Simon says it s great
Simon Johnson is a big supporter of Taste festivals.

Taste of Perth might be a first for WA but exhibitors who have previously taken part in the Sydney and Melbourne events have already given a big thumbs up to the event.

Simon Johnson, the New Zealand-born chef behind the gourmet stores of the same name, is an enthusiastic supporter.

"We've been doing these festivals for many years and we love doing them," he said.

Mr Johnson expects a similarly good festival in Perth, where his Subiaco store is doing "extremely well". It features what is claimed to be WA's only walk-in fromagerie, or cheese shop.

Unlike their French counterparts, Australian cheesemakers are forbidden from using raw milk to make their products but Mr Johnson promises some of the cheeses available at Taste of Perth will taste as close as possible. They will include cheeses selected for Taste of Perth by cheese specialist Will Studd.

Custard & Co (Stand H7) is another Taste supporter, having attended previous festivals, including Taste of Sydney.

"I love the Taste festivals," said Ian Rayner, who runs the Donnybrook cider company with his wife, Meg.

"Taste is voted number one foodies' festival in Australia and there are some really good stands of local companies."

Mr Rayner grew up in Somerset ("cider's like a religion back there"). He and his wife brew cider the old-fashioned (and biodynamic) labour-intensive way on 14ha of land they bought three and a half years ago. The secret to interesting cider, he said, was wild yeast fermentation.

Honey, I'm Home (Stand B5) is making its festival debut at Taste of Perth but it's a natural extension for Blaine Campbell's business.

Looking to kickstart her Beechboro garden, she was told in 2011 she needed a beehive. After research, she informed husband Tristan: "We're going to be beekeepers."

What began as a single hive has grown to 14 hives in the Perth Hills.

Last year, Ms Campbell ramped up the number of hives and searched for new markets. "Top of our list was an awesome food festival," she said.

An exciting mixture of Middle Eastern and Moroccan foods will be provided by Riki Kaspi (Stand J3). The former actress was born in Israel to Turkish parents and had Moroccan relatives in her extended family.

After she and husband Heni migrated to WA 17 years ago, she followed her passion for food and switched occupations to chef, and eventually opened her own restaurant in Northbridge.

When it closed, she promised customers they would still be able to get her food which she now sells through her Riki Kaspi Moroccan Spice Journey product range.

She'll also be promoting the cooking school she runs.

Visit Simon Johnson at Stand C1.

The West Australian

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