A multi-sensory culinary experience across seven seasons at Darwin Convention Centre

Darwin Convention Centre has developed a new Indigenous inspired menu, based on the Gulumoerrgin seasons of the Larrakia people, who are the traditional owners of the Darwin region.

To the Larrakia people, the year is divided into seven seasons, with no beginning and no end but a constant change that can be felt. Each season has distinctive patterns of weather changes and plant and animal activity, each with their own special purpose

The Seven Seasons menu provides guests the opportunity to experience the dramatic changes of the Gulumoerrgin seasons and the corresponding impact these changes have on the sights, sounds, landscape and natural habitat.

Executive chef Toby Beaton has developed a menu available as a seven-course degustation or three-course banquet that combines local fresh produce and traditional indigenous food.

“When developing the menu, we didn’t just look at the ingredients. We looked at the history of the food, how it was gathered, how it was prepared and how it was cooked,” he said.

“We have provided guests the opportunity to be part of a journey that has been evolving for over thousands of years. The menu is not only about the taste, smell and look of the food, it is about understanding the local land and how Aboriginal people have used the ingredients available to them.”

Some of the local ingredients include mud crab, Kakadu plums, wattleseed, barramundi and of course mango.

In a convention centre first, the Seven Seasons journey also includes a visual and sound experience, creating a full sensory immersion of Aboriginal culture.

Larrakia Elder Roque Lee is excited to see Aboriginal cuisine showcased to a global audience.

Audio and visual packages accompany each course giving delegates a deeper experience and understanding of the Gulumoerrgin seasons, the distinctive weather patterns, changes in plant and animal activity, each with their own special purpose.

“We wanted to provide our clients the opportunity to integrate the Seven Seasons menu into their event on varying levels,” said Peter Savoff, general manager at Darwin Convention Centre.

“Event planners can choose just the menu or add on the production elements to give a deeper experience to their delegates. We can even assist them with including local performers to give full culture evening. The menu works perfectly with an awards night or gala dinner.”

The Seven Seasons menu is available for events with 10 to 1500 delegates, with Stephanie Ong, from Faces of Asia, experiencing it firsthand on a recent visit to the Darwin Convention Centre.

“The thought behind the dinner at the Darwin Convention Centre was great,” said Ong. “The effect was really something for a special events planner to see – I was in awe! The Seven Seasons dinner was truly a multi-sensory journey.”

Larrakia Elder Roque Lee said he was excited to see traditional food being used in modern cuisine.

“We are getting to share the Larrakia culture with people from all over the world” said Lee.

“Teaching the next generation and non-Aboriginals about the Seasons will educate people on looking after the land and understanding all the plants and habitats each have their own special purpose.”