Visit Sunshine Coast (VSC) today announced an exciting partnership with renowned chef, Alejandro Cancino.

The former executive chef of Brisbane’s only three-hatted restaurant, Urbane, will become a Sunshine Coast Ambassador, showcasing the region as one of Australia’s leading and most vibrant food tourism destinations.

Alejandro’s first collaboration will be to represent the Sunshine Coast at the Regional Flavours exhibition, which will be held at South Bank in Brisbane from 21-22 July.

Alejandro left Brisbane earlier this year with his wife and baby daughter for a sea-change on the Sunshine Coast where he is pioneering ‘plant-based’ cuisine under his own vegan food-label, Fenn Foods, and a vegan café/catering business called ‘Lola’s Pantry’ which is expected to open in the next few months in Kuluin near Maroochydore.

Alejandro said he was delighted to join forces with regional tourism group, Visit Sunshine Coast.

“Having my own business will allow me to do what I’ve always wanted to do – connect with local and organic Sunshine Coast producers and continue to make healthy, wholesome and delicious vegan products in a way that is as environmentally friendly, as possible,” he said.

“There is a large and ever-growing vegan community on the Coast and we wanted to make the move to the area not only for the lifestyle, but also for ethical reasons. As a vegan, I was no longer comfortable working with dishes containing animal products. I want to be able to serve 100% plant-based foods.

“It seems like an exciting time for the Sunshine Coast. I love the place and the people, and it feels like the region’s food scene is on the cusp of something big, and I wanted to be a part of that.

“The timing is perfect to partner with Visit Sunshine Coast as this is the start of my new journey. Plus, the organisation is a good fit with my beliefs standing for the ‘naturally refreshing’ brand and committed to promotion of food producers, cafes, restaurants, markets and food events,” said Alejandro.

“We are thrilled to secure one of the country’s most talented and reputable ‘hatted’ chefs to represent and champion the Sunshine Coast,” said Simon Latchford, CEO of Visit Sunshine Coast.

“I believe the Sunshine Coast is qualified to own the title of one of Australia’s leading ‘food tourism’ destinations and today’s announcement gives us another face and mechanism to tell our largely unknown and undiscovered food story.

“I couldn’t think of a better Ambassador to represent the Sunshine Coast. Alejandro’s focus and commitment to delivering quality vegan products and plans for a niche café set in a local neighbourhood of Kuluin, is a perfect example of what visitors seek to find in a travel experience going where the locals go for something that is truly authentic.

“While our beaches and sunshine may be a primary attraction for many visitors, we know there is far more depth to the region’s tourism menu. The beauty is the diversity of produce available across the region and the close proximity between experiences; so you can enjoy time at the beach in the morning and a short drive later be tasting fresh prawns off a trawler or enjoying fresh cheeses and craft brews in the lush hinterland.

“From the region’s earliest days, the Sunshine Coast has been synonymous with food. A great dairy region is now producing some of the finest cheese-makers. The establishment of Buderim Ginger and some of Australia’s largest herb and spice producers has been a natural segue for the growth of an incredible range of Asian-inspired cooking schools. And, of course, our coast is a fishing haven, with Mooloolaba and Tin Can Bay prawns and Noosa mud crabs now established as favourite menu items for chefs around the world.

“We look forward to working with Alejandro to take the Sunshine Coast food story to the next level. In fact, it is our privilege to be working with him,” added Mr Latchford.

Alejandro is the second Ambassador to be appointed to VSC, following the successful signing in early 2017 of local musician, Dan Horne, whose song ‘This Town’ has been featured in tourism campaign commercials.

About Alejandro Cancino 
Argentinean born Alejandro Cancino has captured us with his dynamic and internationally trained palate since his arrival in Australia.  He has worldwide experience, including working in one of the world’s top ranked restaurants, Mugaritz, in Spain.  In 2008, he was awarded Young Chef of the Year in the U.K. and in 2013 was honoured by Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards for Best New Talent, in addition to being named Chef of the Year 2013 by The Good Food Guide.

During Alejandro’s tenure at Bulgari Hotels, Tokyo, the restaurant was awarded one Michelin Star. In Brisbane, Alejandro has put all his experience and natural talent to excellent use and has achieved three hats for Urbane and one hat for The Euro.

Now he’s moving to the Sunshine Coast to expand his vegan manufacturing company, Fënn Foods, and work towards his dream of a plant-based restaurant.