1998 SMH Good Food Month launched

Good Food Month briefly became Sydney-International-Food-Festival. This picnic on Sydney Harbour Bridge was in 2009.

The Sydney Morning Herald sponsored Sydney’s Good Food Month in October as an adjunct to their Good Food Guide. The festival included night noodle markets, picnics, market tours and special events at restaurants. The concept spread to other Australian capital cities but, in 2023, the Sydney version was expanded to become a year-round program called Good Food Events. 

The first festival was announced in the Sydney Morning Herald on 22 September 1998 by Lisa Hudson, editor of the newspaper’s Good Living section. It was designed to showcase “the outstanding quality and diversity of food and wine in NSW”. She wrote…

This program includes all the details of exciting events, offering something for everyone, from star chefs to home barbie cooks, diners after a quick lunch or those wanting to savour a banquet, drinkers of tea and scholars of wine. You can slurp through a bowl of noodles after dark at Circular Quay; catch a ferry and float along with a cocktail in hand; taste some of the finest cheeses from around Australia, and the best wines from NSW…

From 2009 to 2012 the name of the event was changed to the Sydney International Food Festival as part of Crave Sydney. However, it later reverted to its original name and expanded to encompass other Australian cities. The Sydney festival took place in October. In Canberra, it was in March to coincide with the city’s birthday celebrations while in Perth it was April, in Melbourne, June, and in Brisbane, July.

Over the years, the month has included a wide range of events, one of the most spectacular in 2009 being a picnic on a grassed-over Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Night Noodle Markets have been an ongoing feature of the festival in each of the cities.

The re-jigging of the offering in 2023 seemed to have created a platform for venues to promote their offerings throughout the year. “One month just wasn’t enough,” said the organisers, converting an annual event into “a year-round program of the best chefs, food, restaurants, stories & places each city has to offer.”

The first Sydney event of the re-vamped program in 2023 was a fried chicken and champagne night at QT Sydney’s Gilt Lounge. Followed by “…an Amalfi Coast-inspired al fresco sunset dinner with Guy Grossi”.

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