Gourmet on the go

Six tasty treats to spice up your winter dining from RACQ food writer Kerry Heaney.

Find the best fish and chips in Australia

It’s time to topple Frying Nemo, the Northern Territory winner of the 2017 National Fish and Chips Award.

Voting for 2018 starts on 1 August and closes on 15 September giving all Australians the chance to nominate and vote for their favourite fish and chip shops, and the fishers and farmers who make it possible.

In addition to the national award, there is a People’s Choice State Award where consumers identify the top stores for judging and the National Judged Fish and Chips Award with the winners selected by a mystery panel.

Follow the awards on facebook.com/catchoftheyear or find out more about the awards at fishandchipawards.com.au.

Have a whale of a time at Straddie

Take off for North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah) on a Sunday to enjoy a relaxed long table style lunch at Whales Way Restaurant, Point Lookout.

Head chef and owner Matt Wells has created a three to five course share plate menu designed for large groups or couples as a Sunday afternoon feast.

“The menus will be based on modern Italian food which goes back to our roots which I have missed,” Matt said.

“Locally sourced ingredients will feature and there will be something unique each week.”

Each course costs $11 per person and you can choose how many courses to enjoy. Be sure to book ahead for the fortnightly lunches which start at 12pm and finish around 3.30pm, depending on how many courses you eat.

Cooking school on the move

Top culinary institute Vanilla Zulu has expanded and moved to the heart of the burgeoning Teneriffe-Newstead precinct.

Chef and owner of Vanilla Zulu Culinary Adventures, Melanie Alafaci, said her flourishing cooking school had outgrown the original Wilston-based premises which she opened in 2011 to inspire and fire-up people’s passion for good food.

Mel’s strategic move to the generously proportioned Teneriffe premises ensures Vanilla Zulu is well-quipped to accommodate the new public classes on offer, while the hugely popular team building events can comfortably up to 80 people.

To date more 40,000 people have sliced and diced, peeled and poached, stirred and sautéed, trussed and tempered, blanched and whipped food into submission at Vanilla Zulu. The classes are spontaneous, playful and hands-on. Suitable for beginners and amateur cooks, each sees the chef spill secret techniques. Lunch or dinner also is included.

And if you’re wondering where the name came from, vanilla-blonde-haired Mel is from Zimbabwe (Zulu country). The name fits perfectly!

Balfour Kitchen Spices It Up

The Balfour Kitchen, located at Spicers Balfour Hotel in Brisbane’s New Farm, has launched a new Vietnamese-inspired menu with award winning Executive Chef Dan Jarrett at the helm.

“The Balfour Kitchen offers a Vietnamese twist with a hint of French, and I’m confident it will be a hit with locals and visitors,” Jarrett said.

Vietnamese flavours are found throughout the menu including Vietnamese beef tartare, fermented tofu and preserved Chinese olive, yolk, puffed rice paper. The French hint can be seen in dishes such as the Vietnamese coffee brulee, lotus tea meringue, fried cacao truffles with chilli chocolate.

“The Balfour Kitchen is ideal for people living in the area wanting a mid-week meal, and for our in-house guests that have the luxury of enjoying a drink at our rooftop bar before going downstairs for an Asian-inspired dish,” Jarrett said.

Say hello to Mr. Black

What happens when a chef and a sommelier create a winter cocktail?

Say hello to Mr. Black’s Martini, a winter cocktail now starring at the Bacchus Bar. Almost a dessert, this luscious libation was created by Head Sommelier Andrew Giblin and Head Chef Massimo Speroni. It is a winter-warming twist on two timeless classics – the old-fashioned whiskey cocktail meets an elegant espresso martini.

Resting at the bottom of the martini glass is the complex and premium Bunnahabhain 12-year-old Islay single malt scotch whiskey and Mr. Black’s Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur, and above it lies a single piece of honeycomb sitting between layers of premium Valrhona chocolate. The magic finishing touch is white hot chocolate cream poured over the top.

Find Bacchus at the Podium Level of Rydges Hotel South Bank.