A field day for brewers of boutique beer in regional NSW
MUDGEE Brewing Company, recently launched in the NSW wine township, is bubbling along. It has been awarded a hard-to-come-by grant of $97,000 from the Australian Tourism Development Program. With energy, expertise and excellent beers, all the company needed was a fast track for its beer cafe (at the brewery, 4 Church St).
Co-owner Gary Leonard tells Food Detective , ‘‘ this will allow us to do what we planned now rather than later’’.
The cafe will be another plus for Mudgee’s high street.
Leonard reports that the company’s three core beers, and one brewed especially for the day, were on tap at Mudgee’s recent Small Farms Field Day and were a great success. The special brew was an American-style pale ale, highly hopped, very floral . . . It’s just like talking about wine. www.mudgeebrewery.com.au.
PEACE is bound to be a thing of the past, at least for the day, when 25 young apprentices from Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Foundation descend on Peaceful Gardens Organic Farm and Cooking School at Koonwarra, on Friday, in the recently inundated Gippsland region of Victoria. The apprentices will be there to see how an organic farm works and gain traditional kitchen skills, all par for the course at the school. www.theorganicfix.com.
ROCKPOOL Bar & Grill Melbourne design firm Bates Smart has been called in to refurbish Neil Perry’s original Rockpool Sydney. For a tab of $600,000, a ‘‘ softer Rockpool’’ will emerge, with customdesigned furnishings, muted colour scheme and diffused light (including screening the skylights). The new look will set the scene for a change in opening hours: Rockpool will now offer lunch Monday to Friday and dinner Monday to Saturday; the oft-lamented carte will also be back. The stylish signature chairs will remain. www.rockpoolsydney.com.
WHILE the southern states shiver, the sun is bound to shine on Tastes of Gold Coast, a fortnight of festivities aimed at showcasing the region’s food and wine, August 17 to September 2. www.tastesofgoldcoast.com.au.
SLOW Food Gold Coast is planning a hinterland food and wine trail coach trip that will coincide with the festival. Plans are for a champagne breakfast of free-range eggs, locally cured bacon and more. Appetites will be sharpened with a rainforest walk before local produce sampling and wine tasting, ending with a sunset supper at Secret Garden Fine Art Gallery and Cafe. Sunday, August 26, 9am7.30pm. $145 (Slow Food members) or $155. Bookings: (07) 5571 1699.
AT Sydney’s Bondi Junction, international flavours turn towards the Americas, with the opening of Guzman y Gomez Taqueria, part of a new wave of real Mexican food largely unknown here. Led by New Yorker Steven Marks, and with manager Fernando Cabral from Mexico City, Javier Perez from Vera Cruz (via some of Sydney’s Italian
MEANWHILE, Slow Food Perth is keeping a high profile, redeveloping its website and publishing an online newsletter packed with reading. Coming up in September are workshops on goats’ cheese and artichokes; dates to be set. www.slowfoodperth.org.au.
INTERNATIONAL influences will be flavour of the night when Bistro 3 at Port Douglas in tropical north Queensland stages the second dinner in its Wild about Food series on Monday. Javier Codina, executive chef at award-winning Gianni Restaurant in Brisbane, will be guest chef. Codina’s fivecourse degustation meal, with matching wines, will blend French and Californian flavours with touches of his native Barcelona. Places still available. Bookings: (07) 4099 6100. kitchens), Sophia Cesena from Guadalajara, and a team of imports, the Bondi Junction venue follows its sister in Sydney’s Newtown by offering fast food that is satisfying, spicy, low in fat, mostly unfried and made from quality produce. Forget hard tacos and sour cream. A future Kings Cross outlet is on the agenda, once building work is completed, under the Coca-Cola sign. www.guzmanygomez.com.
IN overseas news, Prince Charles has been slashed from the list of vegetable suppliers to Sainsbury’s in Britain. Many will be aware of the Prince’s organic leanings and amusing as this snippet may at first seem, there is a more sinister issue involved, and that is the insidious influence of the supermarket world, and not just Sainsbury’s.
While Charles’s carrots seem to be the culprits — Sainsbury’s dropped them for falling short of its standards — it transpires that the vegetables set out in mint condition, are trucked hundreds of kilometres to a central packing house, machine handled, washed and polished, stored and packed, before being shipped, in some cases, back to their place of origin, in the neighbourhood of poor old HRH’s farm. Charles is the victim of ‘‘ industrial food processes and imposed food miles’’, according to the organic farming charity that also fell foul of the system. Vegetables initially grown to have a low environmental impact ‘‘ acquire a greater carbon footprint than conventional carrots grown on an industrial scale’’, it said.
WHERE does Sydney’s star chef Tetsuya Wakuda take out-of-town friends to dine? Lucio’s at Paddington is one answer. Detective spotted him there with a group of visiting South Korean friends this week. ‘‘ Yeah, yeah, Tets loves Italian,’’ owner Lucio Galletto modestly told Detective . ■ Detective loves: The story from Britain’s SundayTelegraph of giant, leaping sturgeon (up to 90kg) flinging themselves from Florida’s Suwannee River to the dismay of boating enthusiasts and with
THE stage is set at Melbourne’s Crown Casino for the imminent opening of Nobu Melbourne. AsDetective goes to press, the main player, Nobu Matsuhisa, has yet to arrive from New York for the final scrutiny before an opening, possibly early in the week. disastrous results. Fractured spines and collapsed lungs have featured among the sturgeon-related injuries. ‘‘ It’s as if you were riding a motorcycle at 35mph and someone threw a 100-pound concrete block in your face,’’ a spokesman from Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Commission said. Official warnings have been issued.
And Detective loves the idea of a collective noun for a table of diners. A reader wonders what word might encapsulate such a group. (One colleague suggests: ‘‘ a degustation of diners’’.) Send your ideas on the back of an envelope, with full name and address, to Diners Competition, PO Box 215, Eastern Suburbs MC, NSW 2004. There’s a copy of Justin North’s sumptuous book Becasse: InspirationsandFlavours for the best. ■ Detective loathes: Restaurant staff reacting badly when diners mention problems. Readers Christine and Wayne Smith, of Redcliffe, Queensland, point out that inexperienced staff may slip up, but it doesn’t look good when senior staff or owners pass the blame; training is their responsibility, after all. The Smiths also note that patrons are doing the establishment a favour by speaking out; do owners really want diners to save their criticisms for their friends?
Anxious days: Charles