Festival Cairns Regional Food Showcase

festival-cairns-portrait-version_-on-black-background-web1Masterchef Gary Mehigan in Cairns

Gary Mehigan was a Master of his Class when he starred at the Festival Cairns Regional Food Showcase last Saturday to a packed audience at the Farmgate Market at The Pier.



An early morning stroll around the markets with his diminutive but mighty head chef Tracey Robertson from his restaurant Fenix, Gary gathered a basket of local ingredients for his two cooking demonstrations.

Seats were filled an hour before each demonstrations and the crowd swelled to fill the centre when Gary took to the stage. People were highly entertained by M.C. Tammy Barker and with Gary’s wit, culinary expertise and all the inside gossip on Australia’s most watch television show; MasterChef.

He finished with a poinant message about using regional and local produce even though it sometimes may cost a few cents more, had benefits that reached across the whole community.

On the way to Palm Cove that afternoon Gary and Tracey stopped off at St. Andrew’s Catholic College in Redlynch to visit hospitality students cooking for a school function.  It’s not every day a Masterchef drops in to their kitchen!

Glorious weather on Sunday for the Taste of Palm Cove set the perfect scene for The Sebel Reef House and Stoneleigh Wines ‘Chef’s of the Reef’ luncheon.  (So popular was Gary that the luncheon sold out within 4 hours of opening the ticket box).  Here Gary and Tracey with the help of chef Philip Mitchell and his kitchen brigade, whipped up a stunning menu with platters of local foods cooked in Gary’s style that had a hint of Tropics meets Morocco flavours. 

A cool ceviche of reef fish,agrodolce of sweet potato and fingerlimes with chilli, coconut vinegar and coco cream was followed by a bastilla of duck with olives Mungalli dairy labneh, tangy sumac, coriander and pinenuts. More local seafood arrived with avocado and poached green prawns, blue swimmer crab, a honey mustard dressing and baby basil cress keep the guests very happy. 

The colours of the main course were outstanding on the plate with the aged sirloin that had been slowly cooking since the previous day and presented with its rich shallot jus, deep red of the beetroot and golden colour of pumpkin puree.  Flavours a sensation!  This was accompanied by more colourful persimmon, fennel and pomelo salad with Vanella bufalino mozzarella.  

The dessert was a simple tasty buttercake with roasted pineapple, salty caramel and coconut ice-cream for a perfect finish to the meal.

Whilst in Palm Cove, Gary took time out to stroll down Williams Esplanade, say “Hello” to passers by and to visit some of other restaurants involved in the Taste of Palm Cove, that were busy preparing their special menu.

Aside from his culinary talents, thoroughout the whole weekend, Gary’s affable personality and his fabulous connection with children made him a star where every he went.

Thank you Gary and Tracey for a wonderful Regional Food Showcase.


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