A lunch like no other – putting Victoria on the global menu as a food and wine destination

The longest lunch on Friday 16 March

Forget the sandwich ‘al desko’. This was a weekday lunch to remember.

On Friday 16 March, the World’s Longest Lunch – held annually in Melbourne since 1992 and now attracting some 1700 guests – marked the start of the globally-recognised Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF), an iconic event supported by Visit Victoria.

Melbourne holds the naming rights for the World’s Longest Lunch and this year, for the first time, it was held out of the city on Footscray’s riverfront.

With a multicultural theme embracing Italian, Indian, Vietnamese and Cambodian flavours, the menu was created by three of Melbourne’s hottest chefs: Adam D’Sylva, Kay-Lene Tan (both Tonka and Coda) and Jerry Mai (Annam, Pho Nom).

And to drink? Wines sourced from Tahbilk, a fifth-generation family-owned winery established in 1860 in Nagambie on the Goulburn River, did the job very nicely.

Regional Victoria also delivered, with 20 simultaneous World’s Longest Lunches held across the state, from as far afield as Port Fairy, Newlyn and Echuca.

The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF) runs until 25 March.

Video transcript

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival World’s Longest Lunch

[Vision:  People enjoying The World’s Longest Lunch – view of the very long table – waiters serving wine]

Georgina Jerums – The Victorian Connection
Hi, I’m Georgina Jerums from The Victorian Connection and I’m really excited to be down on the banks of the Maribyrnong River for the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s showcase event, The World’s Longest Lunch. This year the lunch is being staged outside the city for the first time to celebrated community and culture diversity, and what better place to do that than in Melbourne’s West.

[Vision:  Time lapse view of long table and guests arriving – Man playing Kora and singing – People at table toasting]

Jane Brook – Executive Director, Melbourne Food & Wine Festival
[Vision:  Asian lady taking photo of the event – Plated food]
I think the west offers such a diverse opportunity for people to celebrate multicultural Victoria and enjoy some amazing food.
[Vision:  People enjoying the lunch at the table]
And the West has turned on such a treat for us today.
[Vision:  People at table chatting]

Man with dark hair and sunglasses
I was born and raised in India so, you know, if you go to a wedding you’d probably end up with maybe a thousand people. So this is like, you know, like being in a wedding, yes.
[Vision:  People enjoying the lunch – food being served]
And we’re celebrating food so it’s fantastic.

Adam D’Sylva – Co-Owner, Executive Chef – Tonka and Coda restaurant
All the food I cook is very multicultural.
Me being half Italian, half Indian, that’s a melting pot.
[Vision:  Time lapse of people at table and a lion dance being performed]
And you know, being an Australian also so you can call it even modern Australian, modern Asian, it’s a bit of everything.

[Lady with dark hair wearing a Bank of Melbourne hat]
This is incredible.
[Vision:  People chatting and lion dance being performed – glass being filled with wine]
It’s quite amazing just to see 1800 people all lined up on the river here, it’s amazing.
[Vision:  Performers entertaining luncheon guests – photographer taking photo of Adam D’Sylva and waitresses]

[Vision:  Adam D’Sylva speaking]
Today at The World’s Longest Lunch I’m doing the main course.
[Vision:  Waiter serving duck curry to guests]
My roasted yellow duck curry is a Thai-inspired curry sauce.
[Vision:  Adam D’Sylva speaking – duck dinner]
It’s got a bit of sweetness, heat, saltiness.
[Vision:  Chef’s serving meals – wait staff serving meals]
And then we have this beautiful duck which has been braised in coconut so it has a nice mahogany skin on it, we use the very talented Peter Rowland Catering, and lots of hands, so lots of chefs on board.

Matthew Haigh – Executive Chef, Peter Rowland Group
Today we’ve got about 160 staff on site.
[Vision:  Staff serving meals]
We start planning for this couple of months down the track.
And we work closely with the chefs then we build the menus and then we start the prep.
So we’ve been working for the last couple of days on the prep.

[Vision:  Matthew Haigh speaking]
It’s all about Victorian produce.
[Vision:  Dinner plates waiting to be served to guests]
We’re really looking at harnessing what Victoria’s got to offer and put it on a plate.

[Vision:  Entertainer singing]
Lady speaking
I love the experience and the food and the environment, so nice.
I think I will come next year.
[Vision:  Guests at table chatting and enjoying lunch]
[Vision:  Man with dark hair and sunglasses]
Yeah, it can’t get any better than this.
Oh, it’s a perfect day, perfect weather, you can’t ask for anything more.
[Vision:  People taking selfie and enjoying the luncheon]

[Vision:  Georgina Jerums speaking]
The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is on until the 25th of March.
There are 200 events happening right across the state. So there’s definitely something for everybody’s taste, so come along and enjoy it. It’s going to be lots of fun.

[Vision:  Guests enjoying the luncheon] [VICTORIA State Government]
[Speaker:  Authorised by Victorian Government, 1 Treasury Place, Melbourne]