Great Southern WA’s top food region — but don’t take our word for it

Headshot of Liam Croy
Liam CroyAlbany Advertiser
Email Liam Croy
Chef Melissa Palinkas with various meats - Bresola, Pampalona Chorizo, Tuscan Salami, Duck Prosciutto, Mortadella, Salami Cotto, Duck a la Orange, Lamb Salami, Duck Necks Stuffed with Lamb Chorizo and a Prosciutto Leg at Young George in East Fremantle, Perth.
Camera IconChef Melissa Palinkas with various meats - Bresola, Pampalona Chorizo, Tuscan Salami, Duck Prosciutto, Mortadella, Salami Cotto, Duck a la Orange, Lamb Salami, Duck Necks Stuffed with Lamb Chorizo and a Prosciutto Leg at Young George in East Fremantle, Perth. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian, Ross Swanborough

The Great Southern is the best food producing region in the State — but don’t take our word for it.

Take it from Melissa Palinkas, the executive chef at Perth’s Young George and the reigning WA Good Food Guide chef of the year.

She gives the Great Southern the nod because of its cooler climate and variety of produce.

“The producers have got space and the right environment to be able to produce great ingredients,” Palinkas said.

“The climate allows for an abundance of different types of ingredients — fruit and vegetables, cheese, poultry, land-fed animals, seafood.

“You could literally live off that region and not bother about going to any other region.”

Palinkas is one of the stars lined up for this year’s iteration of Taste Great Southern, the food and wine festival that showcases the best the region has to offer.

There are more than 20 chefs booked to appear from March to April, including familiar faces such as inaugural Masterchef winner Julie Goodwin and River Cottage Australia’s Paul West.

What Palinkas lacks in reality TV celebrity, she more than makes up for with creative, sustainable and delicious food.

She will feature in at least two events — the Women of the Region Dinner at Princess Royal Sailing Club on March 26 and Wine and Swine at Liberte on March 30.

Wine and Swine will allow her to experiment with her favourite meat.

She has already planned her pork dishes for the Albany degustation and none of them can be found on her Perth menu.

“I’ll bring some innovative things down to Albany that people have never seen before,” she said.

“I’m using quite a range of cuts on my menu.”

While Palinkas is looking forward to working with other top chefs, she is also eager to get out and explore the region.

Past trips have led to the discovery of Mick Snow’s yabbies and Chris Vogels’ cheese — two ingredients which she still likes to use at Young George.

“I’m going to take some time to connect with producers and see what I can bring back to Perth. Just submerge myself in the region,” she said.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails