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Tuesday 14 May 2024

Culinary stars align to lift spirits in Far North Queensland

A very popular food festival in Far North Queensland (FNQ), Taste Port Douglas, will return to the tropics from August 8-11 for its eighth year.

Some of my all-time favourite chefs are among the line-up this time around with organisers predicting this year's festival is set to the biggest and best yet, with dining experiences spanning across both its home of Port Douglas and, for the first time, Cairns.

Following a turbulent start to the year, weathering Tropical Cyclone Jasper, Taste Port Douglas’ co-founders Reina and Spencer Patrick are excited to bring the area back to life, welcoming an all-star line-up of some of the nation’s top culinary talent. 

Chefs involved include the great Mark Best (ex Marque in Sydney, my one-time special occasion favourite); Colin Fassnidge, who I first met when he was cooking fresh off the plane at Le Grande Bouffe in Rozelle in 2004, working in a hole-in-the-wall kitchen, and Massimo Mele (top image), who has created Peppina, the tremendous Italian-accented eatery in Hobart's The Tasman hotel.

Other standouts include local hero Nick Holloway from perennial favourite Nu Nu, and Victorians Ian Curley, Adam D'Sylva and Raymond Capaldi, all of whom will escape the Victorian winter to show off their talents, along with several TV cheffie types including Manu Feildel.

On the menu this year will be a smorgasbord of events, masterclasses and tropical parties, backdropped by the reefs and rainforests of the tropics.

Local eateries will welcome a series of chef-led events, including the long seaside luncheons, ‘A Night of Fire’ at Flames of the Forest (above), and several new events.

There will be a total of 25 events taking place over the four-day weekend.

Following a turbulent start to the year, weathering Tropical Cyclone Jasper, Taste Port Douglas’ co-founders Reina and Spencer Patrick say they are excited to bring the area back under a positive spotlight.

“This year's Taste Port Douglas will be a culinary celebration like no other, with a spectacular line-up of events and masterclasses hosted by some of the best talent in the country," says Spencer Patrick.

"Following the cyclone in December it’s been a tricky start to the year for the local community and businesses, and we’re now excited to see the festival bring FNQ back to life, welcoming both interstate and international guests to feast with us once again.

“We hosted more than 10,000 visitors at Taste Port Douglas last year, many of whom travelled from overseas to feast with us, and this year we anticipate an even bigger crowd with bringing our capital city into the action.”

Tickets ware on sale now at, where you can also see the full festival program.

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