Harvest in May.
The MoVida group will again feature in the festival program after its debut partnership last year while Lucy Liu Kitchen and Bar and Taxi Kitchen will make their first appearance.
Tourism North East chief executive Amber Gardner said the festival was a big drawcard for Melbourne foodie visitors.
She said the festival had gained real traction by partnering with MoVida for the first time in 2017.
“A great byproduct of the MoVida events in Melbourne (and Beechworth) last year was the number of North East suppliers now used by the restaurant,” she said.
“It created a new sales channel for producers; for some of the smaller producers MoVida became their biggest supplier.”
The sixth annual High Country Harvest runs from May 4 to 20.
The festival plays a key role in driving tourism throughout the region during a traditionally quiet period.
The 2017 event attracted more than 7000 visitors who generated $2.69 million in direct spend to the local economy.
North East Tourism industry development manager Sarah Pilgrim said the 17-day program comprised 50-plus bespoke events that allowed visitors to sample produce and meet producers.
She said Lucy Liu Kitchen and Bar and Taxi Kitchen’s collaboration with Bogong Horseback Adventures on May 5 was a program highlight.
“The chefs are coming to do a meal up there using produce out of the garden,” she said.
“They will take turns behind the pans and out mingling with guests.”
Ms Pilgrim said sustainability was a key theme for the festival this year.
She said Yackandandah Organics and Saint Monday would team up for a farm ramble and feast on May 5.
“Saint Monday will offer a plant-based meal using produce from the garden with matched wines,” she said.
Ms Pilgrim said MoVida chefs would again source North East produce for dinners in the North East and Melbourne on dates late in the program yet to be announced.
The High Country Harvest website and ticket sales went live on Thursday.