Celebrity chef Ben O'Donoghue preparing a pork rillette dish for the Chef's Table event on Friday.
Celebrity chef Ben O'Donoghue preparing a pork rillette dish for the Chef's Table event on Friday. Contributed

Wining and dining country style

CELEBRITY chef Ben O'Donoghue is considering using Western Downs produce in his restaurants after a gourmet lunch in Dalby last week.

More than 120 people attended the Chef's Table on Friday for the five-course gourmet dining experience presented by TSBE Food Leaders Australia.

TSBE CEO Ali Davenport said the purpose of the event was to showcase the region by incorporating local product into the meals.

"Our local food is such high quality and it was brilliant to be able to showcase it to people from outside the region,” MsDavenport said.

"Celebrity chef Ben O'Donoghue was the one who arranged the menu and cooked the food and he was just so impressed with the beautiful food.

"It was the highlight of the day, this delicious food in huge servings prepared by a celebrity chef who just loved it and he now realises just how important our region is and how incredible our produce is.”

The produce used in the menu included Murray cod from the Condabilla Fish Farm in Chinchilla, pork from the SunPork piggery near Warra, local chickpeas and AACo beef from Mitchell.

Courier Mail wine critic Des Houghton also matched a wine with each meal.

Ms Davenport said the local ingredients left a lasting impression on the chefs cooking the meals.

"The best comments came from Ben, he just couldn't believe how fresh and how delicious the food was,” MsDavenport said.

"He particularly loved the Murray cod from Condabilla Fish Farm and I think he's looking at potentially putting that into his restaurants down in Brisbane.”

Another chef who was involved on the day has also made inquiries about using local produce in his catering company.

Many of the attendees at the Chef's Table were from outside the region, which is part of what made the event so successful.

"I think it's important to hold these events because people in the region get it, we get what our food tastes like, we know it's fresh and delicious,” Ms Davenport said.

"People from outside the region don't always know just how diverse our economy is, they don't know how special it is to live and work and play in our region.

"When they get to see an event such as this, that was done so beautifully and professionally, and we hear feedback from the people that were there and the sponsors, it just goes to show that we're a special region and we need to show ourselves off as much as we possibly can.”

Mrs Davenport said the event was a success and she had already received expressions of interest for next year, which she believes will be a sell out.

TSBE Food Leaders Australia focuses on food and agriculture in the Toowoomba and Surat Basin region, helping local producers to export their products, innovate and connect with other markets.