It was a packed house at the fourth annual Wine and Dine for Disability dinner at Marina Views Function Centre, Wickham, on Monday night. The event is a fundraiser for ConnectAbility Australia, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to connecting people living with a disability and their communities.
Chefs Andy Wright, Chris Thornton, Paul Niddrie and Nick Vivian generously donated their time and talent on the night, along with support chefs. Canapes included ham hock with dijon, and brioche with sherry-roasted chorizo and feta; there was pork collar with spanner crab, macadamia and pea; pulled lamb shoulder on croute with confit potato puree, truffled pea, maple jus and crackle; and chocolate tart with raspberry and malt.
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IronBark Hill Brewhouse, De Iuliis Wines, Peter Drayton Wines and Usher Tinkler Wines handled the beverages, and each winemaker not only helped to fill glasses but also had a word or two to say about each wine - and donated raffle prizes. Callaghan College students gave up their Monday night to provide waitstaff.
Close to $20,000 was raised for ConnectAbility Australia.
Dining in the Dark
Eating a two-course meal while wearing a blindfold is a novel concept for most. For the 15,000 Australians experiencing low vision or blindness due to an inherited retinal disease, though, it's all too familiar.
Dining in the Dark is a fundraiser for Cure Blindness Australia. Diners have the opportunity to be blindfolded while eating their meal to get a taste of what it is like to live with low vision or blindness. It's an unforgettable sensory experience. Merewether Surfhouse is hosting Dining in the Dark on Friday, October 11, kicking off at 6pm. The ticket price ($125) includes a two-course meal plus dessert bar and three-hour drink package. Jason Paris - The Elton John Show will perform the superstar's biggest hits; there will be live and silent auctions; raffles; guest speakers and an informed panel discussion featuring inspiring individuals who will share their experiences living with retinitis pigmentosa, blindness or low vision.
Tickets to Dining in the Dark at Merewether Surfhouse on October 11 are on sale now at trybooking.com.au.
The Last Supper
Warners Bay MasterChef Australia 2019 contestant Stephanie De Sousa is not one to remain idle. Her latest project is a podcast called The Last Supper.
"It's been a dream of mine forever," she told Food & Wine. "I'm asking people, if they had to decide right now, what would their last supper be? Then, asking why? When did they first eat it, who cooked it for them, who do they want to share the meal with, who do they want to cook it for them? I have some pretty cool people who have agreed to come on, including Matt Preston and Poh Ling Yeow."
The Italian Cottage Restaurant is opening at Cessnock this Thursday, September 12, at the site of the former Mine Shaft restaurant on Wollombi Road. The menu will feature traditional Italian dishes and fresh handmade pastas.
Also, a modern Italian restaurant 8 At Trinity is opening on the waterfront at Trinity Point, Morisset Park, this summer for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
And is a second Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant opening at The Junction, or is the existing King Street restaurant moving? Let us know.
Frame it right at workshop
Do you enjoy Korean street food? And are you keen to improve tour food photography? Then this workshop might interest you: "An Introduction to Food Photography and Styling with David Griffen and Sukimama".
The two-and-a-half hour course is ideal for food bloggers, Instagrammers and marketing and hospitality operators. Award-winning food photographer David Griffen will teach you how to style and shoot recipe steps and finished dishes in available light. He will cover the importance of observation; introduction to composition and lighting; food and prop styling; how to style and shoot recipe steps; styling and shooting a finished dish and flatlays; capturing the drama of food; and basic camera settings and lens selection.
He is teaming up with Korean street food guru Suki of Sukimama to focus on capturing the process and deliciousness of Suki's unconventional take on traditional Korean food.
The workshop is on Tuesday, September 24, 10am to 12.30pm at The Owens Collective, 101 Maitland Road, Islington. Tickets $125 at eventbrite.com.au. Numbers are limited to ensure a quality learning experience.
Artalicious Studios at Mayfield West is hosting a Flower Crown Workshop & High Tea this Sunday, September 15, to raise funds for the Hunter Region Working Women's Group. It's part of 28 Days in September, a month-long campaign aimed at raising awareness of women's mental health and showing solidarity by wearing a flower crown. Workshop participants will create a flower crown and enjoy lunch and a High Tea. Wines will be provided by Saddlers Creek. Artist and owner of Artalicious Studios, Effie Barr, is teaming up with Kim Stenhouse from Hunter Valley Bouquets for the workshop. Tickets are $125 at artalicious.com.au.
World cup feast
The Shortland Hotel is hosting a South African feast night on Saturday, September 21. The event kicks off at 3pm with canapes, followed by a traditional South African braai buffet. Phone 4951 1844 to book. Oh, and the Rugby World Cup will be playing on the big screen. Kiwis versus the Boks.
Ride the cheese train
Cheese on a conveyor belt, sushi train style? You can thank Pick & Cheese, which was opened in London's West End last week. You assemble your own cheeseboard from the cheeses and condiments travelling along the belt. It is the brainchild of the Cheese Bar team in Seven Dials Market, a new food hall in Covent Garden.
The Maurice O'Shea Release Luncheon on October 19 at Mount Pleasant Wines, Pokolbin, will mark the launch of the 2018 vintage Maurice O'Shea Shiraz. There will be a five-course lunch matched with Mount Pleasant wines, with commentary from comedian Nathan Earl and chief winemaker Adrian Sparks.Book your seat at the table by emailing email@example.com or phoning 4998 7505.
Chef Nick Vivian hinted at some exciting news during his speech at Monday night's Wine and Dine for Disability dinner - and now it has been confirmed. Newy Burger Co is taking over the kitchen at The Cambridge Hotel and launching sister concept Chicken Cartel. It is expected to open in the coming weeks.
Dumplings at Blue Kahunas
Blue Kahunas Tiki Bar in Hunter Street Mall is now serving pan-fried dumplings on Wednesday night for 50 cents. That's cheap.
Fusion of flavours
Food & Wine wrote a story this week about chef Sunny Chae and his restaurant, Blooming Garden, at Hamilton. Well, we decided to check it out for ourselves the other night and can report the food was amazing. It's modern Australian fused with traditional Korean and Korean street food and the flavours were complex and perfectly balanced, as were the textures. Chae knows how to cook. Personal favourites? The pork belly cooked two ways and the truffle mushroom quesadilla.
'Tis the season
Caves Beach Gelato has re-opened and is trading from 11.30am, seven days a week. Spring has sprung.
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