Curryfest brings Celebrity Chef Miguel Maestre to stir things up on stage

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh at Woolgoolga Beach Reserve with (from left) Woolgoolga Chamber member Cherie Topfer, Curryfest Committee chair Pam Fayle and Woolgoolga Chamber committee member Sam Newman.

 

CURRYFEST 2021 will see Spanish-born Australian celebrity chef Miguel Maestre entertaining the near-to 20,000 locals and visitors to the Woolgoolga foodie festival’s 16th edition in September.

The annual celebration of Punjabi heritage, culture and cuisine is being helped back onto its feet by the NSW Government’s Regional Events Acceleration Fund, after being COVID-cancelled last year.

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Gurmesh Singh, Member for Coffs Harbour told News Of The Area, “Post COVID we need to open out our economy with events like this that drive ongoing, long-term success of the area.

“The Grant allows this event to come back bigger and better to place Curryfest firmly on the events map.”

Pam Fayle, Chair of Curryfest, told News Of The Area, “This event probably brings in around $2 million.

“Our past figures show that on average people stay three-and-a-half days: they book accommodation, buy things locally and eat out.

“It affects the whole Coffs Harbour area.”

Pam warns that many of the nearby accommodation venues are pretty well booked-up for the dates, with Curryfest day-long event happening on Saturday 25 September.

Friday is going to be spectacular, too, according to Pam and Gurmesh, with L-Fresh The Lion, a well-known Sikh hip hop performer, playing at a venue to be confirmed, and again on Saturday on the main stage.

“He’s a great young bloke,” said Gurmesh, with Pam adding, “Having him enables us to appeal to a younger crowd.”

“I remember attending my first Curryfest about ten years ago when it had really started to take off, but it began as a small community celebration of one of Australia’s largest regional Punjabi populations; today it is the region’s biggest one-day event,” said Gurmesh.

Woolgoolga Chamber members Cherie Topfer and Sam Newman expressed their gratitude for the funding, saying, “Chamber is a volunteer committee – we couldn’t do it without the grant now that the festival is such a size, and with the additional manpower and collateral we need to be COVID-safe throughout the event.”

And Gurmesh’s favourite curry?

“Black Dahl.

“It’s one of those measures of a good Indian restaurant – if they can do that right…”

 

By Andrea FERRARI

 

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