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It’s a wrap!

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

After more than eight months of planning, preparing, arranging, freaking out, rearranging, getting excited and getting things done we held our third and biggest fundraising event yet. The Spring Dinner was a feat, spanning both Perth and the South West’s finest restaurants.

People Who Care were the recipients of the WA community’s generosity and through this generosity we raised a total of $21,360! All of which goes directly to their ‘Power A Pensioner’ program that has been established to help enrich the lives of WA’s struggling pensioners.

We would like to thank all the restaurants, all of the sponsors and our guests who donated to this important cause. Your efforts will be incredibly appreciated by those whose lives you will touch as a result of your kindness. Also a huge thank you to the time, effort and brain power of our incredible team, we could not have done it without you!

And now for the deep breath, time for a little break before the wheels start turning again.

Check out our Facebook page for all the photos from the event and be sure to stay up to date on where we are taking Dine for Life next. As always, onwards & upwards!

Farewell to the Wardrobe Woes

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Besides raising money for a very deserving cause, the Dine for Life Spring Dinner offers a chance for Perthites to don their most glamorous attire and strike a pose for the cameras of media outlets such as I-Spy Perth and the Sunday Times Magazine.

So for all of those considering attending the Dine for Life Spring Dinner, but are unsure of what to wear, we’ve got you covered: why not don a frock from local designer Aurelio Costarella?

The WA-based designer has dressed the likes of Rihanna, Sharon Stone and Eva Mendes, and is fast becoming an internationally recognised luxury brand. His Spring 2011 collection features exquisitely feminine pieces in nude and neutral tones, embellished with sequins and feathers. And with a lookbook of 24 unique designs, there’s definitely something for everyone.

As if you needed another reason to consider wearing a Costarella creation, here’s one more: not only was the designer a generous sponsor of last December’s Summer Dinner, he’s offering even more for the attendees of the Spring Dinner. Costarella is providing two door prizes (pictured above) valuing $500 each to be won by two lucky attendees of the secret after party.

And perhaps the most generous gesture is the 20% discount Costarella is extending to guests in the lead up to the event upon presentation of a Dine for Life ticket at Post Emporium in North Perth.

“This is the second year that Aurelio Costarella has become involved in Dine For Life,” the designer says. “We are proud to be associated with this event that is run by an inspiring team of ambassadors that unite the community, cleverly combining charity and dining. The result is an experience that benefits all, not just on the night but into the future.”

It’s never felt so good to look so good.

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.”

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.

Escape to the Mediterranean

Friday, November 12th, 2010

The best Italian meals are home cooked and shared by friends in an intimate, cosy atmosphere. That’s exactly the experience Albasio La Pegna creates at his newly refurbished Rialto’s – a Subiaco institution and one of the ten restaurants on board for Dine for Life’s Summer Dinner.

In a recent interview, Albasio told us, “I would like them to feel what we at Rialto’s try to project: a 100% Mediterranean feel at an eatery that makes you feel like you’re stepping away from your world and entering into another.”


Restaurant Amuse Named Best Australian Eatery

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

While Dine for Life’s primary objective is to raise awareness and funds for deserving charities, we are also passionate about invigorating Perth’s mid-week dining culture. For our events, we specifically choose restaurants that we consider to contribute the most to Perth’s growing reputation as being Australia’s up-and-coming culinary hotspot.