Foodie Heaven at Sample Food Festival 2018!

It was a perfect spring day as the Bangalow Showgrounds transformed into foodie heaven on Saturday 1st September for the 16,000 + attendees of Sample Food Festival 2018. This was the eighth year the event has been held and is the area’s largest celebration of local food and beverages, featuring 27 restaurants from all corners of our region and pop up bars by Husk DistillersBrookie’s GinStone & WoodByron Bay Wild Cider and The Cellar.

Renowned Chefs Shannon Bennett (Vue de monde) and Zeb Gilbert (Wasabi) along withSophie Davies and Justin Bergman from Le Cordon Bleu Australia had the hard job of selecting the stand out tasting plates of the day for the Annual Golden Fork Awards.Harvest were named the $10 Tasting Plate Winners, wowing the judges with their smoked jerusalem artichoke, native curry, macadamias. Shoza Gyoza were the $5 Tasting Plate Winners, with their popular Bangalow Pork Gyoza earning them the title.

The cooking stages showcased some of our regions most talented Chefs and up-and-comers. The crowd got to learn a few tricks of the trade, get tips on how to reduce food waste and sample some of the Chef’s creations throughout the day.

The Celebrity Chef Mystery Box Challenges were a hit including Chef Zeb Gilbert going head to head with Chef Luca Ciano with the help of North Coast TAFE apprentices. Zeb Gilbert and North Coast TAFE apprentice Chefs, Ben Layton and Christine Stephens won their round, plating up two delicious dishes; prawns and chorizo with a crunchy cucumber and tomato salad and a seared thai-spiced kangaroo fillet.

The live demonstration highlights included Michelle Wright, Executive Chef from the Bangalow Dining Room cooking her Cherry Bomb dessert and CHUPACABRA’s Evan White taking the crowd through his ceviche & slow cooked Bangalow Sweet Pork cochinita, handmade corn tortilla and sauces.

Team Lismore won the popular Northern Rivers Food My Mayor Rules cook-off on the Bangalow Sweet Pork Cooking Stage. Congratulations to Chef Richard Kerr from The Loft and Lismore’s Mayor Isaac Smith!

The sun continued to shine throughout the day as visitors enjoyed browsing the 70 + market stalls exhibiting the wares of local creatives, sampling some of our region’s most loved products and speaking directly to the passionate individuals behind them.

The Australian Macadamias Annual #Instameet was buzzing with Chefs, instagrammers and avid photographers taking pictures of the beautiful display of local macadamia products. Congratulations to Fiona Grose who took out the $1000 prize for the best macadamia inspired pic as part of Australian Macadamias photo competition!

It was great to see so many families enjoying the day and kids getting into the festival spirit, dancing along with local children’s performer Bop with Bonzo and getting close to nature at the Macadamia Castle’s Animal Shows and Eden at Byron Kids Gardening Corner.

The Bangalow Chamber of Commerce and local Lions Club were fundraising at the festival and raised $5610.00 towards their Drought Campaign Bangalow Adopts Bingara.

Every cent will go to the cost of slashing and baling hay for stock feed.

They are aiming to raise over $40,000 over the coming month so check out their Facebook Page to see where you can donate and their amazing contribution so far.


Visit our Sample website blog for some great articles produced by students of the Le Cordon Bleu Eat Your Words workshop with Justin Bergman. The workshop on food and wine writing was held at the Byron at Byron as part of Sample Food Festival 2018.



The 2019 Sample Food Festival will be held on Saturday 7th September!

Thank you to our festival sponsors, supporters and everyone who attended, we can’t wait to do it all again!

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