Hamilton Island Race Week’s Return
The indulgent week-long event sees familiar faces sail back to the Whitsundays.
A flotilla of multi-million dollar sailing yachts filled Hamilton Island’s marina once again for the return of Hamilton Island Race Week.
With the return of the yachts so too comes a number of political figures, socialities, media, business identities and luxurious sponsors to celebrate the event following a pandemic-induced two-year hiatus.
The week of yacht racing — which this year, the event’s 36th — saw more than 200 yachts and 2000 sailors head out to the tropical waters of the Whitsundays. Of those on the water, it was the familiar names of Wild Oats XI, renamed Hamilton Island Wild Oats for the week of racing, pit itself against Andoo Commanche that headlined despite Tasmanian vessel ‘Alive’ sailing away with the overall win.
On dry land, the luxurious festivities attached to the racing began as the Oatley family welcomed the likes of Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Zac and Jordan Stenmark, Deborah Hutton and a number of media guests (Including Robb Report) to a table of 110 guests down on Pebble Beach at Qualia resort.
Here, former Momofuku Seiobo chef Paul Carmichael plate a Caribbean menu making use of the best of what Queensland has to offer.
Dinner started with seafood platters of lobster curry, scamp sashimi and abalone followed by Jerk lamb as the star.
“I have this philosophy that If I’m having fun, and my team are having fun cooking then it’ll be fun for you eating it,” said Carmichael addressing the diners.
“I wanted to do something that was a little bit fun, a little bit messy and a little bit out of the ordinary … a fantasy within a fantasy, because Hamilton Island is a fantasy,” add Carmichael.
As for what the awarded chef is up to next, Carmichael played coy responding with: “I’m just chilling, I’m working on a few things and once I get it all out and write it all down it’ll start moving.”
Although Carmichael was a first-timer at Race Week, the annual regatta saw the return of many long-standing supporters such as Paspaley. The Australian jewellers took the opportunity to showcase its upcoming collection and new brand ambassador Leila George aboard the superyacht Quantum. The cruise was a taste of what was to come later in the week with it’s White Luncheon at Qualia’s beachside pool taking place on the Friday.
The wining and dining continued through to the Sunday night where guest were seated at a dinner by Quay and Bennelong chef Peter Gilmore — another returning fixture to Race Week.
Here, guests saw a number of truffle-topped canapes with fungi a feature of Gilmore’s menu.
“This year I really wanted to just smash you with truffles,” said Gilmore speaking before guests tucked into the food.
“Right now truffles are at their peak so I really wanted to make use of that the best I can,” he added.
Beyond canapes guests were treated to a scallop sashimi, mudcrab chawanmushi with a koji emulsion — showcasing the best of Queensland’s crustaceans, black angus beef with truffle (yes, more) puree and aged madeira jus and Bennelong’s iconic ‘chocolate crackle’ dessert.
Hardly a moment passed at these soirees without a glass of Piper and Charles Heidsieck in hand while non-sparkling vinos were provided by the hosts, with Oatley wines poured freely.
Race week’s reignition signals a return to normalcy for tourism and Queensland with the schedule of fine dining events, revisiting chefs and tightly held sponsors all on deck to celebrate all that Hamilton Island has to offer.
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