Superstar chef Christine Manfield joins us in our dining room

We were thrilled to host Christine Manfield as a star guest for a pot-luck dinner right here at The Cheesemaking Workshop & Deli last week, where we invited top food producers and growers from the Coffs Coast to show off their foodie wares.

As part of our commitment to promoting the Coffs Coast region as a stellar food tourism destination, we asked Christine to taste the amazing sub-tropical food bowl we have right here on our doorstep.

Christine, who since the 1980s has been one of the nation’s definitive celebrity chefs as well as an ambassador for Australian gastronomy, is also on the national judging panel of the Delicious Produce Awards.

She said that Coffs locals are in a fortunate position because they can see the source of their food and visit producers within a 15-minute drive of the CBD.

“It’s all about using food that’s local and seasonal and really supporting our producers and farmers,” she said.

The table was heaving with gorgeous dishes featuring the wares of almost a dozen local producers who are joining together to form the Coffs Coast Food Collective. With the council’s help, this industry group is devoted to freeing up the Coffs food supply chain, raise awareness of local food, cut food miles, minimise the use of farming chemicals and create a culinary identity for the region. You’ll certainly hear more about it soon!

Sitting at the table on the night was ABC Rural Young Farmer of the Year 2016 Troy Blackman of Waterfall Produce, a sustainably farmed beef and egg operation in the Orara Valley; Darren Smith and Alice Williams of New Life Farm in Sapphire Beach, known locally for their chemical-free fresh produce sold at the farm gate, grower and soil rehabilitator Graham Jones from Beckham Park farm; Anna Lane and Joshua Cook from the award-winning Fishermen’s Co-op; our own Don Cummings from The Providores, plus hand-made charcuterie by Popla Bellingen.

Food photographer Jay Black of And The Trees Photography captured the night, and our friends at Two Tails Winery provided beautiful whites, reds, rosés and bubbles.

Christine said: “All the food had such great flavour, the subtropical environment here is a real microcosm. It’s very rich and quite diverse.

“I was especially blown away by the fabulous vision and the focus that the three farmers at the table had. It gives you great hope for the future. If everyone who grew food were that committed and that caring, we’d be in a much better place.”

The Cheesemaking Workshop’s founder Lyndall said: “It’s been a huge honour to have such a superstar chef at our table and being able to bring our amazing food producers and end users together. The Coffs Coast really has so much to offer as a food tourism destination. There really is something for everyone.”