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Anabel Dean joins the socially-distanced crowed of pandemic escapees to explore the streetscapes and epicurean delights of Mudgee, regional NSW. ‘Zest me a lemon?’ she asks. ‘Peel me a potato?’ ‘Roll out the dough?’ We are sitting at a kitchen counter waiting for Tamara Howorth to make lunch, but the artisan chef who runs The Little Cooking School in Mudgee is not just here to share her culinary expertise, she is making us work. In…

Essentials’ editor Jamie Durrant talks with Australian actress Georgia Blizzard on her new starring role in the BBC First/Foxtel Now Australia TV Series, The Singapore Grip. Adapted by Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher Hampton from J.G. Farrell’s classic novel, The Singapore Grip is an ambitious and exotic family saga set in Singapore during World War Two. Visit: Georgia Blizzard Part One: Sealing the Deal Georgia Blizzard Part Two: World at Her Feet Georgia’s performance throughout the series…

Essentials’ editor Jamie Durrant talks with Australian actress Georgia Blizzard on her new starring role in the BBC First/Foxtel Now Australia TV Series, The Singapore Grip. Adapted by Oscar-winning screenwriter Christopher Hampton from J.G. Farrell’s classic novel, The Singapore Grip is an ambitious and exotic family saga set in Singapore during World War Two. Starring Charles Dance (Game of Thrones), David Morrissey (The Walking Dead) and Luke Treadaway (Ordeal by Innocence), the 6-part EV series …

Australia’s dining scene may be in COVID-induced hibernation, but our fascination with food will be (virtually) well-fed this weekend in a one-off livestream feast starring the country’s best produce. Live from Aus is a round-up of the country’s best travel adventures by Tourism Australia: in between koala love-ins and taking a virtual dip in the waters of Moore Reef off the coast from Cairns, our most famous faces dish up a range of culinary explorations…

It’s been a long focus of Essentials to celebrate the many landmark icons of Melbourne, Australia – its sensational cafés, historic restaurants and art galleries; including its people: chefs, artists, designers and all the creative minds who have collectively shared in building the culturally rich tapestry that is the city we know and love today. British-born, Melbourne-based chef Ian Curley, like many before him, brings a wealth of knowledge and artisan colour to the region.…

I have grown up watching Melbourne Asher Bilu paint. He is a close friend to my father, Ivan. I used to ride my bike over to his house when I was a young boy, and explore his creations, his magical mystery tour of a house, and step deeply into his very private studios watching him carefully touch, construct, paint and, when resting, play his sarod. I remember well how its unusual sound resonated, and how…

In 2009, Australian cook Justine Schofield was selected for the first series of MasterChef Australia. While she was eventually eliminated in fourth place, her individual skills and bubbly personality did not go unnoticed with Network Ten offering to produce a TV program of her own, Everyday Gourmet. Now, after more than 700 episodes, Essentials’ spoke with Justine about her rise to fame and contents of her fabulous new book The Weeknight Cookbook – one we…

Essentials’ Richard Cornish recently caught up with artisan cheesemaker Andre Kogurt of Mornington, Victoria’s Blue Bay Cheese company; an interview that was long overdue. But learning to be patient in all things dairy it seems, is par for the course. Cheesemaker Andre Kogut is a patient man. He spends a lot of time waiting. He waits hours for his milk to turn to curds. He waits weeks as the curds set in their hoops. He…

Melbourne artist Ivan Durrant, who reminisces about the wild child SoHo heyday of the great Super Realist art movement. It was the end of 1975 and the leading American Super Realists, Chuck Close and Janet Fish, had just exhibited at Tolarno Galleries in St Kilda with my then dealer Georges Mora. Georges had already sold one of my Super Realist (photorealist) paintings through a leading gallery in New York. I said to my wife: ‘Let’s…

Sharing the Love: We don’t tend to celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia, but I have always loved the sentiment behind this special day. Having one day a year to sit back, relax and talk to your family about what is making you happy in life, what you appreciate and what your dreams are for the year ahead is something we don’t do nearly enough. This wonderful holiday is all about giving thanks, so, whether you do…

As the weather warms up down under, the spring and summer seasons announce themselves with colour and life, and for most of us a host of special occasions is clearly seen on the horizon. These most joyous of events inspire us via their rekindled connections with family and friends. In line with the imminent silly season, Rustik Café & Foodstore in Benalla, North East Victoria, is hosting a special book signing event starring Australian homemaking…

A captivated crowd last night packed the house at the newly re-branded De Bortoli Wines Rutherglen Estate cellar door for the Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery landmark exhibition titled: Northern Exposure – Stories from Lockhart River and Fitzroy Crossing. Flying in from Lockhart River, Cape York, and arriving to the gallery decked out in a thick winter jacket, woolen gloves and beanie; the cold climate was the only shocking element that Aboriginal artist Patrick Butcher Jnr faced as…

The Van Haandel Group has this week announce its appointment of award-winning chef Oliver Hansford (of Stokehouse Melbourne) as the new Executive Chef of Stokehouse Q, Brisbane. Ollie returns to Brisbane and Stokehouse Q, having been awarded the Brisbane Times Good Food Guide Young Chef of the Year Award in 2016, and following on from his current role with the Group as Head Chef at Stokehouse St Kilda, overseeing the relaunch of the iconic Melbourne…

I can honestly say that if I had to choose one dish that has travelled all over the world with me and one that I have put together on all of my menus, that one dish would be a Niçoise salad. I still put it on my menus today at French Saloon as I think it’s a perfect salad for Australian palates: essentially it’s a salad that lends itself to sunshine, and like the area…

There’s something inexplicably powerful about Empire – an art installation project that has transformed the 1930s Dandenong Ranges mansion Burnham Beeches into a living, breathing arts organism of gigantic creative proportion. The project also combines an elaborate music soundtrack, lighting design and a series of botanical installations that aid in the delivery of a beautifully beastly work. Developed over a course of a year, the project features both ‘pretty’ and sombre images of female faces painted…

Arriving in 1951 from Paris, Mirka and Georges Mora transformed the Melbourne food and art scene. Their cafés and restaurants offered sophisticated food and their Tolarno art gallery inspired and energised the rich and famous. Launched in the year of Mirka’s 90th birthday and her passing, Mirka & Georges: A Culinary Affair, a new book release from MUP, gloriously illustrates the Mora’s extraordinary story. Recalling his first exhibition held at Tolarno in 1970 and the…

Its no secret that the extensive 2017 redevelopment of Rutherglen Estates’ cellar door, featuring the newly established Aboriginal Exhibitions Gallery within the same historic 1880s Seppelts Cellars building, has in recent years seen a marked increase in visitation; however its Tuileries Restaurant – within the same complex – at the time perhaps had not stepped up to the mark, that is until the much needed recent arrival of French-born head chef Christoph Niklaus; who’s culinary…

Since the tender age of 19, Francesca Webster has been building a career in the luxury service industry. From early beginnings at Sydney’s Park Hyatt to Relationships & Lifestyle Manager of Halcyon House, she today continues to build a respected name for herself in the hotel industry. Last year Francesca was appointed General Manager at Byron Bay’s illustrious Raes on Wategos boutique hotel; Essentials spoke to her about her hospitality passions and love of the…

Internationally exhibited artist and Palm Island Aboriginal elder, Billy Doolan has exhibited and led cultural programmes across Australian and the world. Sharing inspirational messages and his artistic talents and techniques, he continues to educate students, dignitaries and art fans on the importance of caring for the environment. His influence has reached as far as Hong Kong and Sicilly as-well-as across many parts of Australia. Billy Doolan – Patterns of Life, opens this Saturday June 23…

Every three months for the past 40 years I’ve visited my good friend the great artist Asher Bilu to get a fix – art fix, that is. He’s always got something new that takes me on a journey. Asher’s now into his 80s, but is brighter, stronger and more energetic than any young pups in the art world today. To me he’s the greatest living artist, his only match in history Van Gogh. Both worked…

How a Scottish chef is creating a new cuisine using ancient ingredients. One of the Australia’s most influential restaurants is found at the end of a nondescript set of stairs. You’ll find them clinging to the red bricks outside an old Victorian building in the east end of Adelaide’s Rundle Street where the cafés, old pubs and cool fashion salons feather out into Colonel Light’s vast parklands. The door opens and you’re enveloped in the…

Now tell me,’ says The Henry Austin’s owner, Max Mason, ‘what was the worst part of your meal.’ Flummoxed by the question and thoroughly impressed by the quality of the food I have no appropriate answer. Mason maintains the air of an affable eccentric Englishman who bestows both excellent crisp service with a touch of well-mannered domination. ‘Good you are,’ he says. ‘Good you are.’ The Henry Austin feels like old Adelaide – a club-like…

360Q, the two story cafe/bistro and function centre on Queenscliff Harbour’s waterfront, a new venture for Sorrento culinary King Barry Iddles, is pulling in the summer crowds. Essentials took a bite at the lower-level Hooked on Fish eatery and fell in love with the surrounds. Barry Iddles stands high above the historic town of Queenscliff. He is watching a restored couta boat sailing out of the harbor into Port Phillip Bay. ‘They are such beautiful…

Photography Diana Delucia Carved into the hickory and sycamores in New York’s Westchester County is the Winged Foot Golf Club. This exclusive club is just a few kilometres outside Mamaroneck, a historic New York town famous for its skinny red clapboard houses. This leafy urban utopia is also considered to be among the top 10 most desirable places to live in New York. It is here where North-Eastern son Rhy Waddington is cooking for New…

Louis XIV, the Sun King, is famous for creating the glittering palace of Versailles and committing its court to a life of unbridled decadence. Louis liked cleaning his teeth with wine, bestowing favour on courtiers by allowing them to wipe his royal bottom, and fathering illegitimate children – about a dozen in all. He was also addicted to fashion. The king’s sartorial whims were frequent, fleeting and expensive, and the whole court had to keep…

Having experienced a dysfunctional work ethic at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Melbourne, and an abusive kitchen culture within Gordon Ramsay’s London restaurant Maze, local chef David Kapay returns home to Albury/Wodonga to open a Miss Amelie, a restaurant that shines with exceedingly well-balanced fare. Housed within a former railway building in Wodonga Victoria, Miss Amelie will see Junction Square grow up around around it. Having secured a long 9-year lease David explains that a host of…

Rutherglen’s Simon Killeen has gone it alone, sourcing fruit across North East Victoria for his new wine label Simão & Co. Essentials spoke with Simon about his pop-up label – one that’s already won multiple awards. You’ve recently launched a range of wines under your own label Simão & Co. which is gaining swift attention. What varieties have you released and what’s making popular drinking? I’ve made wines from varieties I like to drink and…

Bryony Nainby gives the great heavy door a heave with her shoulder and it slowly slides open. The Benalla Art Gallery director walks into the vault that guards the city’s art collection. On every rack and in every storage bin are the most important names of Australian art. In a corner stands Howard Arkley and Juan Davila’s famed installation Blue Chip Instant Decorator – a Room, including a chair airbrushed in classic Arkley manner. An…

The air is still and warm. The leaves on the vine are beginning to turn, some yellow, others russet and golden. Rutherglen Estates’ winemaker Marc Scalzo wanders the rows of Shelley’s Block vineyard, tucked away in the rolling hills near the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park. ‘This is my favourite vineyard,’ says Marc, the loose gravel in the soil crunching underfoot. He has been winemaker at Rutherglen Estates since 2007, creating award-winning benchmark wines as well…

This autumn, Sicilian chef Rosa Mitchell opened her new restaurant, Rosa’s Canteen, in the heart of Melbourne’s legal district. We caught up with her just before she opened the doors.  Essentials: Where were you born? Rosa: I was born Rosa Pagano in the province of Catania in Sicily. Although I was very young, only seven years old, when my family moved to Australia, I still have distinct memories of the markets. There were young men…