All about the local produce
Picture: Supplied

Alastair McLeod reckons he gets the best seat in the house for the entire three days of the Good Food & Wine Show.

The entertaining Northern Ireland-born and Brisbane-based chef has a quick wit and ready line of patter, both of which will help in his role of MC as celebrity chefs rotate through the Seven West Good Food Theatre presented by Ilve, from mid-morning until evening.

"It's a wonderful experience both for me and the people who attend the show," McLeod said.

"I get to catch up with my pals, I get to meet some new pals and I get to see a sort of 'state of the union' in watching where some of our finest cooks are at.

"Cooks are driven not by remuneration - they're driven by a zeal, a passion, a fervour for cooking. People like Matt Moran, Matt Stone

. . . they really want to share what they know."

The 44-year-old McLeod is a regular on TV shows such as Channel 10's The Living Room, Ready Steady Cook and television lifestyle programs and radio in Queensland where he moved in 1996.

McLeod has given up his restaurant and now runs a catering business, Al'FreshCo, and cooks at a farmers' market in Brisbane.

Cooking in a restaurant usually means excessively long hours and certain repetitiveness, he says.

"When you're cooking as a caterer you can respond instantly to what the market's got," he said. "I find that really appealing.

"It's reignited my interest. You get to rub shoulders with the real stars of the show and that's not the chefs, that's the primary producers.

"It resonates with me and there seems to be an alignment with how we want to cook and what our customers want. The biggest thing they want to know is where it comes from.

"It's a real bellwether - a real sign of the times of where the food journey is at, and the Good Food & Wine Show is really an extension of that insatiable interest people have."

McLeod is passionate about supporting local producers.

"I think there's real value to all cooks - professional or amateur - in knowing where their product comes from and not just accepting what's available in the large chains," he said.

"A survey estimated that the average shopping trolley of 29 items had done 70,000km to get into our shopping trolley.

"That's appalling. We're shopping wrong. There's a disconnect between our shopping and where it's coming from."

McLeod will get a chance to see where WA's produce comes from after the show.

He's taking some time to explore some of the South West (and Rottnest) with his partner.

The West Australian

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