South Burnett Cuisine > News Archives > February 2004
   
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South Burnett Wine and Food News with Jason Ford

Vintage Wine Weekend At Dusty Hill
29th February 2004: Looking for something completely different to do around the end of this month? Then why not take the trip to Dusty Hill at Moffatdale on the weekend of the 27th and 28th of March. The Hill will be holding a special Vintage Weekend for 30 guests which will include pre-release tastings of their 2003 reds and 2004 whites with winemaker Stuart Pierce. This will be followed by an intimate vintage dinner with Dusty Hill's owners the Prendergast family and rounded off the next day with a lazy Sunday breakfast at Molly's Cafe (part of the miniature village being built on the Dusty Hill Estate). Dusty Hill's hospitality is famous and if you're quick you can book overnight accommodation at their own Jacaranda Cottage. Otherwise, you can find accommodation at any of a number of nearby B&B's, motels, cabins or hotels in the Moffatdale and Murgon areas - and the Hill will assist if you need it. Tickets to the Vintage Weekend are $100 per head and include the Saturday evening wine tasting with Stuart Pierce, transport to and from all local accommodation venues, all the wine and food you can manage at the dinner and the breakfast on the Sunday - so it's pretty much a complete package. Numbers really are limited to 30, though, so if you're interested you'll need to book fast. You can contact Dusty Hill on (07) 4168 4700 or via email.
Stuart Range Wines On Show At Brisbane's Pier Nine
Stuart Range's Goodger selection26th February 2004: Brisbane readers who may not be able to make it to the South Burnett as often as they'd like will have the chance to sample some premium South Burnett wine right on their doorstep in the middle of next month. Stuart Range's Ross Whiteford will be taking his Goodger selection to Brisbane's Pier Nine Restaurant for the first of their "Meet the Winemaker" sessions on Thursday 18th March. A Pier Nine spokesperson said "We consider ourselves pretty lucky to have a local winemaker as our first guest for 2004, just before he gets very busy with vintage". Ross has made wines for over 20 years with Angoves, Brown Brothers, Tisdall's and Penfolds before returning from two years in Argentina to take up the position of chief winemaker at Stuart Range. Having lectured on wine appreciation here in Queensland, Ross will be talking about his Chardonnay, Verdelho, Shiraz and Cabernet Merlot as well as the distinctive regional characteristics of South Burnett wines. Interested parties can see Ross in the restaurant's Tank Bar from 5.00pm to 7.00pm. There are no charges and attendees are encouraged to bring friends and work colleagues. Tasting notes and cheese will be provided on the day and the restaurant will then be featuring the Stuart Range's Goodger Chardonnay as their "Wine of the Week". Further information and RSVP can be made by emailing jane@piernine.com.au.
National Food Industry Strategy Workshop In Kingaroy Next Month
23rd February 2004: If you're involved in the food industry - and that could mean anything from growing or raising fresh produce through to processing or retailing it - a special workshop that's being held in Kingaroy in the middle of next month may be of great interest to you. The National Food Industry Strategy will be holding a full-day Food Chain Workshop somewhere in the town (the venue has yet to be decided) on Wednesday 17th March. The NFIS is an organisation that's been set up by the Federal Government to help improve Australia's food industry by fostering innovation, better marketing and better business practices. At the same time, it wants to help ensure that Australians carry out food production in an environmentally sustainable way. The workshop that's being held in Kingaroy is one of only two in Queensland - the other is at Mareeba - and it will focus on improving the competitive position of food businesses by developing an effective strategy to link all members of a food chain. The workshop costs $55 and this includes morning and afternoon tea and lunch. You can get more information about it and/or book a seat by phoning 1300 130 360. If you prefer, you can also register online
De-tox Naturally At The Kingaroy Natural Therapies Centre
Kingaroy Natural Therapies Centre20th February 2004: Over the last two years I've written about organic products several times in this column. Today I'm going to write about another aspect of the expanding organic foods industry that you may never have heard of. The Kingaroy Natural Therapies Centre (located opposite the peanut silos on Haly Street) now boasts the most comprehensive range of organic fruits, vegetables and groceries in the South Burnett that I know about. Last week Bowen Therapist Paul Riley showed me around the aisles of produce at the Centre's new store, which opened in late 2003 after the KNTC outgrew their original 1998 premises. "Our clientele consistently asked us for advice about how to improve and maintain good health and well being", Paul told me. "So we began stocking a range of high quality herbal products and gradually increased the list of goodies to include a big range of organics too. Our motto is: if our client's health requires it, we'll try our best to find it and stock it". Just in case you've never heard of it or are unclear about it, Bowen Therapy is the treatment and elimination of high toxicity in muscle tissues. Bowen Therapy advocates strongly believe that the consumption of organically produced foods - which are unadulterated by chemicals - will help maintain lower levels of toxicity. The Centre now sources locally produced seasonal fruit and vegies whenever possible. It also stocks a range of other products like Nanango organic honey, various juices and bottled water. I'm told that it's preferable if pre-orders are made by Friday afternoons so that they can be assembled and ready for pickup by the following Tuesday morning. The shop is open for business Monday to Friday from 8.00am and treatments are available until late. You can phone the Centre on (07) 4162 2299. Photo above: Paul Riley (right) and Ian Mackinnon (left) of Kingaroy Natural Therapies Centre
Explorers Restaurant Gets A $50,000 Makeover
Trish, Sue and Karen at the new-look Explorers Restaurant17th February 2004: Recently I visited Kingaroy's Burke and Wills Motor Inn and found that I barely recognised their Explorers Restaurant. The restaurant has been a popular dining spot for well over a decade and has recently undergone an astounding $50,000 revamp. Owners Sue Maloney and Ben Kaal said that over the Christmas period a full demolition and renovation had brought the restaurant into the 21st century, maintaining some of its original architectural charm but reflecting a modern, clean and contemporary atmosphere. The elegant furnishings and decor now create a bright and roomy ambience far removed from the classical antique styling of the original noshery. Sue said "we hope the new look restaurant will encourage more tourists to dine in the Kingaroy area and ensure that the standard of the surroundings are on par with a city location. The restaurant will also give locals the high quality food and service that they're coming to expect in our region". The renovation also focussed on the kitchen, which has also undergone a remarkable transformation with a complete refit. This was a necessity to efficiently cater for the growth of the Motor Inn, which will have several new units coming on line shortly. Photo above: Trish, Sue and Karen at the new-look Explorers Restaurant. You can obtain the current menu from the new Burke & Wills Motor Inn web site.

South Burnett Restaurant Fast Facts

Restaurant:  

Explorers Restaurant

Address:  

95 Kingaroy Street, Kingaroy
(inside the Burke & Wills Motor Inn)

Contact details:  

Phone: (07) 4162-2933
Email: suemal@ozemail.com.au

Open:  

Dinner: Monday-Saturday from 6:00pm

Average entree:  

$10.00

Average main:  

$22.00

Average dessert:  

Desserts and prices are changed daily (ask the waiter for choice)

Licensed?  

Yes
Type of Cuisine:

Australian contemporary cuisine, with an accent on reef and beef intermingled with some asian and pasta dishes. Seafoods are delivered fresh daily from the Sunshine Coast. One of the restaurant's feature dishes (“Peanut Chicken”) took a first prize at the Wine & Food In The Park Festival in 2003.

2004 Culinary Competition Deadline Only 3 Weeks Away
South Burnett Culinary Competition 200414th February 2004: Sometimes it seems that there's so much happening in our region's wine and food industries that I could write a daily column about it. Less than 4 days after I wrote about Connie Arney's new Asian Banquets at Ringsfield House the premiere night was completely booked out; and yesterday Burning Beats told me that their Indian Banquet Night now looks like it's going to be fully booked too. The recent sushi cooking class that I ran at TAFE was so successful that we had to schedule three different courses to accommodate everyone. And new Thai cooking classes that Burning Beats will be running next month are already looking like they'll be packed to the rafters as well, simply on word of mouth. This illustrates two things, I think. One: that if you're interested in something that's covered here you should act on it pretty quickly. And two: the phenomenal grass-roots interest we're seeing in Asian, Indian, Japanese and other exotic foods from local residents is an object lesson for some restauranteurs who seem wedded to the "steak and three veg" approach to their menus. Plainly, customers want a lot more variety and diversity in our local restaurants are they're prepared to back this up with their money. I think this also explains why PCA's South Burnett Culinary Competition (which will be held at the Wine & Food In The Park Festival in Kingaroy on March 13th) is such a crowd-pleaser. This week PCA released the official 2004 competition entry form (see illustration above right) and if you want to compete, you'll need to complete one of these and get it back to me by Friday 5th March. Need a copy? Call me at TAFE on (07) 4160-4428 (if I'm running a class, leave a message) or email me.
Indian Banquet Night At Burning Beats
Curry ingredients11th February 2004: Hot on the heels of Connie Arney's up-coming Asian Banquet at Ringsfield House this coming Saturday the 14th (see story 5th February 2004), Kingaroy's Burning Beats Cafe will be holding the region's first ever Indian Banquet Night a fortnight later on Saturday 28th February. Burning Beats were one of only three South Burnett restaurants selected by the Courier-Mail's 2004 Good Life Guide and if you like spicy food it's easy to understand why. Attendees at this lavish BYO affair will be able to eat as much as they like from a selection of 12 different dishes. Chef Paul Stoddart will be rolling out tandoori chicken, onion bhaji, puri prawns, dhal, beef vindaloo, beef rogan josh, a chicken curry, a vegetable curry and a fish curry; ponch potatoes; a chicken biriani and gulab jamun along with the Cafe's wickedly delicious selections of poppadums, roti breads, pickles, chutneys and yoghurts. The cost is a modest $28.50 per head and maximum numbers are limited to about 35. At least 22 of those seats have already been booked as I write this, so you'd better act quickly if you want a place at the table yourself. The Cafe resumed normal operations at their 194 Kingaroy Street premises today after a week's summer holiday in Noosa. This means you can book by phoning them on (07) 4162-3932 or by sending them an email.
New South Burnett Olive Oil Makes A Great Debut
Queensland Gold Olive Oil8th February 2004: In the last few months you may have seen a stylish little 125ml bottle of olive oil appear in your local deli, grocery store or supermarket. What you may not have known - at least, until you looked at it closely - is that it's a 100% South Burnett product. The new Queensland Gold olive oil is being produced by Alternative Rural Industries (ARI), which is headquartered at Windera and stewarded by well-known local agricultural identity Dr Bert Bamberg. Dr Bert has been advising niche food producers in the South Burnett for the last 12 years and has played a pivotal role in the growth of the region's olive oil industry, which should see 25,000 trees come into production within the next two years. Dr Bert told me that now that the supply of premium olive oil is reasonably secured, he felt the next step was to bring a premium product onto the market. And the Queensland Gold olive oil is the forerunner of what ARI hopes will be a string of new regional cuisine products in the years ahead. Dr Bert also told me that the new olive oil has been "an instant success" with consumers "even in bush regions where people traditionally prefer taste-free oils" but it remains to be seen whether sales will be sustained over the longer haul. If they are, though, Dr Bert says that his company will continue to support rural markets as well as urban ones. The extra virgin Queensland Gold oil is cold-pressed and has a gorgeous fruity flavour. You can obtain more details about it and/or find your local stockists either by phoning ARI on (07) 4168-6154 or by emailing them: ari@burnett.net.au
Asian Banquets Coming To Ringsfield House
Connie Arney at Ringsfield5th February 2004: If you like superb Asian food you'll be delighted to learn that you'll soon be able to indulge your passion once a fortnight at historic Ringsfield House. Well-known local chef Connie Arney - working in conjunction with the Nanango Historical Society - will be staging her first Asian Banquet at Ringsfield in Alfred Street, Nanango this coming Valentines Day (Saturday 14th February). After this, Connie hopes to stage regular themed eating events at Ringsfield twice a month. Connie has a long background in Asian cookery and told me that her uncle was such a food fanatic he used to bail up chefs in their kitchens whenever he had a dish in a restaurant that he particularly enjoyed to ask them how they'd made it. Connie said she'd picked up the same habit. As a result, she's been given the benefit of lots of "insider" tips by some of the best chefs she's encountered over the years. Connie's inaugural BYO Asian Banquet will feature three courses along with a complimentary glass of wine, live entertainment and a lucky door prize for the best red outfit worn on the night. Tickets are $22.50 per head and the action gets underway at 6:00pm. You can book by phoning Connie directly on (07) 4171-0683 or by calling Ringsfield House on (07) 4163-3345. Photo: Connie Arney preparing Asian cuisine in Ringsfield's kitchen at a recent Nanango business function.
Sushi Making Classes Next Week At Kingaroy Cooking School
Sushi platter2nd February 2004: One of the biggest surprises of last year was the amazing response to the Thai cookery classes held in December (see story 7th December 2003, below). Only one class was planned but the level of demand from interested locals forced Kingaroy Cookery School to put on another. Due to the success of those classes - and the expressions of interest in other styles of cuisine - I'll be teaching a "fun" Sushi making class this coming Tuesday night February 10th at Kingaroy TAFE. Japanese cuisine has become very popular in today's western culture. But no individual dish that I know of has enjoyed as greater an explosion in popularity as sushi. Sushi bars are popping up on every street corner in our capital cities, in most major shopping complexes and at airports. But Australian sushi fans are no longer content to go out to indulge in their addiction: they now want to gain the skills and know-how to make the little Japanese morsels at home. There's also dozens of books on the subject. I recently went to a local bookstore to buy a book on sushi and left with five (but that's just me). So impress friends and family at your next dinner party - you'll be amazed at how simple Sushi making can be. If you'd like more information about this course, please feel free to contact me on (07) 4160-4428 or email me.
Calling All Chefs: The PCA Regional Cuisine Cook-Off Is On Again!
Wine & Food In The Park Festival30th January 2004: The Tarong Mine Wine & Food In The Park Festival will be held in Memorial Park in Kingaroy on Saturday 13th March 2004. And this year - for the third year running - the South Burnett's top chefs will be converging to do battle in the PCA Regional Cuisine Cook-Off, which has quickly become an intrinsic part of this signature event and a huge crowd-pleaser into the bargain. Last year's winner Steve Gudzinski from Kingaroy's Red Earth Restaurant will be returning to defend his title for the best main course and wine match. And with the incredible growth in interest this event is generating a second win is by no means assured. All competitors in the Cook-Off are given a tight 20 minutes to prepare and present a main course (predominantly made of local ingredients) and match it with a South Burnett wine. Peter Howard, one of Australia's most recognised food and wine commentators, will be heading the judging panel this year and he'll be backed up by two other eminent food and wine writers. Steve told me it was important he prove to the South Burnett his landslide win last year wasn't a fluke. "I won't be holding anything back," he said. Steve's win in 2003 earned him a place on the South Burnett culinary team which competed at Adelaide's LifeStyle Channel Australian Regional Culinary Competition last October. It also lead to a two page cover story in the Courier Mail's Good Life. In any event, the stage is set for a fierce competition - pots, knives and woks will be flying! If anybody working in the South Burnett's food industry would like to try knocking Gudzinski off his throne, please email me for more details. Illustration: The 2004 Wine & Food In The Park Festival poster which will begin appearing around the region next week. The Festival's permanent web site will also be taking on a dramatic new look next week too.
Happy New Year: We're Back For Vintage!
27th January 2004: Hello everyone! South Burnett Cuisine returned to the desk today for another year - and what a year it looks likely to be. Right now our region's winemakers are starting vintage (a few actually kicked off close to a fortnight ago) and over the next month they'll be pulling in all the rest of the season's crop. Recent rainfalls have taken a bit of the blush off this year's grape harvest, which was shaping up as another boomer until the heavens opened and replenished the dams. I'm told that one Kingaroy vineyard near Goodger took a particularly heavy crop loss from a hailstorm and a few others are still unsure about what their ultimate harvest will be. Even so, most winemakers in the Booie Range and Moffatdale areas that I've spoken to tell me they're still quietly confident of another record-breaking result. They also tell me that many of the grapes they've already gathered in are the best our region has produced to date. This is partly because our most productive vines are now more than 5 years old: a time when wine grapes really start to hit their straps. We'll all get to see the results of this harvest between April 1st and some time in 2005/06 as the whites and reds are progressively rolled out. In the meantime I'll be profiling all the South Burnett wines that took medals at last year's Australian Small Winemakers Show and/or the 2003 Queensland Wine Awards in this column over the next few months. These little corkers all began their lives as part of the region's 2001 and 2002 vintages and this year we'll be looking at each one of them in detail.
 

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