Chefs to cook up a storm at Real Food Festival

The fifth annual Sunshine Coast Real Food Festival will host an impressive line up of chefs celebrating Coast produce in an array of international styles on September 12 & 13.

javier-codina-webJust one of those chefs is the force behind Brisbane’s Moda Restaurant and Moda Events Portside, Javier Codina. Award-winning and a leader in the food industry, Javier uses a lot of Sunshine Coast food at his restaurants where his inspired, inventive dishes capture the essence of his cultural influences – Catalan, French and Italian – meshed with his professional expertise and the freshest local produce.

Javier said he is really looking forward to showcasing his Catalan (north eastern Spain) style of cooking at the festival but said his festival highlight will be meeting the local growers, producers and makers.

“My creative inspiration always emanates from fresh ingredients. My family will be joining me on the day so it will also be fun and educational for my three boys.

“Although consumers are showing much more interest in cooking and using local produce, which is wonderful, we still need to invest time in educating the public in what produce is grown where.

“We need to encourage everyone to eat locally as much as possible, and support ethical small producers, preparing food simply to enjoy the natural flavours,” Javier said.

Jeff Leong who is one part of the blogging duo, The Nutrition Guru and the Chef, will be demonstrating at the Real Food Festival the basics of good sushi for home cooks and the different ways of using fresh tuna.

Jeff, who has been working in the industry for 21 years, said he started his apprenticeship in Brisbane, working in both Italian and French restaurants.

“I started learning Japanese cookery six years ago at Wasabi restaurant in Noosa and left there as head chef 3.5 years later before a brief stint in Singapore at Izy Bar & Dining. Now, I have been at Cherry Blossom Tree, which is a Japanese sushi restaurant, for almost two years.”

Jeff said he loved the Coast because of the fresh produce available.

“The tuna and swordfish we get out of Mooloolaba is always very fresh and of high quality especially when they catch really nice big and fatty fish,” Jeff said.

“I am looking forward to talking to people about homemade sushi at the Festival, and demonstrating how easy it can be,” Jeff said.

Maison de Provence owner and pastry chef, Eric Pernoud, will be whipping up a dessert in front of festival-goers featuring local strawberries from Cooloola Berries.

Eric, who was born in France, started baking desserts at a young age, gaining his passion from his father who was a patissier. Eric went on to work in New York before accepting a role in Australia with the Ritz Carlton Hotel as executive pastry chef before opening Maison de Provence in Cooroy.

Eric said he use a lot of local produce suppliers for the restaurant and that berries are in a lot of his desserts, so he will be highlighting them in the dish he is presenting at the Festival.

“The Real Food Festival is a great event for the whole family, it brings people together and showcases the best produce our region has to offer, we are looking forward to enjoying the day as a family after I present,” Eric said.

But it’s not just Queensland chefs that will be celebrating Sunshine Coast produce – this year the Real Food Festival has more on offer than ever before – with more than 50 presentations across seven venues from chefs, food producers and experts.

Festival Director Julie Shelton said she was really excited to be celebrating the 5th anniversary at this year’s festival with a large number of important and practical presentations.

“It shows just how the Sunshine Coast food industry and the festival is evolving,” Festival Director Julie Shelton said.

The venues within the festival will include the Real Food Kitchen, Food for Thought, Nourishing Ideas, Food Craft, Kitchen Garden and two new venues – the Coffee Pavilion and Eat My Words venue, which will focus on food writing, food bloggers, cookbook authors and restaurant reviewers.  There are also lots of great kids activities in the Little Sprouts area and more than 100 individual Sunshine Coast producers exhibiting.

Julie Shelton said the Real Food Festival would once again bring together the best Sunshine Coast food products and services from paddock to plate.

The Sunshine Coast Real Food Festival is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of a dynamic calendar of events throughout the state. It is also supported by Sunshine Coast Council and Sunshine Coast Destination Limited.

The event is expecting 10,000 visitors through the gates over the Festival weekend and will have over 100 food exhibitors from throughout the Sunshine Coast region as well as the full program of cooking demonstrations, chef presentations, conversations, interactive workshops and kids activities across seven different venues within the Festival.

The Real Food Festival will be held at the Maleny Showgrounds, 13 Stanley River Road, Maleny on 12 & 13 September from 9am to 4pm daily and will showcase an abundance of good foods from Sunshine Coast producers, manufacturers and restaurants.  Entry is $20 for a daily adult pass and children under 16 are free.

For more information on the Real Food Festival, visit the website at

Tickets are available at the Festival or you can also purchase your tickets via Ticketmaster – just go to and search for Real Food Festival.

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