By Claire Reilly
As an official sponsor of the Taste of Sydney food festival, Miele had a strong presence at the show’s opening last night, hosting the festival’s Best in Taste Awards and showing off the brand’s partnership with renowned chef Shannon Bennett.
Head chef at Melbourne’s stellar Vue de Monde restaurant, Bennett has been associated with the Miele brand for seven years now, a partnership that Miele Australia managing director Michael Jeanes said has been very strong.
“Shannon is such a good ambassador for us and unlike most chefs, this relationship is very integrated. For instance, Shannon and I went over to Germany and spent 3 days there and he cooked a meal for the board and sourced all the ingredients, working with our home economists and he learnt about our product and how to cook with our product.
“We’ve got so many exciting projects that we work on with him — at the moment he’s designing kitchens for a couple of developers in Melbourne and naturally we’re involved in those projects too. He’s a great ambassador, probably the best, and we’re very pleased to be working with him.”
Speaking about his involvement with the brand, Bennett said it was a natural choice for him.
“I suppose it’s been a bit of a journey,” said Bennett. “I wanted to get into the coal face of Miele. I’d known the Miele brand all my life because all my family had owned it, and it was about ‘You get Miele because it lasts forever’.
“So when I met Michael Jeanes, he’d just come out to redirect the Miele brand in Australia, and we hit it off really well. I said that for me, it was all about finding out how a Miele oven works, and maybe contributing some ideas from the commercial side of things to the domestic side which would be really fun. And it’s evolved.”
That evolution has seen Bennett work with Miele to produce a series of recipes for Miele’s new range of cooking appliance — known as the Gen 6000 range — which will arrive in Australia later in the year. The recipes were designed specifically for Australian consumers, and are inspired by “freshness and what appeals to Australians, particularly seafood and steaming” according to Bennett.
As far as Miele’s involvement with Taste of Sydney goes, Jeanes said it was a good fit for the high-end Miele brand thanks to its appeal to “foodies”.
“I think most of the people at the festival would aspire to own a Miele, even if they don’t own one, so it’s the right type of audience for us. You see the food writers here, you see the top chefs here, that’s what it’s all about — you need to be working in that environment.
“What I like about Taste is that they do it in Sydney and Melbourne, then there’s the Magaret River Festival that they did recently, then there’s Taste all over the world. Miele has sponsored Taste in Dublin which is a very successful event, and of course in Auckland where Miele has a subsidiary as well. So for me, the nice thing about working with Taste is that they’ve got all of those connections, but they’re also doing it all over Australia and New Zealand, so it’s the perfect fit for us.”
Miele Australia managing director Michael Jeanes with the brand's ambassador Shannon Bennett.
The Miele VIP marquee at last night's Taste of Sydney festival opening.