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Coogee Set To Taste Festival Success

By Marcus Braid on September 10, 2014 in News

Photo: BJ McHatton

Photo: BJ McHatton

The Taste of Coogee Festival is on track to scale new heights following its highly successful debut last year.

Taking place on Sunday, September 21, event manager Bernadette Summers is eyeing future expansion of the event in the ilk of the Manly Food and Wine Festival.

“Eventually we’d like to have something over a whole weekend, but it’s slowly, slowly at the moment,” Ms Summers said.

“That’s in the future, but at the moment it’s growing into an amazing event for the area and it showcases the beautiful restaurants and what an amazing location it is.

Last year’s inaugural Taste of Coogee was affected by Randwick Council’s delayed decision in giving the go-ahead for the event. Despite the initial setback, the festival still attracted 15,000 people and it is set for a larger attendance this time around.

“It was so successful first time around and we’ve had an overwhelming response from the local restaurants,” Ms Summers said.

“Now we’ve got the majority if not all of the restaurants in Coogee coming on board to have a stall. We’ve also got a demonstration kitchen, so their chefs are bringing their signature dishes along with them.”

The consumption of alcohol has proven a contentious issue at Coogee’s parks and reserves, and while Randwick Council resolved in February to ban all alcohol from parks permanently, the decision was overturned 16 days later. While this was a blessing for festival organisers, by no means will it be a free-for-all.

“We’ve got strict licensing for the day,” Ms Summers said. “There’s an educated audience in Coogee that enjoys a glass of wine and some food, and can do so without causing trouble. That’s the audience we want to attract to the event.

“In the past, Coogee has had a stigma of alcohol-related issues. That’s in the past. The hoteliers down there have done a really good job in creating a safe environment for everybody to enjoy. That’s why we want people to come down to Coogee over the warmer months.”

Ms Summers linked the burgeoning success of the event to the ideal location at Coogee.

“It’s a really fitting location,” she said. “It’s easy to get to because it has got so much transport. That’s what we’re going to rely on heavily, people using public transport.

“Obviously a lot of people are going to be wine tasting and it could put them over the limit. We certainly want everyone to be safe. The event is for people to come down to and bring a picnic blanket, enjoy some good food, good wine and entertainment.”

The Coogee Bay Hotel is on board as the primary sponsor of the day, with Cumulus Wines the main wine sponsor. A raft of entertainment options are lined up, including food sampling, cooking demonstrations, live entertainment, rides for the kids, food tours and an arts and crafts market.

“We’re going to have an afternoon full of entertainment across a whole lot of genres, right through from jazz to children’s entertainment and a band that is pretty well known,” Ms Summers said.

“It’s an amazing event because it has brought the businesses in Coogee together with one goal, and that’s to remind people in the area and also from greater Sydney to come down and enjoy a weekend at Coogee. Coming into the warmer months, why not have a summer break at Coogee Beach?”

The publicity gained from last year’s event has ensured a wider variety of restaurants and bars will take part in the day, including stalls from Barzura, Le Cupcake Lounge, and Sauce Bar and Grill, among others.

“This year is bigger straight away because there’s a lot more of a time frame that people have been given to get organised,” Ms Summers said.

“On the back of that, the local restaurants that sat back and said ‘hang on, we don’t know if this is even going to happen’ saw that it was an amazing event last year, and have come on board.”

The 2014 Taste of Coogee festival takes place from 9am to 6pm on Sunday, September 21at Goldstein Reserve, with $15 covering a tasting cup, wristband and four drink tokens. For more information, go to www.tasteofcoogee.com.au.

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