Hell’s Kitchen heats up Download Festival

What makes a memorable festival experience? Most people you speak to will say the artist lineup, the crowd or what goes down at the campsite are the highlights you tell your mates about. 

Though, there is something missing in the story, something we all enjoy, that can often make or break a festival experience – the food.

With this in mind, this year’s Download Festival are stepping up their game to bring Hell’s Kitchen to the table; a mouth-watering offering of gastronomic delights served up by a handful of the country’s most talented chefs.

After a massive debut in 2018, festival punters can expect a raucous menu thanks to Sydney food legends, Jake Smyth and Kenny Graham.

“Festival food has come a long way since the years of flaccid fries and potato on a stick, and largely it has been driven by the punters,” say Smyth and Graham.

“The best kind of festival food is cooked to order but fucking fast – no one wants to be standing in a line waiting for a half hour-old burger while Slayer is playing. Quick, delicious and hot is all we want.”

Smyth and Graham are most well-known for running cult burger joint Mary’s, The Lansdowne Hotel and The Unicorn Hotel in Sydney, with a newly acquired location in Circular Quay in the works. The duo say there will be something for everyone at Download 2019 – from the high-end foodie to those who love an everyday gozleme.

“Hell’s Kitchen has such a killer Melbourne lineup – Phil Wood, Aaron Turner and Jo Barrett, who are all proper amazing chefs who are equally amazing to party with, offering a menu that has made us very, very hungry.”

Download attendees can expect to be fed by the Mary’s crew, Phil Wood of lauded Laura at Point Leo Estate, Aaron Turner from Geelong fine diner IGNI and Jo Barrett from Yarra Valley’s Oakridge Wines, who boasts a deep knowledge of Melbourne food culture and a talent for pastry and baking bread. 

“[Festival] punters have embraced Mary’s at every turn, and we don’t imagine that adding a buttload of killer chefs to our little tent is going to send them packing.”

Though delectable dishes crafted by renowned cooks wouldn’t typically seem the fit for fans of Ozzy Osbourne, Slayer or Judas Priest, Smyth and Graham say music fans alike are all onboard with the rise of fancy food and booze at festivals. From Download to Splendour in the Grass, good food is a universal language.

“At its core, we get what people want; fast and delicious. We tweak things to keep it interesting for us and the punter, but the tenets of a good festival menu remain, regardless of the genre of music.”

Easy to please festival-goers can expect rock solid regular food vendors including Messina, Taco Truck, Bluebonnet BBQ, Leonard’s House of Love, Harley & Rose and even the classic HSP dotted throughout the site to cater to your post-mosh stomach rumbles.

In addition to serving up some of Sydney’s best burger and pub experiences, Smyth and Graham are set to transform former Sydney jazz venue, The Basement, which closed in March 2018 after 45 years of live music.

Considered champions for supporting the live music in Sydney, this exciting announcement is part of their mission to bring back party vibes to a city often restricted by lockout laws.

“Mary’s Underground will be opening in May 2019, with a focus on smashing together two of our great loves – music and food,” Smyth and Graham revealed.

“Cold gin, fancy wine, good lighting, face ripping tunes all the while supporting young and emerging musicians and producers.”

Those who aren’t keen on a foodie feast or undecided on what to eat can enjoy the festival’s Download markets; which has your band merch, vinyl, streetwear and paraphernalia needs sorted.

Hell’s Kitchen takes over Download Festival when it welcomes the likes of Slayer, Judas Priest and Ghost to Flemington Racecourse on Monday March 11. Head to the festival website for tickets.