With just under 40 days to go, Beef Australia has unveiled its star-studded cast for Beef 2021 in Rockhampton.
The Brisbane launch event featured this year's celebrity chef and teased a crowd of political and industry leaders with a snippet performance of the world premiere show 'Are You Lonesome Tonight'.
The event took place at Parliament House and welcomed Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young - who developed the event's COVID safety plan with Queensland Health.
Queensland's leading female chef Dominique Rizzo was unveiled as the celebrity chef, leading the kitchen alongside Beef resident chef Shane Bailey.
The chef and author, who specialises in authentic Italian cooking, revealed her final dish; a reversed seared smoked beef carpaccio combined with an eggplant chilli caviar that will be available at Beef's celebrity restaurant.
Some of Australia's most talented young performers, Irena Lysiuk, Marcus Corowa and Jonathan Hickey teased a Beef first, performing two songs from the anticipated Country and Western opera 'Are You Lonesome Tonight'.
Minister for Agriculture Mark Furner said it was great to see new elements added to the triennial event.
"I think we'll being seeing a lot more collaboration between opera and beef, they did a fantastic job."
Beef Australia CEO Ian Mill said despite the organisational challenges of COVID, the event is looking like it will surpass the ticket sales of 2018.
"We're well and truly advanced, and the ticket sales at the moment are a strong indication that we'll surpass the numbers Beef reached in 2018," he said.
Mr Mill said the industry's ability to recovery was a testament to Queensland's 'resilient' beef sector.
"This industry always bounces back, nothing has proved it more than during COVID. The survival and resilience of our agricultural sector has been amazing, thanks to the best beef product in the world."
Beef 2021 is Mr Mill's first Beef event as Beef Australia CEO. He said he was excited to be bringing something new to regional Queensland.
"Having people like Opera Queensland getting involved is bloody exciting, and what's more exciting is that we can share that with regional Queensland."