Port Stephens chefs centre stage of 2017 Tastes at the Bay festival

Chefs Ludovic Poyer (The Poyer’s), Ben Way (Little Beach Boathouse) and Matt Keyes (Little Nel Cafe) in the kitchen together during the 2017 Love Seafood festival. Picture: Supplied
Chefs Ludovic Poyer (The Poyer’s), Ben Way (Little Beach Boathouse) and Matt Keyes (Little Nel Cafe) in the kitchen together during the 2017 Love Seafood festival. Picture: Supplied

Showcasing the food being produced in Port Stephens and the people behind it will be a major focus of Tastes at the Bay this year, organisers have said.

Peter Clough from Tomaree Business Chamber, the group behind the Nelson Bay food, wine and jazz festival, said the focus this year is on “local chefs, showcasing local signature dishes and local restaurants”.

“A key objective of the festival is to lift the profile of Nelson Bay as a restaurant and cafe destination,” he said.

“We want to make locals and visitors to Nelson Bay aware we have some fantastic restaurants and cafes in the area.”

Little Beach Boathouse chef Ben Way doing a cooking demonstration during the Love Seafood festival. Picture: Supplied

Little Beach Boathouse chef Ben Way doing a cooking demonstration during the Love Seafood festival. Picture: Supplied

To achieve this, a number of Port chefs have been recruited to cook some of their signature dishes and show off their skills in the demonstration marquee.

The marquee, complete with a commercial kitchen, will be set up in Apex Park on Saturday, November 4 and Sunday, November 5.

Ludovic Poyer of The Poyer’s at Lemon Tree Passage, Ben Way from Little Beach Boathouse, Matt Keyes from Little Nel Cafe plus Allesandro Carbonaro from Sienna’s Pizzeria Bar and Restaurant are among the chefs that will be providing cooking demonstrations, Mr Clough said.

Sienna's restaurateur Marcella Hill and chef Alessandro Carbonaro. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

Sienna's restaurateur Marcella Hill and chef Alessandro Carbonaro. Picture: Ellie-Marie Watts

It will not be the first time this year that Mr Poyer, Mr Way and Mr Keyes have traded their restaurant kitchens for a pop-up one in Nelson Bay.

The three chefs also cooked and provided demonstrations during the Love Seafood festival in August.

There will be a number of other cooking demonstrations held in the marquee during the weekend, including cheesemaking and cake decorating.

Kate Ross, owner of the Newcastle-based With Miss Kate, will provide the cheesemaking demonstrations.

Kate Ross from the Newcastle-based With Miss Kate.

Kate Ross from the Newcastle-based With Miss Kate.

Mr Clough said the cooking demonstration marquee was a “huge success” at last year’s festival, and expected the same this year.

“Not only is it fun to watch these chefs and food lovers but it’s also educational,” Mr Clough said.

“They talk and tell you what they’re doing. Apart from the fun and theatre of them demonstrating, it’s an educational experience.”

Tastes at the Bay will kick off with a winemakers dinner at Nelson Bay Golf Club on Friday, November 5.

Spots are still available for the festival’s jazz luncheon cruise aboard Moonshadow IV.

The cruise will depart d’Albora Marina at noon on Saturday, November 4. Tickets, available from portstephens.org.au, cost $79 per person.

The demonstration marquee in Apex Park is free to enter, and will be open 9.30am to 4.30pm on November 4 and 5.

Jazz bands The Fruit Trees, New Orleans Quartet, and Dr Don’s Doubledose will provide entertainment in Nelson Bay across the weekend.

There will also be food and wine stalls set up in the Bay, face painting, craft beer from Murray’s Brewery, fresh Port Stephens seafood, street entertainment and oyster shucking.