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Food, Lifestyle

Gastronomique by Anglicare

One of the biggest nights on the Australian charity calendar, Gastronomique featured 25 of the State's top chefs providing dinner for 2 tables each to feed the 500 patrons, as a fund raiser for disadvantaged children. Anglicare does an amazing job in supporting the State's most vulnerable children. Now in its 11th year, Gastronomique (formerly known as Dinner with the Angels) has become a highlight on the Melbourne food and wine diary, as well as an evening in which to support a state-wide charity. This is a not to be missed event - at a different level to the oft trivia nights of some charities.

 

The vocal performance from Move, Groove and Grow, a fun and supportive music and movement program for children in Out-of-Home Care, was moving as well as entertaining. The program aims to assist children to socialise with others who share similar life experiences, encourage them to build trusting relationships through teamwork, mentoring and role modelling. Children are offered opportunities to develop an appreciation of music and discover hidden talents. Additionally, they develop skills to recognise and self-regulate emotions and behaviours.

 

We were then again reminded of what the evening was all about with this remarkable story from a beautiful girl who spent a tough life in foster care before connecting with Anglicare. From a disadvantaged background she was able to forge a successful marketing career and is also writing a fantasy novel! Hashtag #inspirational!

The invaluable support of the 25 chefs, the guests and of course the wonderful sponsors makes this spectacular event possible each year and ultimately assists Anglicare Victoria in raising significant funds for the State's most vulnerable children.

We were given some informative stats visuals on challenges faced by children in care.

Bullying is such a problem, especially for children in foster care.

The Entree of Murray cod & yabby salad, burnt cos lettuce, Escabeche was a delightful dish with tastes of the river. And of course Oscar W's restaurant is a charming restaurant in Echuca with the Murray River alongside, featuring chef Ludo Baulacky.

One of the highlights of the night was the amazing vocal performances of Steven Smith. Steven is a star Opera singer who has performed internationally and of late with Opera Australia, and who has himself spent time in foster care (in earlier years). Steven is a charasmatic guy to boot and engaged the guests with his personality.

Steven Smith's perfomances captivated the audience, with enthusiastic applause. Bravo!

 

Chef Ludo Baulacky also excelled with this main of Oscar W's spiced double baked duck, a l'orange, beetroot, cumin, honey, yoghurt. Rich and rewarding duck with spice and in generous portion, with perfect accompaniments.

 

The dish was presented attractively and colourfully and was easy to share amongst the 10 of us at the table. 

 

Wines to match were provided by Dal Zotto from the sensational King Valley and were outstanding.

Such a pretty table...

The CEO of Anglicare Paul McDonald spoke with passion and vision, with Anglicare providing foster care to children, assistance to thousands of Victorian families, Crisis Aid to 70,000 homeless, as well as services such as drug and alcohol counselling. 

Beverley O'Connor from the ABC News 24 hosted the evening and was on hand with the irrepressible Will Fowles for the auction (both pictured here with the fabulous Nicky Riemer from Union Dining). One of the key items up for grabs was a lavish dinner at your home from Union Dining with Nicky Riemer. Will Fowles is a seasoned auctioneer and looked to be having a heap of fun raising money for charity.

The Union Dining dinner was a much sought after prize and it was the Richard the barrister sitting next to me who not only bid $5,800 for dinner for eight (at $700 a head - take note Heston) but actually doubled it to $11,600 afterwards ($1,400 a head at his home). Sensational.

Dessert was exceptional with Stawberries & Basil by Lisa Van Zanten - Executive Pastry Chef Atlantic Group. The dessert wine was Winery Dog Rutherglen Muscat.

Here is a photo of the top chefs who cooked and provided the produce for the amazing meals (courtesy of Anglicare Victoria Facebook site). A who's who of the industry. Thanks to all!

A Hyundai car was the largest prize of the night from Ferntree Gully Hyundai, there was also a trip to Dubai up for grabs, as well as artwork and other prizes. Funds raised were significant. Then the band played as the guests hit the dance floor (including The World Loves Melbourne)...

 

What a night! The World Loves Melbourne was glad to be invited by Anglicare Victoria to attend Gastronomique 2014 for a wonderful evening of food and wine, entertainment and fundraising.

Individual tickets were $300 (including a $150 donation for which a tax receipt will be issued). It's such an outstanding night - get on it for next year!

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