Tastes at the Bay returns and Hunter apprentice chefs win state trophy | NIBBLES

FESTIVAL: Tastes at the Bay returns to Nelson Bay this weekend, 9am to 5pm both days.

FESTIVAL: Tastes at the Bay returns to Nelson Bay this weekend, 9am to 5pm both days.

Popular food, wine and jazz festival Tastes at the Bay returns to Nelson Bay this weekend to showcase the fresh produce and bountiful seafood Port Stephens has to offer. 

A range of events are planned for November 5 and 6 in the town centre, at Apex Park and on the waterfront at d’Albora Marinas. There will be live bands, food stalls, cheese-making classes, oyster-shucking displays, sommelier talks and cooking demonstrations featuring signature dishes from Port Stephens restaurants.

In the cooking demonstration marquee, which will be set up at Apex Park, Paul Miranda will stage an airbrush colour application demonstration on fondant-icing-covered cakes and show you how to make a modern chocolate and ganache buttercream “drippy cake”. He will also host a croquembouche and sugar flower demonstration, while chefs from Nelson Bay’s Siennas Restaurant will teach you how to make the perfect gnocchi.

Port Stephens and Hunter Valley wines and craft beers will be available for tastings and locally grown fresh produce will be offered for sale. 

The concept was conceived during the early 2000s by a Nelson Bay restaurateur as a small food and beverage event conducted in a d’Albora Marinas restaurant. In 2004 it was developed into a festival by Nelson Bay’s business community.

This free event is the largest in Port Stephens and organisers expect more than 9000 people to attend over the two days.  

A new addition to Tastes at the Bay is the Progressive Jazz Luncheon Cruise. Guests will board the Spirit of Port Stephens from the marina and disembark at Salamander Shores and The Point restaurants where they will enjoy a three-course meal. Jazz musicians will play at both venues, making the dining experience even more memorable. 

And then there’s the soundtrack. Jazz musicians will perform live throughout the festival, including Half Nelson, Contraband, The Novatones, The Howard Ward Band, The Brass Rehab Band, Fruit Trees, Claudio and The New Orleans Quartet featuring Eric Gibbons on trombone.

Festive dinner

The McLeish Estate team is heading to inner-city Newcastle on November 17 for a special wining and dining experience to mark the beginning of the festive season.  The Festive Season Wine Dinner is being hosted at Reserve Wine Bar and will feature a four-course menu paired to eight McLeish Estate wines by vigneron Jessica McLeish.  New release white wines will be showcased on the night and chef Dave Griffin will be in charge of the menu. The event kicks off at 6.30pm with sparkling and canapes on arrival, and the cost is $135 per person. Phone 4998 7754 or email info@mcleishhunterwines.com.au.

Pudding power

Can it really be Christmas pudding time again? Adamstown Pudding Kitchen is already making delicious Christmas puddings to be sold in Lifeline Hunter Central Coast’s retail stores. A third of the proceeds will go towards funding local telephone crisis support and other suicide prevention services.  

Adamstown Uniting Church Reverend Rod Pattenden said the new partnership gave the kitchen ready-made retail stores and supports the important work being done by Lifeline to help people in crisis and prevent suicide. And the puddings not only taste good, he said, they “do good” for the community.

Adamstown Pudding Kitchen needs volunteers to help it cope with Christmas demand. People interested in volunteering should phone 4952 2724. The kitchen sells its puddings online and from its shop behind the church. It will have stalls at every Newcastle Farmers Market until Christmas and occasional stalls at Charlestown Square.  

The social enterprise business was established in 1971 and, in addition to traditional Christmas puddings, now makes gourmet puddings, low-fat puddings and gluten-free puddings year round. Lifeline Hunter Central Coast saves about 5000 local lives a year through its telephone crisis and other suicide prevention services and training. 

Spanish party

A Spanish Street Party will take place outside Newcastle Art Gallery on  Laman Street, Newcastle, this Friday, November 4 from 7pm to 10pm to celebrate the opening of exhibition John Olsen: The City’s Son. Choose from a range of food vendors and enjoy a plate of paella or tapas with Sangria – or maybe some Argentinean pork ribs with a couple of Spanish beers. Musical performances by Karavana Flamenca and Club Havana, two of the best Spanish music ensembles in Australia, will help fill the dance floor.

Young guns

A talented team of young apprentices from Hunter TAFE took out the State Trophy for the fifth consecutive year at the annual TAFE NSW Johnson’s Club Chef Apprentice Cookery Competition.

The annual competition is held at Ultimo Campus, bringing teams of commercial cookery apprentices from institutes across the state together to compete in categories of best entree, best main course, best dessert and the overall State Trophy. The Hunter’s apprentice team included four apprentices currently training with Hunter TAFE: Nele Sadler (Subo, and 2016 Brett Graham Scholarship winner), Toby Raley (Bombini), Kyle Feneley (Hunters Quarter) and Daniel Snedden (Circa 1876). The team won Best Main Course, a Gold medal in points for the competition, and were named the outright winners of the State Trophy for the fifth time.

The competition attracts apprentices enrolled in Certificate III or Certificate IV Hospitality – Commercial Cookery students.

Shawn Jeffery, Toby Raley, Mark McManus, Nele Sadler and Kyle Feneley.

Shawn Jeffery, Toby Raley, Mark McManus, Nele Sadler and Kyle Feneley.