Archive for September, 2011

A Cherry Ripe-flavoured finale

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Attendees of past events will tell you that the vibe of a Dine for Life after party is joyously effervescent and celebratory. After all, what better reason is there for celebrating than having raised funds for a deserving local charity?

This year, however, guests will be met with a very different scene when they arrive at the top-secret after party venue of the Spring Dinner in Perth: a battle scene.

The Cocktail Gastronomy team have pitted founders Adam Keane and Daniel Sterpini in an epic head-to-head face-off of bartender vs chef. The winner will be he who creates the most innovative – and delicious – cocktail or dessert version of the Aussie favourite Cherry Ripe by using Great Southern Vodka from the Great Southern Distilling Company in Albany.

Perth’s restaurants are not including dessert in their meals to allow this good-natured (and delicious) battle to mark the end of the meal and the start of the party.

The Cocktail Gastronomy boys are hardly novices when it comes to pairing cocktails with cuisine – in fact it’s their specialty. With more than 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, this pair has created a one-of-a-kind business.

“We specialise in high-end catering of standing degustation of cocktails and canapés,” says Daniel Sterpini. “We’re the only ones in the world who do it as a small business.”

Their clients are people who want something different, fresh, modern and fun. And that’s exactly what Dine for Life diners have experienced in the last two events that Cocktail Gastronomy was involved in. The Autumn Dinner 2010 featured a lemon meringue theme and last December’s Summer Dinner 2010 saw the scrumptious pairing of Summer Spice Ice Tea accompanied by a Caramelised Peach Brioche.

So what has inspired Cocktail Gastronomy to come on board for a third Dine for Life dinner? Adam Keane says that while the catering company is asked to volunteer their time for a number of events, they prefer to help with those that are most meaningful to them.

“It’s great to get involved with Dine for Life because it helps a different cause each time. The causes that Natasha and Andjelka choose for each event have been fantastic,” Daniel adds. “It’s a great night as well.”

We at Dine for Life are pleased that Daniel and Adam have had the time to be involved with the Spring Dinner since they are currently busy with some exciting news. The duo is planning on opening a small bar in North Perth by the end of 2011 that will be the home base of Cocktail Gastronomy. Called The Classroom, the bar will have a retro fit-out of old school desks and chalkboards. Having a capacity of just 95, the bar is sure to have a cosy atmosphere and, naturally, a very delicious menu.

Daniel explains, “We were originally looking for an office, as a base of operations, but we came across this space and as we were standing in it, we went, ‘This is our bar’. For us, the best office IS a small bar.”

We have a feeling The Classroom will be the location of some mouth-watering culinary battles.

Raising the Gnarabar

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Earning a place in the 40 under 40 and winning the WA Telstra Business Award for small and regional business, Gnarabar has been lovingly restored by owner Anthony Janssen, from a failing business to one of the most popular eating establishments in Margaret River. But you won’t find him or his restaurant resting on their considerable laurels.

To Gnarabar, quality food and service without pretention is paramount. Sourcing ingredients from the best South West producers and building strong relationships with the region’s favourite wineries, the restaurant offers an alternate experience to fine dining in warm, rich and relaxed surrounds. As Janssen explains, “Coming to Gnarabar is like returning to your lounge room, our staff are friendly and it’s a great place to relax after a day of winery visits or surfing.”

Refreshing their menu every three months to compliment the seasons’ changing produce, as well as rotating daily specials, Janssen claims their chilli-salted calamari with Thai chilli jam never leaves the menu. “We’ve been serving it the same way for six years,” he adds. Clearly it’s a crowd pleaser, but not the only standout on the menu by any means.

With summer approaching, the team are busy gearing up to re-open the White Elephant Beach Café in Gnarabup Bay, as well as launching a new wedding brand ‘Barefoot Beach Weddings’ to offer a casual alternative to wedding planning.

But Gnarabar isn’t only about business. When asked why they came on board for this bi-regional event, Janssen was quick to answer, “Dine for life is a celebration of life through good food and good wine.  It’s very much the Margaret River way of doing things, and we’re happy to extend this sentiment to support a good cause. I knew instantly that Dine for Life was something Gnarabar would like to get behind and support.”

And with so many lives touched by the cause Dine for Life is supporting this year, Janssen is no exception, “Our participation has a personal twist for me, as my grandfather recently lost his battle with Motor Neurone Disease.  I just think it’s great to be able to do so much good through doing what we love the most.”

Serving the moon on a plate

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Lovers of the South West may not all agrees on what makes the region so special. For many, it’s the world-class wine. Some point to the stunning coastline that offers some of the best walking, surfing and fishing in the state. Others say it’s the sensational local flavours of marron, venison and truffles, to name a few.

Other Side of the Moon Restaurant combines the best of all three with its fine dining restaurant located in 5-star resort Quay West Resort Bunker Bay. Taking full advantage of its beach location, local produce and premium Margaret River wines has been the key to the restaurant’s success.

Sven Hug, the Swiss-born executive chef who has led the kitchen for nearly three years, is proud of the restaurant’s culinary philosophy – serving modern Australian cuisine with ninety per cent of the produce sourced from WA and the South West.

The current menu features pork cutlet from Plantagenet, chicken from Ferguson Valley and fresh Western Australian fish.

“Menus change with the season, and are supported by special items like the Truffle menu,” Hug explains. “Our seafood paella will be back on the summer menu, showcasing the very best of Western Australian and Australian seafood.”

Incredibly, every one of the 120 wines on the list has been handpicked to complement the menu. And all that painstaking work has certainly paid off with the restaurant receiving a rating of one wine goblet in Wine Gourmet Traveller Magazine.

Dine for Life is thrilled that the expansion of the event has meant that such a fantastic restaurant can join the Spring Dinner line-up.

Chef Hug expresses his excitement, adding “We wanted to help promote the fine food and wine on offer in the South West region as well as help a good cause.”

Bunker Bay invites our diners to indulge

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

If you’re a Perthite and thinking about heading to the great South West for this year’s 2011 Spring dinner or you’re a local in the region, the amazing Quay West Bunker Bay resort has generously welcomed all our diners to stay at their luxurious villas and indulge in their Bliss Package to get you primped and primed for the event. Don’t miss out on this great offer!

This sumptuous package includes the following options:

Accommodation in a luxury Studio villa inclusive of:

– 1 x pamper pack upon arrival

– Full buffet breakfast for 2 each morning

– 1 x 60 minute massage per night of stay

Rate: $359.00

Accommodation in a luxury 2 bedroom villa inclusive of:

– 1 x pamper pack upon arrival

– Full buffet breakfast for 2 each morning

– 1 x 60 minute massage per night of stay

Rate: $459.00

* Additional massages available at $100 per 60 minute massage

** Please book your massage directly with the Mii spa team on (08) 9756 9160 or

e-mail 7 days prior to arrival, to avoid disappointment.

*** To book accommodation, please contact Paul Devaney via e-mail at

**** No minimum nights stay required, rates are valid from 12/10/11 to 14/10/11 inclusive.


Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Boasting 22 romantically secluded rooms and suites and a magnificent lakeside restaurant that is ranked “Number Four in the World for Food” by Condé Nast Traveller, it’s easy to see why Cape Lodge Margaret River Restaurant is described as “one of Australia’s finest new generation dining establishments”.

The hotel sits on 40 acres of manicured parkland, garden and lakes and has its own 8-acre vineyard producing fine Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz exclusively for guests of the hotel.

General Manager Drew Bernhardt is pleased to welcome Dine for Life to Cape Lodge for the 2011 Spring Dinner as it launches in our South West region. On their decision to support this year’s event Bernhardt says, “Cape Lodge supports a wide spectrum of organisations that contribute to the community and charitable causes. Being a like-minded group, Dine for Life has achieved a great deal in a short period, a commendable achievement that we would like to get behind.”

Helmed by Head Chef Tony Howell who joined Cape Lodge in 1999, he was a familiar face in the WA restaurant scene having worked at some of the best addresses in town.

The food philosophy at Cape Lodge is all about absolute freshness and uncompromisingly good produce to create dishes that are uncomplicated and flavoursome. Bernhardt believes they are blessed in Margaret River’s region, which is abundant in fresh produce like local venison, seafood caught from the oceans, marron from local dams and fabulous dairy and organic vegetables. This spring they are also expanding their organic garden located on the premises to allow them to source the vast majority of the herbs and vegetables used on the menu from their own backyard. You really couldn’t ask to be served a fresher plate.

When we dine in a restaurant that serves up the sumptuous food one finds at Cape Lodge, we leave utterly satisfied but a little disappointed that we can’t recreate these amazing tastes in our own modest kitchens. Cape Lodge has come to the rescue of all of us closet Master Chefs and offers a Master Chef Experience, Gourmet Event Programs and have now launched a Gourmet Retreat & Cookery School.

The hotel is expanding its culinary activities to include cooking classes, Guest Chef dinners and residential epicure weekends. Tony Howell presents cooking classes every month in the magnificent Cape Lodge Restaurant. The cooking classes are designed for participants to interact and obtain first-hand culinary tips and recipes in a relaxed and fun environment. Seasonal Cooking Schools are also available throughout the year for the serious food enthusiasts.

So if that’s not enough to lure you to a weekend away at this all-encompassing establishment then perhaps their 14,000-bottle wine cellar stocked with vintage Margaret River wines may be what you need to push you over the line.

Small Bar, Big Heart

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Western Australia’s burgeoning small bar scene is spreading. No longer confined to Perth’s trendiest neighbourhoods, these establishments are sprouting up all over the state – to the delight of local tipple-loving foodies.

Boho Bar is one such small bar that sprung up in Margaret River in February. This stylish wine bar-cum restaurant offers a cosy, intimate dining experience and sets itself apart from the larger restaurants and wineries the region is famous for.

Masterminds behind this stylish watering hole are Darkhorse Developments, best known for their wildly successful small bars The Cabin in Mount Lawley and The Suite in Shenton Park.

Residents of Margaret River and tourists alike have welcomed the new addition, likely due to the restaurant’s dedication to showcasing the region’s best produce on their evergreen menu and wine list. Brendon Aitken, managing director of Darkhorse Developments says, “Our focus is on simplicity, using local produce. With the quality of produce available in the South West, it gives us the opportunity to frequently change the menu.”

The culinary artist responsible for keeping the menu fresh and delicious is head chef Dominic Grundy. His decade of experience was gained in Michelin starred restaurants in London and Paris, working under renowned chefs such as French chef Michel Roux Jnr. Grundy’s European influences and creativity shine through in the food he creates. “Our menu has a traditional French influence fused with modern British,” Aitken explains. “We change the menu every month and don’t carry over any dishes.”

Boho Bar is so more than just a gourmet wine bar. Integral to Boho Bar’s mission statement is the dedication to support local charities, which is why Aitken says the small bar jumped at the opportunity to get involved with Dine for Life’s Spring Dinner. “We really wanted to give something back to the community and the charities Dine for Life supports are fantastic and do great work. We love the directors and their philosophies!”

The feeling is mutual.

We have selected the charity!

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

The recipient of the 2011 Spring Dinner is…People Who Care!

It was such a difficult decision to choose just one charity out of all of the worthy organisations that applied to be the recipients of our 2011 Spring Dinner.

This cause resonated so deeply with us at Dine for Life because it is of such great concern that in today’s society and in our own prosperous community, the elderly and frail are being subjected to living their lives below poverty level.

People Who Care is a not-for-profit volunteer based agency whose aim is to look after the frail aged, younger people with disabilities, carers and other people in need. People Who Care has 37 staff supported by 300 weekly volunteers, 1000 youth volunteers and 12 corporate volunteer groups. People Who Care are commited to their mission of “realising a caring community where people who are able, look after those in need.”

People Who Care recently launched its first fundraising program ‘Power a Pensioner’. This program is about helping Perth’s frail aged, who rely solely on the pension not be forgotten or left behind in extreme poverty. As a community over the last three years we are all aware of the increased cost of living. Utilities have increased by 30%, as has transport, mortgages, rents and food costs. Yet for those reliant on an aged pension with no real increase to pensions, life has become a battle of survival.

Unlike many other problems in our community, this is one we really can put a stop to and ensure a brighter future for our elderly, frail and disabled.

For details on the 2011 Spring Dinner click here!


Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Our simultaneous dining experience has just exploded!

For those that have attended our previous dinners and know the standards we set with each event, our 2011 Spring Dinner is going to truly blow you away!

October 13 will mark a first of its kind event in Western Australia!

Not only are we holding the event in Perth but the South West region are also opening their restaurant and winery doors to host a bi-regional simultaneous dining experience! Both dining events will be followed by an after party at their respective secret locations that are announced on the night.

We at Dine for Life are thrilled at the crème de la crème of Perth and the South West’s restaurants and wineries that have opened their doors to help us raise funds for a charity that is doing outstanding work within our community; People Who Care.

People Who Care is an independent not-for-profit volunteer organisation which provides services to the frail aged, people with disabilities, carers and others with special needs to enable them to live independently for as long as possible and to avoid premature or inappropriate admission to long-term care facilities.

If heading South is something you’ve been planning on, this is the event to make that trip for. We hope this event will mark the beginning of an annual bi-regional simultaneous dinner and really set the pace for how we West Australians wine and dine with a conscience.

Click here to purchase your tickets for the 2011 Spring Dinner.