BENDIGO is well on its way to becoming a "foodie epicenter", says former Masterchef contestant Alice Zaslavsky.
"It makes me very proud to be a Victorian," Ms Zaslavsky said.
"I'm actually looking forward to coming back and bringing my fiance back and doing a road trip of the Heathcote region."
Ms Zaslavsky was in Bendigo at the weekend for the inaugural Vegecarian Festival at the Great Stupa.
She hosted served up a vegetarian curry during an outdoor cooking demonstration.
Ms Zaslavsky said Bendigo's new festival was a fantastic initiative and said she had been lucky enough to tour the city with representative from Bendigo Tourism.
They took us out on a a bit of a foodie tour of Bendigo," she said.
"It's just been incredible.
"I'm so inspired to go home and tell all my friends about it.
"What was interesting for me to see was the reinvigoration of the town.
"That's something that I've taken away from seeing all the different places.
"For example, we went over to the new sourdough place and just being able to learn all the history of what the building once was and what's now been created.
"It feels like Bendigo's on its way to being a foodie epicenter, one of the epicentres of Victoria."
The Vegecarian Festival attracted more than 1200 people and 200 dogs.
Great Stupa chairman Ian Green said the new festival was well-received by central Victorian residents and visitors who traveled from Melbourne.
"We're very happy with how it all went," Mr Green said.
"It lays a very good foundation and is the signs of things to come for this festival."
Mr Green said organisers were committed to making the festival an annual event.