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FUN: Front row: Leigh Boys, Monique Maguire, Cameron Cansdell. Back row: Nathan Bunting, Troy Rhoades-Brown, Ryan Baird and Gareth Williams. Picture: Edward Cross

FUN: Front row: Leigh Boys, Monique Maguire, Cameron Cansdell. Back row: Nathan Bunting, Troy Rhoades-Brown, Ryan Baird and Gareth Williams. Picture: Edward Cross

Five of the Hunter region’s best chefs will be cooking up a storm at next month’s OzHarvest Luncheon and a handful of tickets are still available. 

But you’d better be quick. 

The fundraiser will be held at Merewether Surfhouse on October 15. OzHarvest founder Ronni Kahn is guest speaker. Tickets are $295 per person by phoning 4940 0767 or emailing monique.maguire@ozharvest.org.

Putting on their aprons for the five-course, wine-matched lunch will be Troy Rhoades-Brown (Muse Restaurant, Muse Kitchen); Leigh Boys (Scratchleys on the Wharf, Battlesticks); Ryan Baird (Merewether Surfhouse, Parry Street Garage); Cameron Cansdell (Bombini) and Gareth Williams (Restaurant Mason).

OzHarvest began in 2004 and is Australia’s leading food rescue organisation. Good food from restaurants and cafes that would otherwise go to waste is delivered to people in need instead.

OzHarvest Newcastle kicked off in February 2010 and has since saved more than 1.5 million kilograms of food from landfill – that’s 4.5 million meals. OzHarvest Newcastle supports 95 agencies in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Cessnock and Port Stephens areas including boarding houses, women’s and children’s refuges, youth accommodation services, school breakfast programs, neighbourhood centres and refugee services.

There are three vans, nine staff and more than 100 volunteers linked to the Newcastle office.

OzHarvest Newcastle also runs the NEST program (Nutrition Education Sustenance Training) which provides tailor-made workshops to charity agencies about healthy eating, nutrition education and practical cooking skills. In the past two years close to 300 participants have attended 88 workshops.

Businesses interested in donating food to OzHarvest should phone 4940 0767.

Pasta perfection

Coal River & Co has a new spring menu and, rest assured, Food & Wine plans to sample it sooner rather than later. The spaghetti with crab, chilli, white wine and zucchini flowers, or with beetroot, goats cheese, lemon and rocket, sounds delicious. 

Bollywood cruise

Mumbai Madness returns to Port Stephens this Saturday, September 23, by popular demand.  Diners set sail from D’Albora Marina Nelson Bay at 6.30pm on board Moonshadow – TQC and are served an authentic Indian feast by executive chef and host Shivpal Chandra Joshi and his partner Meena.

Joshi has drawn on family recipes and fresh local produce when putting together the massive menu. Highlights include the Goan jhinga masala, which combines spicy marinated Port Stephens prawns with a touch of creamy coconut, and the paneer mutter masala made with fresh cottage cheese. Even the breads are made by hand and freshly cooked on board on the night. Joshi grinds flour and water by hand and forms a soft dough to make traditional chapatti which differs in flavour and texture from village to village. 

Bookings at moonshadow-tqc.com.au. 

Game on

The online battle to win over Newcastle diners is starting to heat up. Food & Wine spoke to Newcastle’s “Tinder” for food, Crave, last month and Uber Eats has just rolled out. Now Menulog are making their pitch, reminding diners that the online ordering and food-delivery App has 35 restaurant partners across the greater Newcastle area.  Whatever your choice, competition is alive and well and that is good news for those of us who love their food – and can’t always be bothered to cook.

Wine dinner

The Geoff Merrill Wine Dinner is being held at Awaba House on October 22. Tickets cost $120 per person and include an oyster shucking station, canapés and bubbles on arrival in the garden and a four-course dinner paired with Geoff Merrill reserve wines. To finish, a local and imported cheese platter will be served. Geoff Merrill will be MC for the night and chef David Cross from Babbington’s Bar & Grill is designing the menu. Phone 4950 6366 to reserve your seat.

Tastes of Orient

A Night Noodle Market will be held at Hamilton’s Gregson Park on October 14 as part of Newcastle China Week. From 4pm to 9pm you can join a communal dining table under the marquee or bring a picnic rug and enjoy a night of music, dance and food. 

Communal feast

Street Feast Newcastle returns to Market Street Lawn this Saturday, September 23, 4pm to 8pm. Bring a rug and an empty stomach.

Food truck feast

The next Winter Food Truck Get Together is on September 30, noon to 4pm, at Queens Wharf in Morpeth. Enjoy a bite to eat by the river.

Bavarian fun

The Royal Crown Hotel at Dudley is getting in on the Oktoberfest action. From 2pm on October 14 German beers will be poured, there will be beer hall seating, German food, best-dressed prizes and even Bavarian dancing. Sounds like a bit of fun. Entry is free. 

Happy birthday

Pickled & Pressed is celebrating its first birthday on October 21 with a Candlelit Degustation. For $65 per person guests will enjoy a mixed entree plate, a choice of two main courses, dessert and hot and cold drinks. Bookings essential.

Sweet night cap

Sephardim at Warners Bay has new Middle-Eastern ice-cream flavours and desserts to choose from. If you don’t feel like dinner, book a late table and wander in for a night cap and a sweet treat. 

Young talent

Billy Fox and Ben Richards.

Billy Fox and Ben Richards.

Carrington Place chefs Billy Fox and Ben Richards have taken home two medals in this year’s Nestlé Golden Chef’s Hat Award national finals. 

Representing regional NSW, they won silver for their entree (confit of ocean trout, pan-seared scallop, prawn and avocado ice-cream with coconut rice, charred cucumber and green curry sauce) and bronze for their dessert. To score a spot in the national finals they competed against 290 young chefs at a series of cooking competitions. This year’s national champions were South Australians Abbey Wendland and Mahlet Girma.

Fox and Richards said: “We loved the open kitchens and big crowds, it really added to the atmosphere – and the pressure. We can’t say everything went perfectly but we were very happy overall.”