HERE’S an initiative that could put a person right off their dinner. Vin Santo restaurant in Mittagong, NSW, has launched a 12-week competition to find the best musical entertainer in the southern highlands. Described as a ‘‘mix of Highlands Idol, Southern Highlands’ Got Talent and Santovision, with delicious Italian food’’, the Monday night spectacular will involve musicians and singers taking to the stage and diners voting for the best act (if they can tear their attention away from the all-you-can-eat buffet). More: vinsantos.com.au. to Bill Granger and Mark Best ensconced there, and all manner of hole-in-the-wall eateries, cafes and bars popping up in recent years. It was hardly surprising to see a cookbook focusing on the people behind this busy inner-city precinct hit the shelves, but Crown Street Cooks is so much more than just another paean to the celebrity chef. The compilation is the brainchild of the Crown Street Public School and recipes have been contributed not just by those behind the popular dining spots and other businesses on the strip, but by school canteen cooks, parents, relatives and teachers. Expect the school’s garden club bruschetta alongside vanilla cupcakes from the much-lauded Sparkle Cupcakery, or an Indian beef curry from Bistrode’s Jane and Jeremy Strode alongside an East African onion salad from a school family.
Detective loves this sort of community spirit and enterprise, and would be interested to hear of other examples from across the country. More: crownst-p.schools.nsw.edu.au.