Some of the highest ranked chefs in the world are heading to Sydney in October for the annual Crave Sydney International Food Festival, presented by Citibank. They include two of the top five chefs from the recently announced World’s 50 Best Restaurants list as well as a host of local and international food superstars.

In 2012, a special Italian spotlight will celebrate state-of-the-art Italian cuisine, featuring the biggest Italian stars from around the globe paired with Sydney’s finest as part of the festival’s signature event, the World Chef Showcase (Oct 6 & 7).

Sharing their skills and passion in intimate, interactive sessions will be Massimo Bottura, the highest-ranked chef in Italy and #5 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list 2012, Jordi Roca from Spain (ranked second in the world!) and best-selling author Tessa Kiros (Venezia, Twelve, Falling Cloudberries) who is flying in especially from her home in Tuscany.

They will be joined by Antonio Carluccio, star of SBS TV’s Two Greedy Italians and multi-award winning chef and author; plus Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar in New York, America’s 2012 Rising Star of the Year and the queen of cookie dough!

The most highly ranked Italian chefs in Sydney – including Giovanni Pilu (Pilu at Freshwater), Alessandro Pavoni (Ormeggio) and Nino Zoccali (Pendolino) will join food artisans from around Australia and well-known Aussie chefs Matt Moran, star of MasterChef and owner of Aria and Chiswick, and Mark Best (ranked #61 in the world).

“Italian food is everyone’s favourite. But what do we know about the latest trends in Italy? This is a chance to find out,” said Festival Director Joanna Savill.

“Along with Gabriele Bonci, the best pizza chef in Rome, and Roberto Petza, a wonderful Michelin-starred chef from Sardinia, we will put Sydney’s great Italian food culture on show.

“Everyone loves the World Chef Showcase, from our top chefs through to serious food-lovers, for amazing presentations by our wonderful stars. As the one chance to taste their best dishes in an intimate, exclusive setting, it’s the must-do weekend for anyone interested in all things food.”

There’s plenty more to the month-long festival, with a feast of more than 500 delicious events across Sydney and regional New South Wales throughout October.

These include Barbecue Madness (Oct 6), the Night Noodle Markets (Oct 8-12 and 15-19) and longtime favourites such as Let’s Do Lunch and Hats Off dinners at leading Sydney restaurants.

Greater Sydney and regional NSW will also go on show, staging festivals with themes as diverse as South American, Vietnamese, Indian and of course, Italian.

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events, George Souris, said Crave Sydney International Food Festival is a month-long celebration of extraordinary food experiences in Sydney and regional NSW. “Our chefs and produce are renowned the world over, and we welcome interstate visitors to experience our world class dining scene at its source and taste some of the more than 500 events on offer across Sydney and regional NSW during Crave Sydney International Food Festival.”

Crave Sydney International Food Festival (October 1 – 31) is a month-long celebration of extraordinary food experiences, celebrating Sydney as a global dining destination enhanced by regional New South Wales produce and wine.

The full Crave Sydney International Food Festival program will be published on August 18 in The Sydney Morning Herald and available on the website www.cravesydney.com

Tickets for the World Chef Showcase are on sale now from Ticketmaster. See www.cravesydney.com for all the details on these and other special offers for interstate visitors to Sydney.