The plate outdoors

Tours cover fertile ground as the Crave food festival continues, writes Sandra Siagian.

South-west’s best

Victor Pisapia’s food philosophy is simple: cook with local produce whenever possible. The chef and founder of VictorsFood, a company in Waterloo that runs cooking classes, training and food tours, says it is the main message behind his business.

On his Regional Flavours tour during the Crave festival, Pisapia looks at the best produce south-west Sydney has to offer. He shares his favourite market spots around Leppington and includes trips to Campisi Fine Food & Deli, Bringelly Pork and Bacon smokehouse, Australian Mushroom Company and Leppington fig farm.

Along the way there are cooking demonstrations, taste tests and an opportunity to meet growers. Pisapia describes the tour as ”farm to plate”. At the lunch stop, he cooks fruit, vegetables and pork collected earlier in the day. It could be fig salad, mushroom risotto, blue corn crepes or steamed tamales. There’s also wine tasting.

The tour departs and returns to Danks Street, Waterloo. Saturday, $165, 1300 206 163.

Weed and wonderful

Artist Diego Bonetto is a forager for edible weeds. The amateur botanist, who credits his knowledge from life experience and his childhood in Italy looking for wild produce, seeks out edible plants growing along the banks of the Cooks River in Marrickville, on his Foraging in the City tour.

Native plants listed in the local government’s riverbank revegetation scheme are off limits but it’s fair game for the other 40-or-so weed species spanning 500 metres on both sides of the river.

Bonetto will show where to look and how to identify different types. He will also share the medicinal benefits of weeds such as dandelion, chickweed and shepherd’s purse and let participants taste them.

He will give tips about how you can prepare and eat them, too.

Bonetto says weeds are not a substitute for regular meals but an option to add flavour and expand the culinary palate.

Foraging in the City with Diego Bonetto, $80, runs every Saturday through October, from 10am to noon, 0411 293 178.

Bush tucker

Learn about the different uses for indigenous plants and the heritage of artefacts on a walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.

The resident Aboriginal education officer, Clarence Slockee, will lead the Bush Tucker Tour and highlight the potential benefits and dangers of consuming certain native flora and fauna.

The tour’s cost includes lunch in the Botanic Gardens restaurant – barramundi topped with yam and mint, followed by lemon myrtle brulee and a glass of wine.

Bush Tucker Tour and Lunch, $50, runs every Wednesday and Friday through October from 10am to 2pm. 9241 2419.

Beach brekky

Here’s a good reason not to sleep in on Sunday. Pack a picnic rug and your favourite breakfast treat to join thousands of Sydneysiders and visitors at an iconic beach.

Breakfast on Bondi is new for the Crave Sydney International Food Festival. Festival director Joanna Savill says the free event on the beach encourages people to bring their own breakfast to share with family and friends.

Didgeridoo players kick things off with a performance at sunrise, before a 50-piece orchestra led by Max Lambert takes their place on the sand, followed by yoga and capoeira demonstrations. Savill expects about 5000 people will attend the breakfast, with more than 2000 already pre-registered.

It’s best to arrive early to score a good position to view the sunrise at 6am. Chef and author Bill Granger will mingle with the crowds and sign copies of his new book, Bill’s Everyday Asian. Hayden Quinn, former MasterChef contestant and professional lifeguard, will also share his culinary expertise with the crowd and share ideas on what makes a good breakfast.

Sunday, free (6-9am), see

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