06 Oct 2023

Preparations are underway for the launch of the Tasting Australia presented by RAA Travel 2024 program, as the festival’s creative team is announced. 

South Australian chef Karena Armstrong will continue in her role as festival director, with fellow local chef Kane Pollard appointed the festival’s new food curator. Pollard, executive chef of Topiary restaurant in Adelaide’s north-east and PLACE Dining, is renowned for his sustainable use of unique produce and traditional methods. 

Drinks curators Meira Harel and Banjo Harris Plane are set to deliver their second beverage program in 2024, while esteemed chef Simon Bryant remains festival patron. 

Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison said Tasting Australia was continuing to cement its reputation as the nation’s best eating and drinking festival. 

“Tasting Australia unites the elements that make South Australia such a compelling visitor destination; exceptional food and beverages, a thriving capital and diverse regions,” Minister Bettison said. 

“More than 68,000 people enjoyed Tasting Australia’s Town Square in the centre of Adelaide this year, and we know the festival’s return in 2024 will offer more delicious adventures which attract visitors to our CBD and across the state.”  

Armstrong thanked outgoing co-festival director Darren Robertson and food curator Emma McCaskill, who are moving on from their creative team roles amid busy professional schedules. 

“We recognise Darren and Emma for their passion, their ideas and their huge contribution to Tasting Australia since 2021,” Ms Armstrong said.  

“We are thrilled they will be part of the program next year, sharing their remarkable food and connection to South Australia.” 

Robertson reflected on his time as co-festival director and looks forward to what is to come for 2024.  

“I'm really proud to be associated with the festival and everything it's achieved. South Australia will always be close to my heart, and I wish Karena and all the team the best of luck with next year's program,” Mr Robertson said.  

Pollard grew up in an Adelaide Hills market gardening family and has featured in a variety of Tasting Australia events to date. He said joining the festival’s creative team was an honour.  

“Tasting Australia is world-class. My role is to collaborate with chefs taking part in the festival, to share the quality and variety of South Australian produce, and in turn to help craft memorable experiences for our audience,” Mr Pollard said. 

“This is a big, coveted opportunity. I’m so excited to get started.” 

Tasting Australia was established in 1997 and is the nation’s longest-running eating and drinking festival. The 2024 Tasting Australia program will be released later this year.