The Good Food & Wine Show rolls into town next week, once again creating a little bit of heaven on earth for foodies. First staged in 2008, the event has become bigger and better each year and attendance is set to top that at the event in Melbourne.
Claire Back, exhibition director at Diversified Communications which runs the Good Food & Wine Show in four Australian cities, said almost 29,000 people attended the Melbourne show in June.
"We're hoping for in excess of 30,000 in Perth this year," Ms Back said.
"It will be the largest show we've ever run here. Perth is our fastest-growing and highest-spending show - it's just gone from strength to strength each year."
This year's event, at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre from Friday, July 11, until Sunday, July 13, will showcase more than 250 exhibitors, including many from interstate. Not only will some of the best WA food and drink produce be available for sampling, the latest in kitchen appliances will be on display too. There will be a strong presence of winemakers from interstate, plus masterclasses in wine and cheese and cooking classes in making Italian pasta sauce and Adriano Zumbo's "zumbarons".
"People stay up to six hours these days, not just a couple of hours," Ms Back said.
"And they don't just want to observe what's going on in the kitchen. They want to get their hands dirty and get involved in chocolate making and macaron making and pasta sauce making."
But the biggest drawcard, she said, remained the celebrity chefs and this year's line-ups contains some of Australia's favourites - Maggie Beer, Matt Moran, Antonio Carluccio, Adriano Zumbo and WA's very own Matt Stone - formerly of Margaret River and now of Sydney.
Visitors can watch these chefs cooking up a storm for free in the Seven West Good Food Theatre presented by Ilve. For $55 extra, they can join the Lifestyle FOOD Chef's Table and partake in a three-course meal the chefs are cooking while they watch.
And to clean up the mess, Enjo (celebrating its 20th anniversary this year) will be on hand with its green cleaning products, as well as handing out giveaways.
This year's show also includes new features such as WA Artisan Lane and the Cheeky Monkey Grazing Garden featuring WA niche suppliers and some of Perth's best food trucks respectively, as well as IGA Locals Lane.
The importance of local produce has been reinforced in feedback from the public.
And besides the restaurateurs-cum- chefs, Sammy and Bella, the sisters who won the second series of My Kitchen Rules, will demonstrate at a pre-show breakfast on Saturday how to prepare a Sardinian specialty, seadas - a delicious sweet and savoury breakfast pastry.
Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi described the show as a wonderful event which brought world-class food and wine and top chefs to the city.
"WA has a fantastic food culture and is home to some of Australia's greatest produce," the Lord Mayor said.
"So I'm really excited to see a number of new additions at this year's show, including the WA Artisan Lane."
She said the Perth CBD was enjoying a period of growth and expansion and dining and restaurants were playing a huge part.
"I'm really excited to see the show back again this year to continue Perth's love affair with food and wine," Mayor Scaffidi said.
While Perth people love their food and wine, the chefs love Perth.
George Calombaris, who took a break last year from the show, says he is excited to be back. Indeed, the busy chef-cum-restaurateur told Fresh that he had asked to be involved in the Perth show rather than the more convenient one in his hometown of Melbourne, which took place four weeks ago.
"I love what's happening with the whole food scene in Perth," Calombaris said.
"I love the Perth people, I love their passion for food, I love the produce and it's a good excuse for me to get over there and eat at some of the great restaurants that Perth has to offer.
"There are some absolutely inspiring chefs there like Hadleigh Troy, whose restaurant Amuse is in my top 10 restaurants."
Calombaris said his show would comprise examples of who he was and where he was headed with his cooking by demonstrating the different styles served at his various Melbourne restaurants. These range from the innovative fare at the ground-breaking Press Club to classic Greek taverna food served and "healthy fast food" from his new eateries, Jimmy Grants.
"It's my interpretation of a souvlaki bar - fast food but done fast and healthy," Calombaris said.
There are three Jimmy Grants in Melbourne so far and another two are imminent. "Jimmy Grants is one I'd definitely like to take to a lot of places and Perth is one I would love to put one," Calombaris said.
George Calombaris appears at the Seven West Good Food Theatre presented by Ilve at 10.30am and 4.30pm on Saturday, July 12.
For tickets go to www.goodfoodshow.com.au/perth or call 1300 111 369