Aussie food at London House presentation

A group of internationally-renowned Australian chefs will give Londoners a taste of the nation’s best food and wine this month, in a tourism initiative aimed at changing travellers’ perceptions.

Tourism Australia is launching a pop-up restaurant at Australia House in London from September 22-27 as part of a broader campaign which aims to debunk a belief from some that Australia doesn’t cut it as a culinary destination.

Research conducted for Tourism Australia found dining was a major factor in influencing holiday decision-making, but of those who had never been to Australia, only 26 per cent associated it with good food and wine.

However, Australia ranked third on a list of 15 major markets by those who had been there and Tourism Australia wants to narrow the perception gap.

“We want to put Australia’s outstanding food and wine on the radar for a whole lot of Brits who are looking to go,” Tourism Australia’s general manager for the UK and Northern Europe Denise von Wald told AAP.

Ms Von Wald believes Australian food and wine may be under-rated by those in the UK simply because Australia is so far away, while it could also be a lasting effect from the fact that mainly budget Australian wines used to be sold in Britain.

“But the pleasing thing is, while they don’t rank us as having very good food and wine before they go, they rank us up there with France and Italy once they come back from Australia,” she said.

The Restaurant Australia campaign is targeting mainly affluent long-haul travellers aged over 50.

Six Australian chefs, including Maggie Beer, Skye Gyngell and Luke Rayment, will take turns at hosting the pop-up restaurant, with each night to be themed around an Australian state or territory and 150 places on offer per night at £100 a head.

A trip for two to Australia will be given away each night.

With around 60 per cent of tickets sold, it’s expected the restaurant will sell out all six nights and despite the relatively small capacity, Tourism Australia is hoping it will generate strong buzz and word of mouth.

Ms Von Wald said the Restaurant Australia campaign was about showcasing Australia’s strengths, including its standard of produce and unique and diverse dining options
“We’ve got some iconic dining experiences,” Ms von Wald said.

“Whether it’s the spectacular ones or even just having fish and chips on a jetty at any of the coastal towns or cities in Australia as the sun goes down, it’s pretty special.”

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