New chef, new menu
Subo has a new head chef - Michael Portley - who has worked at Adelaide's Africola, and at Porteno and Bodega in Sydney. His "Beginning of Spring" menu is introduced next Tuesday, September 10, and includes dishes like silver trevally sushi, poached leeks and hibachi grilled lamb ribs. Make a booking and find out what all the fuss is about.
Nor Easter at yacht club
Chef Tony Harrison and his team are moving on from Bistro Lowlands, at Lowlands Bowling Club. It is being taken over by Little Castro, and Harrison is opening Nor East Bistro at Newcastle Yacht Club. He says diners can expect a "fresh, quality, seasonal menu featuring classic bistro favourites and exciting specials".
Sweet new dessert
The Bon Pavilion's executive chef, Sean Connolly, has introduced the Dropped Softie to the Gosford restaurant's menu. It's essentially a soft-serve ice-cream with a selection of both dairy and non-dairy options dropped on a plate. The Bon is a John Singleton venture involving Karina and Brian Barry who own Bells at Killcare.
Franky's Lou Zhou Noodles at Carrington turns one on Saturday (September 7) and to celebrate, there will be karaoke and a special set-price banquet. Bookings advised.
Wine festival countdown
The second annual End 2 End Festival returns to the Hunter Valley next Saturday, September 14. The event is spread across four venues, accessible by shuttle bus, and features 20 wineries. Details and tickets at end2endfestival.com.au.
The Hunter Valley's Macquariedale Organic Wines is flying the flag for the region during National Organic Week Australia, which runs from September 9 to 14.
The nationwide week of activities and events aims to increase awareness of the benefits of organic products and farming production systems.
At 2.30pm on September 14, Macquariedale is opening its doors for a behind-the-scenes tour of its certified organic and biodynamic vineyard, led by owner and winemaker Ross McDonald. Visitors will learn how Macquariedale is using organic and biodynamic farming practices to grow grapes of exceptional quality, and enjoy a guided wine tasting and local cheeses.
The winery is at 170 Sweetwater Road, Rothbury, and tickets cost $20 ($15 for wine club members).
"As consumers, you want food you can recognise and trust. Buying organic products supports food safety, health, good nutrition and the environment," National Organic Week ambassador Costa Georgiadis said.
"Products that carry the logo of an accredited organic certification body are guaranteed to be genuinely organic."
Gateshead griller on fire
Amy Williams has worked at Nando's Kotara for the past four years. She grew up in Gateshead, moved to Kotara South and will soon be flying to Dublin, Ireland, to compete in the International Master Griller competition after winning a spot on Nando's Australian team.
Nando's created the international competition nine years ago to recognise and celebrate grillers working across Nando's restaurants world-wide.
To earn her place on the team of four, Williams first had to out-grill the competition at a regional level to earn a spot on the NSW team. She then travelled to Melbourne for the Nando's Australia Master Griller competition in August, competing against 15 other flame-grillers in front of a panel of expert Nando's judges. Each competitor was assessed on a set of criteria including the art of the flame-grill which incorporates taste, tenderness, basting skills and grilling patterns.
She will depart for Ireland on September 20 with three other national winners from NSW and Western Australia to compete against Nando's grilling champions from around the globe.
Williams, who is studying nursing at university, is excited to compete overseas and meet other grillers from across the globe.
"Being recognised as one of the four best grillers in Australia is awesome, especially since everybody deserved to win," she said.
"Nando's was my first job. I've had multiple jobs - clothing stores, a pizza delivery driver, working at a fish and chip shop - but Nando's has always been my priority.
"It still hasn't hit me and honestly, I have no idea if I am in with a chance of winning. It would be cool to win but that's not why I'm going. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Dine for a good cause
Tickets are still available to next week's Wine and Dine for Disability fundraiser for ConnectAbility, which encourages and supports people with a disability to be part of the community.
Funds raised at previous Wine and Dine for Disability events, ConnectAbility executive officer Margaret Taylor told Food & Wine, have enabled them to "offer work ready skills such as teamwork, reliability and commitment through participation in a grounds maintenance project. We have been able to give others a taste of the world through the purchase of a virtual reality system allowing people to experience activities that are difficult to access because of their disability such as scuba diving, concerts, or certain work roles.
"Wine and Dine has also provided career opportunities for the students from Callaghan College who have gone on to work as apprentice chefs.
"ConnectAbility is so thankful for the generous donation of time and skills by the chefs, wine and beer makers, Callaghan College students and Marina Views Function Centre owners and staff - and especially Colin Law and the Commonwealth Bank as we couldn't have a function without them."
Wine and Dine for Disability 2019 is on Monday, September 9, at Marina Views Function Centre. Tickets are available now at stickytickets.com.au, by emailing email@example.com or by phoning 4962 1000.
Italian dinner at Sprout
Sprout Dining at The Crown & Anchor Hotel is celebrating spring at its first official monthly Supper Club event this Friday, September 6. The menu will be rustic Italian with a focus on fresh local ingredients. Two courses cost $46; three courses $60. If you haven't dined at Sprout before, you really should. Owners Tom and Jacque Brown are both talented and passionate chefs keen to get creative in the kitchen after closing the restaurant last month to focus on the events and catering side of their business. To book your seat at Friday night's dinner, phone 4927 1138. To join the Sprout Dining Supper Club email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Growing MKR family
Congratulations to Luke Stewart and his wife Alex who are expecting baby number two in December. Stewart and Matt Gawthrop won this year's season of My Kitchen Rules.
Winning menu revived
Chefs Jonathan Heath and Tom Harris of Vincent St Kitchen + Bar at Cessnock will be replicating their winning 2019 Chef's Table menu at a special dinner on October 3. Tickets cost $70 for three courses plus canapes and bubbles on arrival. Bookings essential by phoning 4005 6766.
Gamble & Brown Cafe will host the first Providore Pop-Up this Saturday, September 7, at Kotara Home. The event will kick off at 8am and run on the first Saturday of every month. Also on board this week is The Whole Food Company and The Butchery on Brunker.
Enter to win
In Chyka Celebrate, the queen of home making and event planning, Chyka Keebaugh, shares her interpretation of holidays from around the world. She explores a diverse range of customs and traditions and adds her own creative spin. And, of course, there's a delicious recipe and cocktail (or two) along the way. There are creative suggestions for decoration, food and drinks, invitations and small gifts. Beautifully photographed and illustrated, Chyka Celebrate can help you entertain in style in any season.
Chyka Celebrate isout now through Hardie Grant Books, RRP $40.Food& Wine has a copy to give away. To enter, send the words "Chyka Celebrate" with your name, address and number to email@example.com. Entries close on Monday (9/9/19) at 9am.
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