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Annie Smithers announces month-long festival to celebrate 10 year anniversary

Words by Richard Cornish
Images supplied

Annie Smithers is a force of nature. The author, broadcaster, farmer and chef has been championing real seasonal and local cuisine in Central Victoria for decades. She opened the doors to her Trentham restaurant Du Fermier 10 years ago and to celebrate she is closing the restaurant for the month of May.

Instead, she is holding a month-long mini-festival to celebrate the farmers who supply her kitchen, the winemakers who fill her cellar and the women who have mentored her or supported her in the kitchen during her career.

Food Festival TrenthamThe recipe writer for The Saturday Paper and resident chef for Blueprint for Living on ABC Radio National grows much of her fruit and veg at her Lyonville farm, Babbington Park, 10km from Daylesford. The lamb she cooks comes from a farm she can see from her kitchen garden and is grown by farmer Bruce Rolfe. He and Annie are doing an all-day lamb masterclass on May 18 which includes morning tea and a three-course lunch with wine and loads of dishes cooked with tender, sweet, and beautifully full-flavored Suffolk lamb. Annie is also doing a pork, beef, duck and chicken masterclass.

One of the big ticket events is the Mother’s Day Lunch with Stephanie Alexander on Sunday 14th May. Annie spent her early years cooking under Stephanie Alexander at her Hawthorn restaurant and the two have remained close since. They celebrate Mother’s Day with a four-course meal. Annie’s du Fermier is normally open for lunch, but for May only she is opening her doors for Friday night dinner on 5th, 12th, and 19th May.

Expect candles, shared plates and beautiful evening meals cooked with autumnal produce from the kitchen garden. On May 6th and 13th Annie is baking and making charcuterie for her French-style Petite Marche or little market where customers buy produce direct from Annie’s kitchen. Annie is also throwing an afterparty for the Trentham SpudFest starting at 5.30pm where she’ll be serving up her own rendition of potato cakes and pouring vodka made with Trentham potatoes. Gascony is one of Annie’s favourite regions of France and she is revisiting the trips on which she toured the auberges and taverns tasting the traditional dishes, and the honest food of the farmhouses. On Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st she is holding a five-course Gascon feast complete with wine and a limited-edition book about the food of Gascony.

“Du Fermier is all about cooking exceptional fresh produce from the farm and surrounding farms,” says Annie. “This month of celebrations is about putting the people who support our beautiful little French farmhouse style restaurant in a historic weatherboard shop front and foremost.”


Who: Celebrity chef Annie Smithers
Where: Du Fermier, Trentham
What: Thirty days of events celebrating local and seasonal produce with a very accomplished chef
When: Month of May 2023
Why: Exclusive and one-off events
More info: Annie Smithers

We wish to acknowledge the Dja Dja Wurrung people as traditional owners of this land and to pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.
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