24°C Partly Cloudy



If an outdoor concert isn’t on your bucket list you need to add it now! The Hunter Valley is the favourite destination for many of the world’s best known performers… Springsteen, Sting, The Eagles, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Cold Chisel… need we go on? They’re all lured by the stunning vineyard backdrop, great wines and country hospitality.

Then there are the wine and food festivals, including the Hunter Valley Wine & Food Festival held each May and June, and regional music and film festivals.  Whatever your party vibe, we’ve got an event so suit.

To find out What’s On this year, click below.

Narrow my search

Hunter Culinary Association Food Fight

At Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley 430 Wine Country Drive Lovedale , NSW 2325

Start your journey with us...

On Monday 18th June

Cost: $220 per person. Bookings Essential.



Four of Australia’s most respected chefs will step into the spotlight for the ninth annual Hunter Culinary Association (HCA) Food Fight in a hotly-­contested battle to create the best and most popular new twist on a classic dish.

The annual Food Fight is the signature event organised by the (HCA) and is a highly-­anticipated occasion on the Hunter’s culinary calendar.

This year’s clash promises to be as thrilling as ever, with the chefs going head to head working their magic and creating a unique take on classic dishes that have stood the test of time. Each chef will prepare one lunch course – their own interpretation of a classic dish or flavour combination. Every course will be matched with a Hunter Valley Wine, and guests will vote for the dish they preferred at the conclusion of lunch.

The chefs are; Joel Bickford (Aria) Mitch Orr (ACME) Frank Fawkner (EXP Restaurant) Hamish Watt (Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley)

HCA Deputy Chair Lisa Margan says this year’s chef challenge sets the scene for a meal of gastronomic delights. ‘So much of our modern cuisine stems from the classics – the tried and true dishes people love year after year and pass down through families and generations,’ Ms Margan said.

‘The Hunter Valley is the birthplace of the Australian wine industry so it’s the perfect setting for a contest that marries the old and the new. And when we have four chefs of this calibre given free rein to put their individual stamps on dishes like these, you know the results will be incredible. Combined with the use of fresh, locally source ingredients and delicious Hunter Valley wines, it’s a winning formula that will see guests enjoy an unforgettable culinary experience.’

In addition to being an incredible gastronomic experience, the Food Fight event also raises money for the Brett Graham Scholarship through a charity auction. The scholarship program is one of several offered by HCA and helps support the region’s young chefs by offering them the opportunity to work with Brett Graham at his acclaimed London Michelin starred restaurant, The Ledbury.

HCA Chairman Gus Maher says the Food Fight has allowed the scholarship to grow from covering just the cost of a recipient’s flight to an additional $10,000 prize, which can make a huge difference to a young chef’s career development.

Date: Monday 18 June 2018
Time: 11am
Location: Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, Pokolbin.
Cost: $175 for HCA members, $220 for non-­‐members and $90 for apprentice chefs
Bookings: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
More info: www.hunterculinary.com.au

Joel Bickford, head chef, Aria
Joel moved to Sydney from the Blue Mountains where he grew up to pursue his passion for cooking. He trained under and worked with chefs such as Stefano Manfredi, James Viles, Anthony Mussara and Sean Connelly, who each gave him a broad skillset and appreciation for different food styles and philosophies. He has worked at no less than eight hatted restaurants, including The Gantry, Bel Mondo, Eschalot and Biota.

Mitch Orr, executive chef and owner, ACME
The 2010 Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year Award winner has spent time in the world's best kitchens, including the likes of Sepia, Osteria Francescana, Duke Bistro and a pop up at London's Michelin Star restaurant, Lyle's. Mitch is a part-­‐owner of ACME, which opened in 2015. Mitch is also one half of The Mitchen, a Sydney food podcast he records with Andrew Levins.

Frank Fawkner, executive chef and owner, EXP Restaurant
Frank’s cooking career began at Mount Broke Wines in a simple café, followed by three years as part of the opening team at Crown Plaza Hunter Valley. His hunger for international experience saw him move to London where he worked for Tom Aikens, climbing to the ranks of sous chef at Tom’s Kitchen. Many know him from his time as head chef at the Hunter’s famous Muse Restaurant when it gained its two-­‐hat status. Frank opened EXP in 2015.

Hamish Watt, executive chef, Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley
Beginning as an apprentice at Rockpool under Neil Perry, Hamish’s career has seen him spend 10 years in London, where he honed his craft and love of cooking at various restaurants and kitchens, including Pissarro’s on the Thames and Kensington Place. On his homecoming, Hamish took up the executive chef role at the Botanical Garden Restaurant in Sydney, after which he opened a restaurant in Surry Hills before a tree change drew him to the Hunter Valley where he is now executive chef at
the Crowne Plaza.

Established in 2006, the Hunter Culinary Association is a not for profit association guided by a group of industry professionals who volunteer their time to support and promote the region and give back to the industry they are so passionate about.

As a region, the Hunter offers a culinary destination with diverse and abundant dining experiences ranging from quality cafes to two-­‐hatted restaurants, which proudly showcase passionate and talented industry professionals, regionally sourced produce and award­‐winning wines from some of its highly­‐regarded wineries.

The Hunter Culinary Association continues to grow and establish new opportunities for its members, fostering the region’s talent through initiatives including the Brett Graham Scholarship, the First Creek Front of House Scholarship, the Hunter Culinary Association Apprentice Scholarship, the Encouragement Awards, FOH Workshops and produce tours.

It works together with key stakeholders to guide and empower the young talent of the region and assist them in developing their culinary skills through mentoring and guidance. As part of its philosophy of giving back, the HCA is also committed to giving $10,000 annually to Oz Harvest.

2018-06-18 00:00:00
0000-00-00 10:00:00