Marisa Ferraro

‘The Stiletto Woman’ – an empowering new book by Marisa Ferraro

Words by Sarah Gill – Images Courtesy of Kon Iatrou

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Mon Bijou is located in an alley way off Melbourne’s Flinders Lane. A red carpet and neon sign are the only hints of this secret little bar, evoking a ‘celebrity feel’.

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Photo by Sarah Gill
Photo by Sarah Gill

A speedy lift to level 10 and I’ve arrived at this unique penthouse venue with ‘floor-to-ceiling’ windows revealing panoramic views of the inner city skyline. Handed an espresso martini, it was hard to miss the bar with a guest lineup of martinis. Plus plenty of sparkling wine of course! The ceiling provided an interesting conversation point, with pink hexagon shapes reflecting the crowd below. It was intriguing and made for a great photo opportunity. The canapés on offer were zesty and fresh, with my favourite the moorish smoked trout mousse on a petite pancake.

Photo by Sarah Gill
Photo by Sarah Gill

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The launch of ‘The Stiletto Woman’ by Marisa Ferraro seemed the perfect fit for this luxe venue, part of the Adelphi Hotel. As the book is all about sister solidarity, Mon Bijou is certainly the place to bring the girls.

This is a book that tells it like it is. It gives you the support and pep talk you need to find your way through the issues many women face today in the dating world, and the search for the right partner. ‘The Stiletto Woman’ is about taking control of your love life and finding empowerment in that control.

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The designer crowd matched the designer venue, with guests exuding sophistication, confidence, and empowerment, ideally enhancing the themes of Marisa’s book.

“Take control of your love life and find your happiness by rediscovering the beautiful woman that is you.”

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Mon Bijou

187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC

**Sarah was a guest of Helen Reizer HRPR

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 The Cliveden Bar and Dining – Pullman Melbourne on the Park

Who wants to save the fun of bons bons until Christmas Day? From Friday 15 December until Christmas Day, The Cliveden Bar & Dining will be playing Santa Claus, giving their restaurant customers a chance to win prizes including a Global Ballooning Australia hot air balloon ride across the Yarra Valley, accomodation at Pullman Melbourne on the Park with complimentary breakfast, dinner for two at The Cliveden Bar & Dining, and free cocktails. And the best part is no one walks away empty handed, with guests at least winning 10 per cent off their next bill. Ho ho ho. There are a limited number of bon bons per dinner setting, so get in quick!


The Cliveden Bar and Dining will host a Seafood Buffet for Christmas lunch including fresh seafood like lobster, prawns and oysters, two types of carvery meats (turkey and baked Christmas ham), roast kipfler potatoes, a hot selection of dishes including Tasmanian salmon fillet and char grilled lamb cutlets, a Mediterranean antipasto bar with pickled and grilled vegetables, charcuterie section, a dessert bar fruit mince pies, Christmas pudding, and a chocolate fountain, plus local cheeses for those savoury lovers.


The price per person is $275 inclusive of unlimited premium beer, wine and soft drinks, plus champagne on arrival. The price for children is $150 inclusive of soft drinks.

To see a full menu and to make a booking, visit The Cliveden Bar & Dining website. The Cliveden Bar & Dining requires full pre payment when making the booking.

**Information & Images Courtesy of The Cliveden Bar & Dining/Kate & Co – Hayley Edwards


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Christmas Negroni & Summer Saké
Christmas Negroni & Summer Saké
People dining at Palermo

 Melbourne’s Palermo offers classic vibe…

Words by Celeste Iuliano – Images Supplied

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There’s a new kid on the block in little Bourke St! Argentinian restaurant Palermo opened with a bang this month, with a traditional street band and tango dancers taking to the street to celebrate the launch. Named after the vibrant and trendy barrio in Buenos Aires, Palermo offers a more classic vibe than its sister restaurant, the bohemian, goucho-inspired San Telmo.

However, a few San Telmo favourites have made it onto the menu. You’ll still be able to order the beef, green olive, and boiled egg empanadas, the spiced morcilla sausage, and the morish dulce de leche crème caramel flan with salted peanut praline. The point of difference at Palermo is the charcoal fire pit, which is used to cook pork, and the asado de cordero, Gippsland Suffolk lamb which stays in for 6-7 hours. The result is a tender, slightly smoky dish that pairs perfectly with papas (fried potatoes with garlic aioli), and zanahorias (a carrot and eggplant purée with smoked almonds and brown butter dressing). Also not to be missed is the vacío, a 300g O’Connor’s premium pasture fed flank steak that absolutely melts in your mouth.

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Photo by Thomas Bindley
Photo by Thomas Bindley

Good Argentinian wine is also a strong focus, and you’ll find a selection from producers such as Ruca Malen and Humberto Canale to match with the signature carne asado. Quilmes beer is also on offer, and will likely be a popular choice as the Melbourne summer heats up.

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The lively atmosphere and sharing culture at Palermo definitely make it one to add to the list for your next group night out.

**Celeste was a guest of Palermo/Kate & Co – Hayley Edwards – additional images by Thomas Bindley


Ollie Gould
Ollie Gould

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For the sweet tooths!

Cutted chocolate

Callebaut is in partnership with new cooking show, Sammy & Bella’s Kitchen Rescue, which premiered last month. 

After taking out the second season of My Kitchen Rules in 2011, show favourites and sisters Sammy and Bella have gone from strength to strength, quickly earning the title of ‘everyone’s best friend in the kitchen’ – something that can often be said of chocolate, too!

Now on a mission to help everyday Australians overhaul their recipe collection and rescue their disorganised kitchen, Sammy and Bella have called on Callebaut chocolate to help all the sweet-toothed viewers. Callebaut will be on hand as each week the pair meet with a different family whose kitchen is in desperate need of a makeover. The girls will share fast and easy recipes that are perfect for those who love good food, but are lacking the time and energy to prepare it. Creating a bespoke repertoire of on-trend dishes each week, the sisters have joined forces with Callebaut high quality coverture chocolate to create some truly delectable chocolate recipes.

With its high quality range of coverture chocolate, Callebaut makes the perfect partner for any kitchen rescue – the girls know that even recipes that don’t quite work can still taste great when you use quality ingredients, or at least you can console yourself with great chocolate after you burn your dinner!

Sure to be a hit in homes across the country, Sammy & Bella’s Kitchen Rescue is all about making cooking exciting but not intimidating.  The show airs every Saturday from 1.00 – 1.30pm on Network Ten and is available now to watch on TENplay.


F.Mayer Imports is the Australian importer of Callebaut chocolate, crafted in the heart of Belgium from Bean to Chocolate since 1911. Passed on from generation to generation, Callebauts love for the finest Belgian chocolate has no boundaries. Callebaut chocolate is relied on every day by chefs and chocolatiers around the country and the world to craft truly delicious creations.

**Information & Images Supplied Courtesy of Evil Twin PR

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Interview with Chefs Gallery owner Kaisern Ching

Kaisern Ching discusses his new Venue Specials menus offering plenty of old favourites along with a selection of new dishes to try…

Interview by Daria Kill-Smith – Images supplied

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It is rare that a restaurateur would offer up praise of other eateries, but such is the generosity of Kaisern Ching, recently discussing the new Venue Specials menus at his chain of Chefs Gallery restaurants in Sydney.

Ching may be a globe-trotting foodie, but he allows his talented chefs freedom to contribute their creative ideas, using their experiences from working in similar-style restaurants, as well as their own cultural backgrounds.

Indeed, the Parramatta restaurant’s special menu has been strongly guided by the Korean head chef, bringing forth Korean-style Mac and Cheese – a dish created with rice cake, sambal and chilli flakes along with three types of European cheese. Then there’s the Korean Army Stew (curiously made with Spam and baked beans!). Mr Ching said this was actually a very traditional dish conceived during the Korean War, whereby American troops combined their rations with South Korean troops, and was traditionally served in a helmet! I have to admit, prior to hearing that gem of history, I would never have gone near Spam – but I’ve come around to the idea. Just. Brilliant.

Ching is a man who knows his customers, with a firm handle on demographics. Having a knowledge of the population base and familiarity with what is offered in each area allows the restaurateur to devise his menus around his customers. Speaking on his Hurstville restaurant, Mr Ching explained the demographic leans towards more traditional fare – for which this restaurant amply provides, as well as offering classics with a “twist”. This allows the less adventurous the opportunity to eat what they feel comfortable with, while at the same time being introduced to the different ingredients and preparation methods on show.


One slice of information Mr Ching affirmed: ‘diners know what they want, know what they like, and can discern good quality produce from bad’. His rock solid, regular customers attest to that. And the fact that they are willing to go the extra mile and try his new specials recognises the same. Case in point: Chefs Gallery Macquarie offers a dish comprised of long (bullhorn) chillies filled with ground pork and fish paste – a combination which at first thought may have been a risky twist on a traditional recipe, but which has been a surprising success for the restaurant, in fact one of their best sellers!


The Chefs Gallery chain prides itself on sourcing high-quality produce with an attention to preparation and detail, presenting the freshest and best of food, simply. The restaurants’ open-kitchen galleries are designed to entertain diners with the theatre of noodle-making – performance art at its best.  Patrons can view dishes made to order – nothing to hide, here!

Most importantly, Mr Ching wants his regular clientele to know that their favourite dishes aren’t going anywhere. The venue-specific, special menu change – the biggest in seven years – works on an 80:20 basis. While 20% of the menu takes diners on a culinary adventure, 80% of the menu remains unchanged. Chefs Gallery regulars have nothing to fear!


And the generous praise to his rivals? Ching is a well-known ambassador for dim sim and won ton (if not one of the biggest influencers in this market), and recognises how the standard of dim sim and won ton has lifted over the years. Again, generously stating local restaurateurs are comparable to Asia now, a trend which has pushed the industry to become more creative and to come up with better products for the customer. This is exemplified by the quality of Chinese pastry elevating several notches in recent times, with chefs in Australia often trained in both Eastern and Western culinary skills.  (Check out the recently open Chefs Pastry in Chippendale to confirm this tasty fact!).

Oh, and Melbourne, when Chefs Gallery arrives, I will be first at the door – but don’t tell anyone I told you!

Instagram: @chefsgallery

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**The Australia Times Gourmet News would like thank Kaisern Ching for his time in sharing valuable insights into Chefs Gallery restaurants, for readers of The Australia Times News.

**Thanks to Cardinal Spin (Genvin In), for arranging the interview and supplying the images courtesy of Chefs Gallery.


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Tastes of Rutherglen Returns in March to Showcase Region’s Best

Tastes of Rutherglen will return on 10 and 11 March 2018 to showcase the best of North-East Victoria’s celebrated wine and produce. The 2018 programme is set to be the biggest and best on record with a stellar line-up of activities and menus for the whole family to enjoy.

The progressive annual feast features 19 Rutherglen wineries with something to taste, sip and savour behind every cellar door. Tastes of Rutherglen is the ultimate gourmet adventure offering food and wine enthusiasts the chance to discover perfect pairings of the region’s stand-out wines with local produce.

Tastes of Rutherglen is not just a food and wine lovers’ playground; the event gathers a huge range of things to see, taste and do for the smallest of foodies. While parents indulge in Rutherglen’s finest drops, little ones will be kept busy at each winery with kids’ menus, outdoor sports, play equipment, and quirky activities from feeding turtles to stomping grapes.

Wine-lovers with a thirst for knowledge will also be delighted by the wide variety of learning opportunities throughout the weekend including winery tours, coffee workshops, wine cocktail mixology classes, back-vintage tastings, and varietal masterclasses.

Festivities will carry on into the night with divine dinners, cocktails, pop-up bars and live music at several of the region’s wineries. With breathtaking surroundings and carefully curated menus, these authentic experiences are exclusive and not to be missed.

Tastes of Rutherglen tickets are $20 per person and include access to each of the 19 wineries. Designated drivers will receive complimentary festival entrance, and tea and coffee, all provided by event sponsors TAC.

Visitors can explore the region with ease – be chauffeured from one cellar door to the next by TAC winery shuffle buses ($27 per day), or hop on a bus from regional cities ($37 per day).



• Dates: Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 March 2018

• Time: 10am – 5pm daily, with additional dinners and evening events

• Tickets: Festival entrance $20 | Shuffle buses $27 per day | Regional buses $37 per day

• Purchase tickets:

• View exclusive events programme:

*Full programme available online from Monday 11 December 2017.

**Information & Images Supplied Courtesy of  Tastes of Rutherglen/Little Big Marketing – Jarryd Pentony


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City of Hobart Dark MOFO Winter Feast




Hobart’s midwinter festival Dark Mofo has recently announced a new program feature for next year’s June festival.

Dark and Dangerous Thoughts (DDT) will comprise a curated showcase of literature, film and ideas that will take place during the festival.

“We are delighted to announce the appointment of DDT program director Laura Kroetsch,” Dark Mofo Director Leigh Carmichael said.

Program Director Lauren Kroetsch - Image Courtesy of Adelaide Festival
Program Director Lauren Kroetsch – Image Courtesy of Adelaide Festival

“We’ll be asking her to draw on her wealth of experience as we program some of the more challenging and dangerous ideas being discussed in the twenty-first century. We’ll be looking at a broad range of issues, but it’s unlikely we’ll stray too far from the core themes of fucking and killing.”

In November, Adelaide Festival announced Laura Kroetsch’s departure from Adelaide Writers’ Week, where she had been director for the past seven years.

“In these dark times, we need to insist on freedom of expression,” Laura Kroetsch said. “I’m thrilled to be joining Dark Mofo, a festival that values independent thinking.”

The first Dark and Dangerous Thoughts program will be announced in April along with the full program.

Dark Mofo 2018: June 15-24 in Hobart, Tasmania

T: @dark_mofo

F: /darkmofofestival



**Information & Images Supplied Courtesy of DARK MOFO – Rebecca Fiztgibbon

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Fort Green – Melbourne


Café newcomer Fort Green is now open and has quickly become a popular eating-place for locals and visitors alike on Northcote’s High Street.

Fort Green is the brainchild of nutritionist Bannie Wiliams and designer Nicholas Cooke, who have created a contemporary health food cafe and soon-to-be-adjoining yoga studio.


This is the couple’s second collaboration following the release of their book ‘The Smoothie Manifesto’ earlier this year.

Fort Green’s minimal aesthetic is carried through from the interior design to the simple and nutritionally focused menu. The duo were driven to create a space that is uplifting and ultimately complements the clean and healthy food that is on offer.

Deviating from the traditional ‘Melbourne cafe menu’, Fort Green focuses on wholefood bowls, smoothies and speciality lattes (rosewater, matcha and turmeric), as well as their collaboration with Maker Fine Coffee.

Popular menu items include the Salmon Bowl with green-tea-smoked salmon, sweet potato, zucchini, avocado, dill and lemon, Coffee and Co Smoothie with Maker espresso, almond butter, cacao, dates, banana and coconut water, and the Vegan Pad Thai Bowl with kelp noodles, pickled vegetables, coriander, chilli, tempeh and nut sauce.

“All our menu items are created using high quality seasonal produce and we prioritise sustainable farming practices wherever possible. Minimal fuss, maximum flavour,” says Bannie.

Located in the heart of Northcote, Bannie and Nicholas are also committed to creating strong community engagement through the Fort Green concept.

“We want to utilise all of the space we have and create a strong synergy between the cafe, yoga studio and our loyal customers. Community wellness workshops, pop-up dinners and urban retreats are on the horizon when the yoga studio opens in January 2018,” adds Bannie.


Fort Green / 202 High st Northcote 3070 / 0400 584 299

Open seven days – weekdays 7am to 4pm – weekends 8am to 4pm



Instagram: @fortgreen

Information & Images Courtesy of Fort Green/Michelle Campbell Minc Communications


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Reinventing Glamour with Callebaut’s New range of Gold Chocolate

Callebaut chocolate are taking Willy Wonka’s golden ticket quite literally with their brand new range of Gold chocolate. Reinventing glamour – and dessert, Gold is sure to add that extra bit of sparkle to desserts around the nation and right in time for the festive season.

Expertly crafted and now available in Australia, the new range of golden hued chocolate boasts an intense, yet balanced caramel chocolate taste, with rich notes of toffee. The new release chocolate has been composed using the finest selection of ingredients, all in the heart of Belgium – home to the world’s finest chocolate.

Worth its weight in gold, Gold has been tested and approved by some of the industry’s finest chefs – making its release perfectly timed for a season full of celebrations!

With this latest launch Callebaut has truly created something special. Whether adding a touch of gold to your celebratory treats or creating a sweet treat with an intense caramel flavour, Gold will add a touch of opulence to any Christmas or celebratory desserts.

Chosen by some of the most respected chefs and chocolatiers around the country and the world, including Australia’s queen of chocolate and Callebaut ambassador Kirsten Tibballs, Callebaut chocolate is recognised for its quality and consistency. So when life’s sweet treats need more sparkle or more caramel, indulge with Gold.

**Available from F.Mayer Imports –



The perfect dessert to impress guests at your Christmas, or even New Years celebrations


151 g Callebaut Finest Belgian Caramel Chocolate Gold

13 g Callebaut cocoa butter

134 g milk

13 g glucose syrup

22 g gelatine mass

268 g whipped cream


  • Add together.
  • Boil together and pour onto the chocolate and cocoa butter. Emulsify.
  • Add and mix in.
  • Add to previous mixture when its temperature is at 35 deg c.

Information & Recipe Courtesy of Callebaut/Evil Twin PR


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It’s been a big year for multi award-winning Italian restaurant and gelateria, Tutto Bene. Melbourne’s beloved risotteria has again won the respected Best Italian Restaurant at the 2017 Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) Awards for Excellence.

 This is the sixth time Tutto Bene has won this award, cementing its position as one of Melbourne’s most consistently applauded eateries. The award adds to a successful run for the restaurant, which launched a series of sell-out risotto masterclasses over winter and completed a major renovation and expansion in 2015.

 Owners Luis Pampliega and Tamara Volkoff have run Tutto Bene since it first opened in 2004.

 “We feel very lucky that we’re continuing to be recognised by our industry. After twelve years in business, it’s not easy to maintain this level of regard and we couldn’t be more proud of the entire team – a true reflection of the hard work and passion they bring on a daily basis,” says Luis.

 “But of course it’s what our customers think that matters most. We would not be successful without our amazingly loyal clientele.”

Tutto Bene’s menu, which is always an impressive mix of classic and seasonal Italian dishes, is full of new creations thanks to Head Chef, Nathan Scarfo’s, recent trip back to his family roots in Italy.

“I’ve returned from my trip inspired. My family have a little farm in the south of Italy. Cooking there is simple, raw and uncomplicated. Every piece of produce has a million uses,” he says.

This approach has brought about an array on new dishes that incorporate Tutto Bene’s no-wastage approach. New seasonal dishes are incorporating every element of produce, with highlights including freshly shucked oysters with peach Bellini granita, carrot arancini with edible soil, lemon spaghettini with blue swimmer crab, basil pesto and pistachio and fried zucchini flowers with roast pumpkin, peppitos and mustard fruit. Everyone’s favourite risotto dishes remain on the menu, with some varieties campaigned for by customers resulting in four risottos never leaving the menu since opening in November 2004.

The Italian summer cocktail menu includes a range of signature aperitifs such as the Tutto Bene Mule (vodka, lime juice, Nonnina grappa, ginger ale and mint) and Terrazza Campari (Campari, orange and pink grapefruit juice). These delicious cocktails are only $10 during happy hour (3pm-5:30pm daily) and $15 all other times.

Excitingly, Tutto Bene’s award winning gelato is transforming for the holidays with festive gelato flavours including ginger bread, pavlova and trifle, available from 1-27 December.

The Tutto Bene restaurant is open seven days, until late. Bookings can be made by calling the restaurant on 03 9696 3334. Bookings for Christmas and New Year’s functions are filling fast, call or email to ask for a function pack.

**information & Images Courtesy of Tutto Bene/Fuller PR


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Read on for info on Hosting End of Year Functions, New Year’s Eve etc…

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