A NEW dining experience has arrived in Warrnambool.
Fronted by Peter Koren and Naomy Paddon, PAN is revitalising unused spaces around the city for pop-up culinary events.
The team pair local producers with renowned chefs to showcase the best of the south-west.
"I guess typically 'pop-ups' are exactly that; they come and go quite quickly," Mr Koren said. "Both of us independently have been involved in pop-ups and setting restaurants but we both have always had that idea of opening a venue.
"We only met last year and the initial idea was to do one weekend, super simple.
"Next minute we're setting up a company and the idea kind of snowballed into what it is now which hopefully is going to be an ongoing ability to be able to continuously pop-up with that company as the backbone."
The name draws on concepts of fluidity and inclusivity, says Ms Paddon.
"The idea is to be consistently changing and evolving," she said. "As much as it's more pressure on us it's kind of exciting to have that fluidity to see what happens next.
"Part of the ethos is to highlight this area and do what we can to bring people from across Victoria to bring their knowledge and use the produce we've got to offer here."
The first PAN event was with Andreas Papadakis, executive chef and co-owner of the award-winning Italian Melbourne CBD restaurants, Tipo 00 and Osteria Ilaria.
It was sold out, with a set menu Saturday night, followed by an a la carté wine bar menu for lunch on Sunday earlier this month, with both highlighting local produce along side an all-natural wine list.
PAN will host a guest chef residency at The Royal from February 25 to March 21.
Outside of the guest chefs the team will be running an ever-changing wine bar snack menu Thursday through to Mondays for the four weeks.
"After this tenure we will endeavour to 'pop-up' throughout the south-west," Mr Koren said. "Events will be varied in style but always with the bases of local produce and natural wine."
Mr Koren has a passion for natural wine, which is made with minimal intervention from organic and biodynamic grapes, is unfiltered and has little to no added sulphur.
His love for organic food started with an everyday staple.
"When I first discovered organic and biodynamic food it was actually through a tomato," he said with a laugh. "It was in a sandwich and I was like, what's in this sandwich? And it was just an Adelaide tomato.
"They taste so much better when they're home grown, and it's the same with proteins as well with things like regenerative farming."
Ms Paddon has worked in hospitality across the world and has set up restaurants in places like India.
She's drawn by the connective power of food.
"I'm obsessed with it," she said. "It's that sharing of our energy; creating an environment for people and sharing an experience is mutually beneficial for everyone involved.
"I think this is big, we have the chance to change people's day. We've got this ability to shift that using food and really engaging which is very much a part of service and commune.
"Hopefully that's what we can offer people here if they want something new and to try something they've never had before."
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