Frequently Asked Questions with Gus & Louise Maher

Why Newcastle Food Month?

Louise: We are passionate about wanting to put Newcastle on a plate for all to see. There are so many stories to tell, personalities to meet and amazing food to eat in this city. It’d be a darn shame not to shout it from the rooftops. And we really believe that Newcastle is ready to serve it up to the masses. Our vision is to grow the popularity of this annual event until it’s a firm fixture on the must-do calendar of Australian food festivals.

Where did the idea for NFM first come about from?

Gus: We have created many similar events in other areas of the Hunter region and Sydney, so we had a clear vision in our minds. However, to start a concept from scratch; conceive it, create it, manage it and market it through to fruition is a big job requiring some funding support.

Enter City of Newcastle and their Special Business Rate funding. We were very fortunate to receive a grant to help bring our idea to life. The funding doesn’t pay for the entire program, but between that and lots of hard work and the support of our partners – our little company with a big idea has hopefully hit on a winning formula.

We have previously enjoyed bringing BARRELLED a food and wine festival to Surfest and know how much Novocastrians love getting out to enjoy a meal and a beverage or two.

How would you describe the Newcastle dining scene?

Louise: Ripe for the picking.

Whether you want to stay in your own local area or venture outside your neighbourhood patch, you are absolutely spoilt for choice of places to eat in Newcastle. We have such an eclectic mix of eateries with flavours from all over the world, curated and plated up by passionate local chefs. And it’s only going to get better with new cafes and restaurants popping up in every pocket of town.

In one sentence, what is Newcastle Food Month all about?

Gus: Newcastle Food Month is a month-long festival with dozens of individual food focused events and activities. The heroes are of course Newcastle and our fabulous dining scene!

Can you give us any hints?

Gus: A few! Plate Date will provide Novocastrians and our visitors with over 50 eateries, where for the month of April, you can grab a specially curated NFM main meal and beverage for just $25pp.

Then there’s a whole suite of dining events and experiences running all month. Think unique fine dining experiences at the likes of Restaurant Mason and Flotilla, a fun cider and pork festival, perhaps the unholy but entertaining marriage of opera and beer, through to a drive through gourmet hot dog stand at McDonald Jones stadium. (not sure I am allowed to tell you that – but just did!)

What we definitely can’t tell you is the name of our incredible signature event on April 10th. But think, a massive outdoor dining experience under the stars in the last place that you would expect to have dinner.

What are you most looking forward to in April?

Louise: Unashamedly to have the excuse to eat out every day of the week, to share the love around in trying new places, attending events – and seeing others do the same.

Your favourite venues to take friends visiting from out of town to?

Gus: Somewhere relaxed that reflects Newcastle’s laid-back dining scene. Maybe Moor or Edmonds in the East End after a walk along Bathers Way.

What about coffee? Lotus at The Junction is where you’ll find me most mornings hunched over a laptop, but the Darby street trifecta of Goldbergs, 3 Monkeys and Autumn Rooms are also hard to beat.

Best spot for a brunch on the weekend? (Like choosing your favourite child, we know).

Louise: I do love a good brunch – you say the word and I’m there, whether it’s a walk, bike ride or drive away. If I’ve earnt the big breaky after morning exercise, you will find me somewhere like Bolton Street Pantry, for a super nourishing breakfast I will always head to Momo’s (drooling over their specials board) and for that special occasion breaky at Signal Box.

Do you see NFM becoming an annual event?

Gus: Absolutely! Within a few years, our vision is to see the Newcastle Food Month firmly on the list of leading regional food events in Australia alongside some of our other favourites like Orange F.O.O.D Week and Noosa Eat & Drink Festival.

Plus, of course we want to see our local restaurants full and our hotels bustling with visitors just itching to eat our local food!