Project star reveals guilty pleasure
Take a wander through Gorgi Coghlan's Instagram page and it immediately becomes apparent she has a passion for food.
Your mouth starts to drool as you're presented with everything from baked goats cheese souffles and a "ripper" Royale with cheese to a delicious Napoli tagliatelle and a pork and fennel rustic lasagne.
The Project presenter admits she loves food so much her "whole life" revolves around it - one of the reasons she's hosting this week's Taste Dinner Revolution Cookalong with Matt Preston, Marion Grasby and thousands of ordinary Aussies.
Today is the last day to register for one of the star chefs' teams and Gorgi is urging people to seize the moment to learn something new about food and have fun in unique circumstances.
"We (her husband Simon and daughter Molly-Rose) live and breathe hospitality and we live and breathe food," she said.
"We have designed our whole house for our kitchen to be the centrepiece. It's this huge island bench. People always walk in and say 'Oh My God, I thought you guys were into food but now I know why'."
Even the family's travel adventures are inspired by their tastebuds.
"We're one of those people that would go to a country because of 'that' restaurant".
The lure of food is more than just an interest for the Coghlans, it's a business.
Gorgi and Simon, a successful regional Victorian hotelier, operate The Provincial Hotel and Lola Restaurant in Ballarat.
Both beds and tables were fully booked for their reopening last weekend after COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were finally lifted.
Gorgi said it was a moment that "really buoyed" their team.
"It means so much to our hard working team that we have been and continue to be supported by our local community and visitors from Melbourne, Halls Gap and around Victoria," Gorgi said.
"It was so lovely to see people walking through the door again, smiling, so happy and grateful to be here."
But looking ahead pre-bookings are low and like so many businesses in regional Victoria they are desperate to see the return of tourists - especially with the winter school holidays approaching.
"Understandably it's taking a while for people to feel safe and confident to book a break," Gorgi said.
"We'd love to see more people coming to visit beautiful Ballarat. It's such an easy and enjoyable road trip. Sort out a Spotify playlist, jump in the car, pack your bikes (or hire ours) and experience boutique accommodation and delicious food."
The hospitality sector is undergoing strict new cleaning procedures which at the Provincial include sealed hotel rooms, socially distant dining at Lola, faceless check-in for guests and the choice of 'restaurant quality' in-room dining.
"What's great about visiting the country is the space and fresh air and we're finding people are loving going for long walks, doing bush trails and heading off for the afternoon on their bikes to discover our historic city," Gorgi said.
Businesses are also getting creative with The Provincial introducing a workshop series on Saturday afternoons including how to make sourdough, how to make gnocchi, tips on wine tasting and learning to paint with watercolours by renowned local artist Susan Nethercote.
"Now is the time to support regional tourism and learn a new skill. You'll love getting away from the house and you'll also be supporting small business," the 44-year-old said.
On Wednesday Gorgi will be hosting the Taste Dinner Revolution Cookalong, which will see foodie faves Preston and Grasby go head-to-head recruiting teams of thousands of everyday Aussies.
It's a virtual get-together, hosted live on taste.com.au, in which participants sign up to Team Marion or Team Matt and get a "secret" list of ingredients to buy ahead of the big day on June 17.
Diners will only be told what they are cooking when they log on to their team leader's special session and start the cookalong.
Best of all, participants all over Australia then get to eat together (but apart) while sharing their meals and feedback on social media.
GET FIRED UP
The Taste Dinner Revolution Cookalong is live and free on taste.com.au starting 7.30pm AEST on Wednesday, June 17.
Recipes will cater to all types: families, singles, omnivores and vegetarians.
To take part, register now at taste.com.au/cookalong by midnight June 15.
Plus you have the chance to win dinner groceries for a year valued at $15,000 from Coles.
Originally published as Project star reveals guilty pleasure