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Posts Tagged ‘food’

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Help out just by dining out

By dining at participating StreetSmart restaurants between the 9th November to 24th December 2009 you can help change someone’s life. A voluntary $2 donation will be added to your table’s bill. It’s a simple, effective way to support small grassroots projects for the homeless.

StreetSmart is a unique bridge between the community and small, grassroots agencies that assist people experiencing homelessness. They support critical services and emergency aid as well as projects that promote social inclusion, empowerment and sustainable change for people who are homeless. When money is raised from the public through they’re fundraising events, 100 per cent of donations are distributed in the form of grants. To date they have raised and distributed over $830,000 to 188 grassroots projects.

So what are you waiting for? Go online to find out which restaurants are supporting this wonderful cause & you can also donate online right here.

First date bars in Sydney – Top 10

Whether you are looking to make a good first impression or scouting for something that is charming, stylish and whimsical to take that someone special, you can’t go wrong with these trending establishments. Break the ice in style at these classy drinking spots.

Bennelong Bar, Opera House
Ambience There’s really nothing like sitting beneath the sails of Jørn Utzon’s Opera House, sinking back in curved chocolate seats with a glass of wine and taking in the view. What to order Award-winning sommelier John Clancy’s wine list runs the gamut from the Barossa to Bordeaux and everywhere vine-worthy in between. Clancy’s list also includes magnums of 1990 Dom Perignon (you know. Just in case). The crab sandwiches are essential. In the know There’s not a bad seat in the house – every plush seat has killer views of Sydney Harbour – but it’s best at sunset.

Shore Club, Manly
Ambience Shore Club isn’t just a summer bar – it offers the best of beachside drinking in winter, too. The roof at Shore Club peels down to show the beachfront and let in the breeze. What to order Order the Pimms cup to share. Trust us. In the know Head right up to the roof for a private tent – there are heaters up there in the winter so you won’t freeze.

Zeta Bar, Hilton Sydney

Ambience Head bartender Grant Collins and company can make you anything you care to name. The space is sophisticated with dark nooks, squishy banquettes and a long, polished bar. And if it’s a bit of fresh air you’re in need of, there’s a huge balcony looking over the QVB.  What to order Try a ‘sensory experience’ cocktail – fun, 10-minute experiences that involve being blindfolded and played music from an iPod. The ‘Tiki’ involves being sprayed with coconut scent and drinking out of a huge pineapple. In the know The lounges out the back are a great place to hide if you’ve had one too many Manhattans (or the date is going especially well… ).


Electrolux Appetite for Excellence 2009

“The Electrolux Appetite for Excellence state finals were very challenging this year and the finalists did an amazing job. It’s not an easy task to prepare a dish for the likes of Guy Grossi or Tetsuya Wakuda! These finalists are a shining example of the incredible young hospitality talent we have in Australia,” said Luke Mangan.

The finalist chefs from across the country participated in a professional ‘cook off’, racing against the clock to prepare a main dish for a judging panel of Australia’s leading chefs, including Guy Grossi, Peter Doyle and Tetsuya Wakuda. The finalist waiters put their palates to the test with a blind food and wine tasting, and demonstrated their customer service skills under careful scrutiny of judges including Lisa Van Haandel, Luke Stringer, Sam Christie and Tony Papas.

The following young aspiring professionals will continue through the competition to the national judging:

Electrolux Young Chef Finalists

Ian Atkinson, Universal, NSW
Peter Kelly, Alchemy, QLD
Matthew Dempsey, Pettavel Winery & Restaurant, VIC
Ayhan Erkoc, The Manse, SA
Jessica Jackson, Daniel Alps at Strathlynn, TAS
Brendan Pratt, Frasers, WA

Electrolux Young Waiter Finalists

Fleur Elson-White, Tetsuya’s, NSW
Ramon Arnavas, Restaurant Two, QLD
Alice Heath, Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove, VIC
Mark Reginato, Sparrow Kitchen & Bar, SA
Adnan Crees-Morris, Daniel Alps at Strathlynn, TAS
Alyce Hall, The Richardson Hotel, WA
Raechell Petty, Il Piatto, Darwin, NT

Electrolux Young Restaurateur Finalists

Danielle Gjestland, Wasabi, QLD
Alex Kearns, Glebe Point Diner, NSW
Zoe Ladyman, Libertine, VIC
Kif Weber, Mud Bar, TAS

Vogue Entertaining & Travel Produce Awards 2009

The winners of the 2009 Vogue Entertaining & Travel Produce Awards were recently announced at a star-studded event held at Justin North’s renowned restaurant, Etch. The Vogue Entertaining & Travel Produce Awards celebrate and uncover the best of Australia’s producers and suppliers, in categories including ‘from the paddock’, ‘from the dairy’, ‘from the earth’ and ‘from the sea’.

“The Awards are dedicated to discovering and celebrating the finest food growers and suppliers in the country. Whether you’re a three-hat chef or someone who enjoys cooking at home, these are the producers and products you need to know about. This year, the produce was of such a high standard that rather than presenting just one runner-up to each winner, we decided to add a new ‘gold medal’ category,” says Trudi Jenkins, editor-in-chief of Vogue Entertaining + Travel.

“The Awards are not just a celebration of Australia’s fantastic produce; they acknowledge the people who are committed to quality and consistency in what they grow and make, and those who promote small producers through restaurants, providers and markets,” she says. Some of the winners are listed below, for a full list of winners and Medalists just click here.






Tetsuya’s Restaurant – food review

Two Flat Whites dined at one of the best restaurants in Australia recently, Tetsuya’s. Located in the heart of Sydney in a stylish refurbished heritage listed building, Tetsuya’s Restaurant is more than a fantastic meal; it’s a full dining experience.

Walking through the gates you seem to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city and you enter a calm and relaxed atmosphere. Open spaces, gardens and trees swaying in the breeze. The friendly staff greets you at the door with class and professionalism. In fact, you will not find a more efficient group of staff to see to your every need.

Tetsuya’s have won plenty of awards, including being named in most circles as Australia’s best restaurant for close to a decade. It has also been listed as the fifth best restaurant in the world over the last two years. Tetsuya Wakuda was born in Japan. He is mostly a self taught chef through hard work and a real passion for cooking. He made the trek to Australia and learnt his trade with Tony Bilson, the ‘Godfather of Australian cuisine’.

Tetsuya’s renowned degustation set menu changes frequently. Tetsuya Wakuda enjoyed experimenting with food from an early age, often catching hundreds of fish, taking them back to his restaurant in Japan. He would eat half of them and then give the remainder to the staff. This flair has continued with his top class menu today.

Why not try chilled cold corn soup with saffron and vanilla ice cream, delicious scampi, Tetsuya’s signature dish the confit of Petuna ocean trout served with konbu and fennel, followed by terrine of Queensland spanner crab with an avocado soup. Then grilled fillet of barramundi with braised baby fennel and finally twice cooked de-boned spatchcock with foie gras and gobo and wagyu beef with lime and wasabi.

Tetsuya’s offers one of Sydney’s most remarkable wine lists, and will match the ten course meal with some of the best wines in the country. It is not a cheap meal and will set you back $200 to $400. However, this is a once in a lifetime experience not to be missed. Bookings are essential, as there is up to a six month waiting list.

Tetsuya’s Restaurant
529 Kent Street, Sydney
Ph: 02 9267 2900

Article written by Liam Gibbs

La Boheme Restaurant and Café – food review

If you are looking for something tasty and a little different, you cannot go past La Boheme Restaurant and Café. Situated in an old heritage building, a cozy feel inside and with an open and friendly feeling in the courtyard, La Bohème brings traditional European beers, hearty wholesome cuisine and the atmosphere of central European Eateries to Balmain.

The name La Boheme comes from ‘life in Bohemia’, the main part of the Czech Republic. The owners, all Czech born, have spent over a decade working their way through Europe and Australia. They have worked in hospitality over this time gaining much experience in different areas. Romana & Pavel opened the Prague Restaurant, Potts Point in 2004 before moving onto La Boheme in 2007. All four owners have a very hands on philosophy to running a business working both in the kitchen and on the floor to make your experience the best it can be.

The Czech’s are renowned for their scrumptious meats, potatoes and fine beer. If you are looking for a feast, this is the place to eat. The menu is extensive with Pan Fried Chilli and Garlic King Prawns & Lemon Aioli; Beef Stroganoff with Basmati Rice; Triple Wood Smoked Kassler Rib with Spinach Leaves & Potato Dumplings and my favourite, the Bavarian Feast Platter with the Chef’s selection of Duck, Schnitzel, Ribs, Sausages with Sauerkraut, Red Cabbage and Mixed Dumplings.

They have a wonderful wine list with a fine selection from the best Australian wines and bottles around the world. However, if you want to gain the full Czech experience, you can’t go past the beers. A huge array of brews from all parts of the globe, including the best the Czech’s have to offer. La Boheme is a fantastic place to go for a special occasion, birthday party or a quick lunch.

Article written by Chris Ellis.

La Boheme Restaurant and Café
332 Darling Street
Balmain, NSW 2041
Ph: 02 9810 0829

Jasmins Restaurant – food review

One of the most beautiful things Sydney has to offer is often overlooked by many Sydneysiders. It is quite often unknown to the tourists & backpackers that visit our marvellous shores. Melbourne often claims the title to these little gems, and I generally agreed with the folks from the south. But in more recent times, I am finding that Sydney is a lot closer to gaining that crown.

These little gems are our little restaurants, situated throughout many suburbs of Sydney. They are almost always off the beaten track & if you blink, you could rightly miss them. The locals always support these restaurants & part of there charm is the homely spirit in each & every one.

We ventured to Lakemba last weekend to one of these little gems, “Jasmins Restaurant”. Now if you are looking for authentic Lebanese cuisine then this is the place to go. Generally, Lebanese food is regarded as one of the world’s healthiest cuisines because of the use of minimally processed vegetarian recipes, in addition to an abundance of fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, and nuts. It also includes copious amounts of garlic and olive oil, often seasoned by lemon juice.

We chose the meat plate (pictured), it was outstanding with a little of everything ranging from Taboulie, Baba Gannouj, Falafel, Kebbeh Naieh, Charcoal chicken, Chawarma, bread & pickles. The meal set us back about $12.00 each. The atmosphere was laid back. The service was first class.

Jasmins is a family run restaurant & seats about 30 people. The walls are filled with Lebanese art & the colours emphasis the character of the place. Owner Abdul Ghazal & Manager Abraham Ghazal host a delicious, well run little restaurant that is certainly one of Sydney’s little gems.

Jasmins Restaurant
30B Haldon Street, Lakemba
Ph: 02 9740 3589
Email: GuzzGuzz88 {at} hotmail(.)com

Article written by Paul Hardwick

National Multicultural Festival 2009

Craving a taste of delicious multicultural food, culture and fun? Grab your knife and fork – or chopsticks – you’ve come to the right place. The 2009 National Multicultural Festival – set to unfold across Canberra from the 6th to 15th February 2009, will provide a smorgasbord of cultural delights to devour.

From the luscious all-day Food and Dance Spectacular in Garema Place on February 7, to the stunning performances of the voluptuous ladies of burlesque review A Stacked Deck on February 13, we have something for even the pickiest eaters. Remember, with dozens of performances, exhibitions, films, celebrations, music, dance and food, the 2009 National Multicultural Festival is an all-you-can-eat event.

The National Multicultural Festival from 6th February to 15th February includes several free events right in the city centre and on the weekend of 14th and 15th February on and near Lake Burley Griffin. Around town community centres, clubs and galleries join in the fun. Well-priced shows are also available at many of Canberra’s theatres including Street Theatre, Canberra Theatre and the Dendy Cinemas.

Bon appétit!

Café Republic of Australia Book Giveaway

From the creators of The Liquid Kitchen series, Beer Nuts and Good Wine, Bad Language, Great Vineyards comes the latest in thirst quenching titles – Café Republic of Australia. Dust up on your coffee, tea and chocolate skills with Scottie Callaghan – Australia Barista Champion and World Latte Art Champion, while getting a hot dose of the personal stories from 30 odd Aussie café personalities.

We have four (4) of these wonderful books to giveaway thanks to our friends at Cafe Republic of Australia. If you would like to win one of these books, please email your name, postal address & a brief 30 words on why you should win one of these fabulous books to info {at} Competition closes Sunday, 18th January 2008.

This is not your typical coffee or tea book – there’s swearing, some nudity and to put it plainly, the coarse grind of daily life of a café republican exposed. How hard is it to make it in the café business? You’ll find the inside stories in this book. The rich hot topical stories of the people who serve it up every day for Aussies are here for reading. There isn’t a word that has been fluffed up. As the cover suggests; it’s a ‘walk tall act staunch’ Australian café culture exposé.


Jake Nicolson talks food with Two Flat Whites

Jake Nicolson talks food with Two Flat Whites. Jake is a promising young chef & was recently crowned the 2008 Lexus Young Chef of the Year & People’s Choice winner. He currently works at Circa, the Prince in Melbourne as a Sous Chef. Jake is a greenie at heart, always considers the environment with his choice of ingredients & flavours. He even shares one of his scrumptious recipes with us.

Where did you grow up & where do you hang your hat?

I grew up in Warrnambool and now reside in North Melbourne.

In your own words, what do you do?

I am currently Sous Chef at Circa, the Prince. In the kitchen I spend my time driving the kitchen brigade into getting the best out of the produce and developing their skills as chefs.  I work together with the head chef in menu development and in sourcing top quality and new produce for the restaurant.

What inspired you to become a chef?

My grandmother always puts on a great spread when we visit her and I have great memories of her fresh scones served with jam and cream.  From a very young age I was always intrigued about what made the sponge rise and it started from there.  I wanted to be able to make people happy and I knew I could achieve this by preparing food people love.

What is your favourite meal?

I once dined at Le Gavroche in London which was one of my most memorable meals, it cost me 395 pound which was two weeks of my pay.

My favourite meal would definitely be Christmas lunch with my family.  If I am lucky enough to not be working, it is always a feast of many delights. Miniature turkey and cranberry pies, crayfish potato and cucumber salad, roasted venison with elderberry glaze, roasted pork with cherries and sauerkraut, smoked ocean trout, dill mayonnaise and shaved fennel, summer berry trifle, plum puddings (with coins in) and brandy custard, and of course mince pies.  My brother Aidan, sister Mia and I can always be found at the fridge picking at the leftovers on Boxing Day, making roast pork and cranberry sandwiches.

Name three (3) restaurants you dine at?

Gingerboy, Melbourne C.B.D
Lakehouse, Daylesford
Merrijig Inn, Port Fairy

Can you share a recipe with our readers?

Siena cake

This flat fruit and nut cake originates from Siena, in Tuscany, Italy.  It was traditionally served at Christmas and tastes like a cross between candy, fruit and honey cake.  It’s great with a cup of tea or wrapped as a gift.

Makes 3 tins approximately 20cm

Hazelnuts     200g
Almonds       200g
Plain flour   140g
Coco powder    70g
Candied peel  200g
Glace cherries (rough chopped) 100g
Cinnamon powder 1 tsp
Mixed spice     1 tsp
Honey         200g
Caster sugar  270g
Icing sugar   for dusting

Pre heat the oven to 130c and line the cake tins with baking paper.
Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Place the honey and sugar in a pot and boil until 115c, then pour into the dry ingredients whilst mixing.  Bake for 2 hours.  Allow to cool then turn out, dust with icing sugar and cut into wedges.

Childhood Memories:

TV Show
– Knight Rider, Airwolf

–  Snorkeling

–  Golden syrup dumplings

Fear –  Santa, who was this man sneaking into my house?

–  My school teachers and baby sitters who somehow steered my in the right direction

Defining moment – I told dad I would help him wash his car, he found me hosing his mini out on the inside.  I had to stay inside and help mum in the kitchen from then on.

Schooling memories, chore or cherished?

I was one of the only boys in the home economics class. The other boys would finish metal work and chase me to try and get to my cakes. I was laughing when they realised actually I had all the nice girls in my classes.

Where is the most beautiful place in Australia you have visited?

Last time I had a chance to slip in a holiday I went to Fraser Island, just the beauty of the place was enough to rejuvenate me and make me feel like I was on a real holiday.

From the hours of 9am to 5pm, what do you get up too?

During the working week I am in the kitchen working with the team preparing the day’s menu.  All sorts of things pop up in the kitchen that needs to be dealt with on a day to day basis.  I take calls from suppliers, read reviews, check food costings, research current trends and new produce, health and safety issues, staff issues and ensuring the team gets as much out of the kitchen as they put in. At circa we take some time out as a team at about 3pm to sit together, eat some lunch and discuss the day’s plan of attack. By 5pm the stoves are roaring hot and we await those orders to start rolling in.

Where can people see your work?

Circa, the Prince, 2 Acland Street, St Kilda in Melbourne.

For love or money?

When I started out all that mattered was getting into that kitchen and putting my head down, money was just a bonus if it came.  Most kitchens wouldn’t pay when you first showed up with your knives, I knew if I worked hard enough I could earn my keep. I love my work but I won’t lie and say I’d do it all for free.  I cook my mum dinner because I love to, but if I didn’t get paid I wouldn’t have any knives.

What future endeavours are in the pipeline?

I am really looking forward to 2009 at circa since my long time friend and colleague Lee Wright has been appointed head pastry chef  with us.  Lee and I started working together back in 1997 at the Lakehouse in Daylesford where our dreams of a running a kitchen together began brewing.  Together we travelled to Europe to expand our skills, eleven years down the track times have changed but our intentions remain the same.

As the winner of the Lexus appetite for excellence young chef of the year, I will be representing Australia in the San Pellegrino cooking world cup mid next year – an opportunity I am really looking forward to. I will travel to London to work at restaurant Tom Aiken (2 Michelin stars), visit the Tsukiji fish markets in Tokyo and travel the French wine region of Champagne.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I hope to establish a dynamic kitchen brigade in a restaurant that focuses on food that supports a sustainable environment using Australian produce, organics and bio-dynamics.

If you could invite 3 people to chat over coffee, who would they be & why?

Marco Pierre White has had a global influence on the industry acting as mentor to many prominent chefs in Europe and here in Australia.  For his accomplishment both in and out of the kitchen and for his huge contribution to the food service industry.

Ben Shewry for his natural talent and style with his food, he has a tremendous drive and gives it everything he’s got.  He has a big heart for what he does in discovering new ways, wild produce and methods to use in his kitchen.  Ben sees his achievements in the industry so far only as stepping stone for a much bigger picture.  He is a chef that is most certainly going places and a genuine all round top bloke.

Alice Waters are one of Americas best known chefs; she is an advocate for produce that is local, fresh and sustainable to the environment.  She promotes local farmers using only seasonal produce on her menu.  She is the recipient of countless awards including the James Beard best chef in America.  Her love and passion for food and the environment is inspirational and I would love to have a chat with her over a cuppa.

Coffee or Tea?

I drink English breakfast Tea, and I love Jasmine Tea ice-cream.

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