Plate Up Ballarat

Although the Plate Up Ballarat Festival for 2020 has been cancelled, this story profiles founder Kate Davis and her passion for her home town.

THREE years ago, Ballarat’s Kate Davis decided to create a festival combining her three loves – food, wine, and her hometown.

“I had seen a huge change in the dynamism of the food offerings we had here in Ballarat,” Kate says. “The people behind the venues are so progressive and were really starting to lead the way in a true contemporary way.” And so Plate Up Ballarat was born – a food and wine festival showcasing the best produce and finest eateries in Ballarat and surrounds.  “The idea to have a Ballarat-owned food festival was a no-brainer,” Kate adds. “We have it all here and we can own it ourselves.”

With a background in events and a keen interest in the food and drink sector, Kate has always wanted to see her hometown become the culinary capital of Victoria.  Through her event services, project management and delivery, she has collaborated with the city’s thriving and diverse hospitality sector for over a decade, creating and delivering new and exciting food experiences based on her mantra that ‘great food starts with great produce’.  “Ballarat is home to a wealth of passionate businesses, producers and individuals who are leading the way in food and wine,” Kate proudly proclaims.  “Our region is also home to some of the highest quality produce in the world, with ingredients that are lovingly cultivated, grown, reared and handcrafted to promote healthy and delicious dishes. “Plate Up is one way in which we can connect with and support our producers across the western Victorian food chain, and continue to develop a vibrant paddock-to-plate industry.”

The 2020 Plate Up program will return for the month of May, serving up an array of dining experiences in some of Ballarat’s finest eateries.  The festival will also present a range of special events year-round, showcasing the breadth of food and wine offerings in the region. “I am so excited to be bringing Plate Up back to the city for another year,” Kate says.  “For 2020, we will be taking on a ‘less is more’ approach, with high quality events in May coupled with specially curated experiences scattered throughout the year.

“We have always said that Ballarat is not only good to eat out in May, but is amazing every day of the year. Our focus is to encourage locals and visitors to enjoy a unique Ballarat dining experience no matter when they choose to dine out.”

In 2019, the festival attracted more than 11,000 people during its month-long program. This feat was further celebrated with the launch of Eat Drink West, an online platform connecting producers, chefs and consumers and strengthening the region’s position as a culinary hotspot.

For more information about the future of Plate Up Ballarat, visit  Images by Vegas & Rose