Sharing passion for Moreton Bay seafood

Published 9:05am 19 July 2022

Sharing passion for Moreton Bay seafood
Words by Kylie Knight

Cook, nutritionist and food educator Georgia Barnes grew up fishing and crabbing on Moreton Bay and is passionate about using fresh ingredients to create “honest food” that tastes good and is good for you.

She’ll join a strong line-up of chefs cooking up a storm at Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival, which is on from August 19-21 at Apex Park, Woody Point.

The event kicks off the Tastes of Moreton Bay Feastival, a six-week celebration of the region’s producers and foodie culture. There are more than 40 events from August 19 to September 25.

Georgia grew up on the other side of Moreton Bay, Redlands, and has vivid memories of cooking with her family using fresh seafood and produce.

“I was always sitting on the bench, always being a pest, always asking to help. There are many, many photos of me cross-legged on the kitchen bench. Very fond memories with my grandma who had a massive input in my upbringing and was the best cook ever,” Georgia recalls.

“My whole family are really good cooks – my mum, my dad are great cooks – we grew up on boats out on Moreton Bay, so seafood has been a big part of my diet even as a kid and as an adult now.

|“We loved going out on the boat, crabbing, fishing on the bay. It was really top quality it wasn’t necessarily complicated but just simple, made from scratch food which I’ll take any day over takeaway.”|

Georgia says she’s not a qualified chef but being runner-up on Channel 10’s MasterChef Australia in 2015 opened doors in the food industry.

“Before that I was a nutritionist and worked with food and just really had a passion for food and getting people to really appreciate good quality produce,” she says.

“I had a really beautiful upbringing understanding quality produce, how to cook things from scratch and just realised when I got into clinic with nutrition that a lot of people didn’t have that knowledge.

“That’s where the passion for cooking really stemmed from … that I could actually help people with this. I just love it too. I love the creativity.”

Sharing passion for Moreton Bay seafood

What is honest cooking?

“Honest cooking for me is where it is scaled back and you’re using as little processed food as possible. It’s just clean, simple flavours. You don’t need 1000 ingredients, you just need things that are fresh,” Georgia explains.

“We grew a lot of our own produce, so just grabbing something from the veggie patch even if it’s as simple as green beans and a simple piece of protein. If both those things are done really well, you really can’t beat that.”

So, why it is important to use local, seasonal produce?

“I just think now it can get really confusing for people, so a big part of what I do is food education. I really want people to understand what the difference is,” she explains.

|“I think we can be overwhelmed when we walk into a supermarket with so many different options. Really, what you want to know is where did that come from, is it in season, and there’s so many different benefits to seasonal eating.|

“It’s not just about obviously supporting your local growers, it’s actually really good for your body too. If you’re eating things that have travelled or been stored for a less amount of time, they’re going to have a higher nutrient content and they’re going to be better for you.

“It makes perfect sense but sometimes we forget about it because it’s such an overwhelming thing when you see such an abundance. We see so many things on the internet from all around the world but sometimes we need to remember where we’re at and what’s in our hometown and what we can do to support those people that are really trying to make it.”

Tastes of Moreton Bay Feastival is delivered by Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism, with the support of key strategic partner, Moreton Bay Regional Council.

Sharing passion for Moreton Bay seafood

Cooking up a storm at festival

“I’ll be cooking for three days with amazing produce at Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival,” Georgia says.

And she hopes her cooking demonstrations will give home cooks confidence to be more daring.

“I hope they’re feeling inspired, really. That’s why we do what we do – to inspire people to cook from scratch, understand a little bit about the region, understand how important it is to know what’s in your own backyard and how to cook with it,” she says.

“Maybe they think, ‘I don’t know how to cook with green prawns’ and maybe find some inspiration and kitchen confidence.”

To find out more about Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival and to buy tickets, head to the website 

Tastes of Moreton Bay Feastival is delivered by Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism (MBRIT), with the support of key strategic partner, Moreton Bay Regional Council.

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