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Food

The Top 5 BYO Restaurants in Melbourne

Get set to bring that favourite bottle out of the cellar as we present the best BYO restaurants in Melbourne.

SCOPRI

Ask any Melburnian with an Italian leaning where they would take an aged Barolo, and it’s always Scopri. $15 per bottle corkage will get you glassware and a smooth Italian waiter.

Recommended Wine: What grows together, goes together. Think Italians reds like Barolo or Montepulciano and VermentinoFiano and Pinot Grigio for whites.

Corkage: $15 per bottle

191 Nicholson St, Carlton

Visit the Scopri website

Mamak

Inexpensive and delicious with corkage at just $2 per head so you can focus on the delicious Malaysian fare – don’t forget the Roti bread.

Recommended Wine: Reds with medium tannins like GSM or Merlot are a good choice for spicy cuisine. So too are light and aromatic whites such as Riesling or Sauvignon Blanc.

Corkage: $2 per person

366 Lonsdale St, Melbourne

Visit the Mamak website

LADRO

You want pizza in Prahran or fettucine in Fitzroy? You got it. On Mondays, you can bring your own and enjoy a slice of the action with the $5 corkage going to two amazing local charities.

Recommended Wine: Bring along a good Italian red variety like a Montepulciano or Nebbiolo. For whites, think VermentinoPinot Grigio or Fiano.

Corkage: $5 every Monday with all proceeds going to Vinnies Vannies and the Prahran Mission. BYO also available at $15 per bottle Tuesday to Sunday at the Fitzroy Ladro.

Ladro @ 224 Gertrude St, Fitzroy and Ladro TAP @ 162 Greville St, Prahran

Find out more about the Ladro charity BYO

VICASIA

Some call this the best Asian BYO in the city and it already has a three glass rated wine list, but for $15, you can pair dumplings with your own Riesling.

Recommended Wine: Gewürztraminer is a great choice as it is similar to Riesling, but has more rose petal and lychee flavours that match well with Ken Yuen’s modern Chinese cuisine. For red wine, we recommend a medium-bodied Pinot Noir from the Yarra or Mornington or a subtle Hunter Valley Shiraz.

Corkage: $15 per bottle

95 Victoria Ave, Albert Park

Visit the VicAsia website

FRANCE-SOIR

The original and best, for over 30 years, Jean-Paul Prunetti’s bistro has been a leading light in Melbourne’s restaurant scene. Marry your best French bottles to some of the classiest French food in the city.

Recommended Wine: Bring along your favourite french import, or your best ChardonnayCab Sav or Pinot Noir.

Corkage: $15 every day except Saturdays

11-13 Toorak Rd, South Yarra

Visit the France-Soir website:

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Wine
Calendar Collection 2019: Chef & The Cellar
Succulent scallop ravioli paired with crisp Pinot Grigio . Tender beef short ribs with a treacle glaze matched with a smooth Cabernet Merlot . Chargrilled octopus and almond cream balanced by a beautiful Sauvignon Blanc Semillon . Enticed yet? You will be. Wine Selectors is proud to announce its carefully curated 2019 calendar – Chef & The Cellar . Brimming with 12 stunning recipes, 12 incredible wines and 12 spectacular producers, it brings the complete cellar door experience to your home. Discover new and exciting tastes each month From light, vibrant salads and Rosés in summer, to hearty lamb racks and sumptuous Shiraz in winter, Wine Selectors’ deluxe calendar combines premium wines with gourmet recipes created by talented winery chefs that perfectly complement each other in every way. With such sophisticated pairings, you’ll be able to create and share restaurant-level dining experiences at home, all year round. The wine and food pairings are done for you Sit back and relax, wine in hand; Wine Selectors has taken the guesswork out of food and wine pairings. Everything is done for you each month, meaning you only need to buy ingredients, cook and create! The end result is nothing less than a work of art. Speaking of art; each dish in Chef and The Cellar is spectacularly presented, which means every month you’ll have a beautiful new image beaming with colour to hang with pride on your kitchen or dining room wall. Great for entertaining  In 2019, wow your dinner guests with spectacular wines and unforgettable dishes. Why not make it an event? Each month, instead of dining out, bring everyone together to enjoy the latest recipe + wine offering. Take turns to host, share tips, discuss your thoughts on notes and flavours, and simply relish in beautiful nights with wonderful friends and lively conversation.   A cellar door experience in your own home 12 recipes. 12 talented chefs. 12 wines. We’re bringing a unique cellar door experience to you! We give you the knowledge and tools you need to create memorable experiences with friends and family in 2019. More than a calendar Chef & The Cellar is more than a one-hit wonder. With it you’ll bring family and friends together, create sublime memories and celebrate joyous moments. With the finest Australian food and wine all in the one place, you’re more than ready for the new year! Get your 2019 Wine Selectors Calendar Collection today – only $195 for a dozen with a bonus calendar!
Wine
Sparkling vs Champagne – Is there a Difference?
There’s nothing like the pop of a cork and the fizz of beautifully beading bubbles.   So, when it’s time to celebrate, should you choose a French Champagne or stick to an Australian Sparkling, and is there really any difference? Australian Sparkling can very happily hold its head up high with a reputation that can match the best of Champagne . Thanks to the championing of regions like Tasmania and Tumbarumba, we are starting to see examples that express purity of fruit and clever winemaking decisions. The only reason Sparkling is not labelled Champagne is because it does not hail from the famed region in France, although it goes through the same winemaking process and uses the three mainstay varieties: Chardonnay , Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. CHAMPAGNE While Australia excels in the production of quality Sparkling wine, a bottle of Champagne really does say ‘special occasion’. The finest Sparkling wine in the world is Champagne, which is only made from three varieties; Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier that are grown within the Champagne region in northern France. Here the cool climate and chalky soils produce wines with delicate fruit flavours with extremely high levels of natural acidity that are ideal for the production of Sparkling wines with great finesse. To ensure its quality standards remain high, the production of Champagne is highly regulated. The fruit must be grown within the region, strict yields must be adhered to and Champagne must be made using the traditional method or méthode Champenoise. That means that Champagne is always sold in the same bottle in which it undergoes its secondary fermentation. Non-Vintage (NV) Champagne must spend a minimum of 15 months on lees. In the best years Vintage Champagne might be released, and this must spend at least 3 years on lees. SPARKLING WHITE BACKGROUND OF SPARKLING WHITE WINES Australia produces a diverse range of Sparkling white wines and has a history well steeped in great bubbly. Before the boom in Australian table wines much of the wine produced here was Sparkling or fortified. While sales of fortified wines are in decline, sales of Australian Sparkling wine are a rising category. The most prolific trailblazer in Australian Sparkling was Colin Preece, who made wines for Seppelt in the Great Western region of Victoria mid last century. Colin’s attention to quality and detail created a demand for Australian Sparkling wines that has grown rapidly over time. Many of his wines made over half a century ago are still drinking well today. In the 21st century, Dr Tony Jordan at Domaine Chandon and Ed Carr at Constellation/Hardys are leading the way, producing exceptional Australian Sparkling wines. MORE ABOUT AUSTRALIAN SPARKLING WHITE WINES Apart from Sparkling Reds , the finest Australian Sparkling wines are also made from these three grape varieties as Champagne, mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The method of production largely determines the quality of Sparkling wines. All Sparkling wines undergo a primary fermentation to produce a base wine. The best producers have a vast selection of base wines, which are blended together to produce the desired style. The most cost-effective method for Sparkling wine production is the injection method. As the name implies this simple method involves the injection of carbon dioxide, the same process used in soft drinks, which produces big bubbles that dissipate quickly in the glass. This method is used for the cheap, commercial Sparkling wines. The Charmat method sees the wine undergo a secondary fermentation in tanks, before it is bottled under pressure. This method is used widely in Italy. The transfer method involves the wine undergoing a second bottle fermentation, which gives the wine yeasty complexity, before the Sparkling wine is transferred out of the individual bottles into a large tank. The Sparkling wine is then separated from the spent yeast cells and bottled under pressure. The traditional method or méthode Champenoise is the most labour intensive, costly and lengthy method, but it produces the highest quality Sparkling wines. The traditional method involves a second fermentation taking place in the same bottle that the wine is sold. The traditional method is used for the production of Champagne. The wine is left in contact with its spent lees cells after the secondary fermentation, usually at least 15 months. The yeast cells are then removed from the wine, then the bottle is topped up with a dose of base wine and sugar before it is corked. Most Australian Sparkling wine producers will make a Non-Vintage wine each year that is blended across vintages to produce a consistent product. In favourable years a Vintage wine may be produced. These wines tend to be more expensive and refined, offering a good expression of the region, variety, year and house style. You may often see a Blanc de Blanc style that is produced entirely from Chardonnay or a Blanc de Noir style, made entirely from Pinot Noir. After the wines have completed their second bottle fermentation, they are usually matured on the spent lees for longer, which imparts complex bread-like characters. The cool regions provide the best base wines, which are usually picked early with high levels of acidity. With our broad climate spectrum, we boast a range of Sparkling wine styles from the ultrafine Tasmanian Sparkling wine to the more robust Victorian and New South Wales examples. AUSTRALIAN SPARKLING WHITE WINE REGIONS The Yarra Valley The Sparkling wine stocks of the Yarra Valley received a huge boost when Moet & Chandon established Domaine Chandon in 1986. The Yarra Valley’s cool climate produces elegant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which combined with Chandon’s winemaking experience and resources, enables it to produce excellent quality Sparkling whites. Tasmania Tasmania’s cool climate allows producers to generate fine base material to be blended into excellent examples of Australian Sparkling wines, either made on the island or the mainland. Macedon Ranges The Macedon Ranges’ cool temperatures and soil types provide the perfect setting for Sparkling wines. Small producers like Hanging Rock, Cope-Williams and Granite Hills excel here. Great Western/Grampians This Victorian region pioneered Sparkling wine in Australia and it continues to produce some great examples, particularly at Seppelt. Adelaide Hills The Adelaide Hills has the ability to produce graceful Chardonnay and Pinot fruit with a unique textural minerality. Hunter Valley The Hunter Valley produces fine Chardonnay-based ‘Blanc de Blanc’ Sparkling wine. The use of Semillon in Sparkling wines is also becoming popular in the Hunter. Tumbarumba This high-altitude region has a very cool climate, which produces fruit with high natural acidity that provides the base for fine Sparkling wines. MATCHING SPARKLING WHITES WITH FOOD One important thing to remember when matching Sparkling whites and Champagne with food, is that they come in a stack of different styles with varying dosage, or sugar levels. As with all wines, you don’t want to choose or serve a dish that will overpower in weight, on the palate or in flavour intensity – the idea is the keep things balanced. Canapes and entrées: Start off with classic matches like fresh oysters, scallops, sushi, sashimi, light white fish and salads. Stick to light and fresh, plus add some crunch with fresh vegies like carrot and cucumber with a tasty dip. Blanc de blanc styles make a great match to these food suggestions. Mains: As Sparkling wine is quite acidic, it does a great job of cutting through fat/oil and salt, so if it’s deep fried chicken that you’re craving, just go with the flow. With its yeasty characters and fuller fruit, vintage Sparkling is perfect to serve with richer fish like salmon, earthy and gamey dishes including duck, venison, mushroom, truffles, and full-bodied cheeses like parmesan or for real decadence, how about a twice cooked Roquefort soufflé. When it comes to spicy foods like Thai and Indian curries, the best option is to keep the chilly level under check, otherwise it will overpower the subtleties of the Sparkling. A sweeter style, like a demi-sec is another good choice. Desserts: It’s best to stick to sweet with sweet, so go for a demi-sec style, or a sweeter Sparkling Rosé. To view Wine Selectors' wonderful Sparkling wine offerings, click here . 
Wine
The Must-Visit Cellar Doors in Eden Valley
Fernfield Wines Owned and operated by husband and wife team Scott and Bec Barr, Fernfield Wines is a boutique winery nestled in a secluded hidden valley within Barossa's Eden Valley. Scott and Bec incorporate meticulous handmade techniques including hand selection, picking, plunging and basket pressing to ensure their wine is of the highest quality. The cellar door is housed within the original homestead of Eden Valley, on the 70-acre estate, where guests can enjoy boutique wines, along with craft beer and artisan chocolate made specifically to pair with wine, all crafted on the estate by the Fernfield family. 112 Rushlea Road, Eden Valley, SA 0402 788 526 Visit the Fernfield Wines website. The Taste Eden Valley Regional Wine Room Showcasing 16 artisanal Eden Valley wine producers, the Taste Eden Valley Regional Wine Room is located in historic Franklin House, off the main street in Angaston. Here you can experience wines from the Barossa's beautiful high country and taste some of the region's most impressive single vineyard wines under one roof. Savour the outstanding regional wines from the likes of Eden Valley Wines, Mountadam Vineyards, Dandelion Vineyards, Henschke, Heirloom Vineyards, Gatt Wines and more. Share a regional lunch platter in beautiful gardens that surround Franklin House or if the weather is a touch cool, you can enjoy a barista made coffee and a tasty treat by the cellar door’s wood fire. 6 Washington Street, Angaston, SA 08 8564 2435 Visit the Taste Eden Valley Regional Wine Room website. Henschke 2018 has been a big year for the Henschke family; they’ve celebrated 150 years of family winemaking, launched the Hill of Grace 2013 and their book ‘Hill of Grace: 150 Years of Henschke Under Southern Skies’, and are now opening their much-anticipated new cellar door. Housed in the original 1860s Grain Barn on the Henschke property in Keyneton, the new tasting room is expected to open in early-November with a grand opening later in the month. Expect a roomier, more comfortable space with the same attention to detail and warm Henschke hospitality. The original dry-stone walls of the old Grain Barn have been preserved and brought to life by JBG Architects. The Henschke tasting experience has been reimagined by the fifth and sixth generation, with a mix of heritage and contemporary pieces to respect the past 150 years and embrace the future.  1428 Keyneton Road, Keyneton, SA 08 8564 8223 Visit the Henschke Cellar Door website. Yalumba Established in 1849, Yalumba is one of Australia’s most iconic and important wine labels. The impressive wine room, built inside the original brandy store is the perfect place to sample the wide range of wines on offer from everyday table wines through to their exquisite reserve collections. 40 Eden Valley Rd, Angaston, SA 08 8561 3200 Visit the Yalumba website. EDEN VALLEY CELLAR DOOR MAP

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Food
Pacific Reef Fisheries Best of the Best RAS President's Medal
Words by Words Ed Halmagyi on 12 Jan 2017
Winner of the prestigious NSW Royal agricultural society president's medal, pacific reef fisheries are revolutionising aquaculture one luscious Cobia at a time. The rich alluvial plains that straddle Queensland's Burdekin River on the Whitsunday Coast are some of Australia's best agricultural land. Tomatoes, melons, capsicums and more find their way to markets all over the nation from here. But as the river nears the coast, salt-tinged air from the Coral Sea takes hold, making vegetable production less viable. Yet at Alva Beach an extraordinary story in Australian farming is unfolding. Nestled on the edge of the ocean, a vast series of deep 100m2 pools are laid out, each one teeming with life; swirling masses move below the surface, seen only by the way the water wrinkles in the sunlight. This unique farm is home to some of Australia's best seafood, for in these ponds, Pacific Reef Fisheries breed delicious tiger prawns, and one of the world's most impressive fish - the cobia. TROPICAL ORIGINS Australians usually refer to cobia as 'black kingfish', but this is misleading for the fish is actually a relative of remora, those sucker-fish seen attached to sharks in documentaries. Native to the world's tropical waters, it has an oil-rich pearl-white flesh, prized by chefs because that lush oil does not leach out when cooked - distinguishing cobia from other species. Cobia is also well-adapted to aquaculture, and the Alva Beach joint venture between  Pacific Reef Fisheries  and the Queensland Department of Primary Industries produces fish of unrivalled quality, plus the commercial, social and environmental standards under which it operates are world leading. For these reasons, Pacific Reef Fisheries was the recipient of the 2015 President's Medal from the NSW Royal Agricultural Society , Australia's top award for excellence in food. CONQUERING AQUACULTURE Two big challenges for aquaculture are inputs and outputs - feed and wastewater. Traditionally fishmeal has been made from vast quantities of trawled target species like pilchards and anchovies. While these fish are not currently under threat, that system is unsustainable as a growing aquaculture market will eventually pressure stock numbers. To this end, Pacific Reef are working with the CSIRO and other Australian businesses to replace wild fish with farmed sources. The effect is to create a positive net fish benefit - more fish come out than go in. As the fish are farmed in on-land ponds, as opposed to traditional sea cages, the quantity of feed input is more easily controlled, resulting in less waste and the elimination of localised pollution. Output water from the ponds can also be a problem, as it becomes nutrient-rich in a way that should not be simply returned to the ocean. To ensure it is as near to pure seawater as possible when it reaches the Coral Sea, the waste is filtered, then discharged through a purpose-planted mangrove system, enabling a second stage of filtration. It's an investment not only in the environment, but also in the business's commercial longevity. THE PRESIDENT'S MEDAL The RAS of NSW President's Medal recognises excellence in Australian produce. The 'best of the best' food and beverages from the Sydney Royal shows are nominated for the President's Medal. Finalists undergo a triple bottom line audit to assess social, economic and environmental impacts - making the President's Medal the most prestigious in the country. Find out more about the  President's medal in this recent article   ED HALMAGYI'S PAN-ROASTED COBIA WITH GARDEN PEAS AND OLIVES RECIPE
Food
The Top 5 BYO Restaurants in Perth
Words by Ben Hallinan on 9 Oct 2017
Here are the best BYO restaurants in Perth and the wines you should take along with you. Looking for the perfect restaurant to take your favourite wine to in Perth? To find out where you should enjoy your favourite drops, we asked a local Perth foodie and wine blogger, two of our favourite West Australian winemakers and Dave Mavor from the Wine Selectors Tasting Panel . Viet Hoa Could this be the best Vietnamese in Perth? Recommended by Ryan Gibbs, owner and viticulturist at Aylesbury Estate “Viet Hoa is one of those Perth icons that never disappoints. Pairing tasty, traditional Vietnamese with fast and friendly service is perfect for a casual dinner with a nice glass of Geographe wine . The Pho is great, as is the shaking beef salad, which is loaded with fresh herbs and lemongrass making it great with a crisp and citrussy Aylesbury Sauvignon Blanc .” Corkage: free Unit 1, 349 William St, Northbridge Visit the Viet Hoa website Dough Pizza
Inspired by the pizzerias in Naples, this Italian pizza shop in Northbridge serves up traditional wood fired pizza. Recommended by Casey, wine blogger at The Traveling Corkscrew “It's no surprise pizza is the specialty at Dough. I always like to take a nice bottle of Prosecco with me, as the refreshing crispness of the bubbles complement the thin, crispy wood-fired bases and the stringy mozzarella on the pizzas perfectly. If you are more of a fan of red, then a wine made from Sangiovese or Nero d’Avola would be a great choice. My philosophy when it comes to international cuisine and wine matching is to stick with their local wines (if possible), or wines made from grape varieties that originate from their shores to ensure a tasty match.” Corkage: $6.50 per bottle  434A William St, Perth 6000 Visit the Dough Pizza website Uncle Billy’s This Perth institution has served tasty Chinese until the early hours for many years and is the perfect place to bring along a crisp Western Australian Riesling . Recommended by Dave Mavor, Wine Selectors Tasting Panelist and Wine Show Judge “Whenever the Wine Selectors team is in town to run masterclasses at the Good Food & Wine Show , or to explore the many world class wine regions of WA, we always end up at Uncle Billy’s for late (sometimes very late) night Chinese. Often we have a few winemakers with us, who have brought their favourite Margaret River Chardonnay or Great Southern Riesling to pair with the great live seafood, congee or claypot dishes on the menu. While a crisp white wine is generally a good idea for Chinese food, lower tannin, fruit-focused reds like Pinot Noir , Merlot and Grenache can pair perfectly with richer, less spicy dishes like sweet & sour, chao zhou style duck and sizzling satay.” Corkage: $6.00 per bottle 9/66 Roe St, Northbridge Visit the Uncle Billy’s website Bistro Felix Wine
Charming French bistro and wine bar that hosts weekly BYO Cellar Nights. Recommended by Michael Ng, senior winemaker at Ironcloud Wines “Bistro Felix is a superb restaurant with quality food and impeccable service. They have an impressively large wine list sourced from around the world, but if you’d like to bring along a special bottle you’ve been saving for a special occasion, then their BYO Cellar Nights , held every Tuesday, are the perfect chance. I might be biased, but I think the Ironcloud Cabernet Malbec 201 4 is the perfect choice to go toe-to-toe with their rich, French inspired menu.” Corkage: $12 per bottle (Tuesday only) 118-120 Rokeby Rd, Subiaco Visit the Bistro Felix website Royal India 
A first class Indian restaurant with top notch service and food. Recommended by Casey, wine blogger at The Traveling Corkscrew “This West Perth curry house love their tandoori! I like to take a nice bottle of Pinot Noir with me when dining at Royal India, as the fruity and savoury elegance in the wine works well with the plentiful spices in the dishes. However, it you're more of a fan of white wine, then an off-dry Gewürztraminer , Riesling or Müller-Thurgau would be ideal choices. Corkage is more like a first-class wine service at Royal India – the staff will take care of pouring your vino (they'll make sure your glass is never empty!) and they use lovely Plumm glassware to ensure your wine is showing at its upmost best.” Corkage: $10 per bottle (Sunday to Thursday only) 1134 Hay St, West Perth 6005 Visit the Royal India website   For more Perth restaurant ideas make sure you visit Casey's very comprehensive Perth BYO restaurant list . Or, if you're heading to Melbourne or Sydney then check-out our Melbourne and Sydney BYO restaurant articles.
Food
Massimo Bottura - Nourishing the soul
Words by Interview Lyndey Milan Words Mark Hughes on 12 Dec 2017
In the process of trying to recreate a food memory, chef Massimo Bottura started a movement that was designed to fight food waste, but has grown into a social triumph. In the opening to his latest book, Bread is Gold , Italian chef Massimo Bottura tells the story of how every morning he would fight with his brothers for the leftover bread from the previous night’s dinner to dip in warm milk with a splash of coffee and a liberal pouring of sugar. It is one of his fondest memories, reminding him of delicious food, but also time with his family and his dearly departed mother. A few years ago, he thought about recreating the recipe, and trying to recapture that glorious memory. It was the catalyst that evolved into a concept that evolved into social change. But more on that later. In essence, taking old food memories and recreating them is what has made Massimo famous and seen him reach the very top of the chef world. For the last few years his restaurant, Osteria Francescana in Modena on the northern outskirts of Milan, has been ranked in the top three in the world, last year, No.1, this year just behind New York’s Eleven Madison. A culinary renaissance
At Francescana, Massimo has taken Italian classics, memories and culinary ideas and transported them into the modern world. Combing his love of art and music with his culinary talent to create dishes titled Memories of a Mortadella Sandwich, The Crunchy Part of Lasagne, and his signature Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano. It’s been a culinary renaissance. Of course, messing with traditional Italian cooking created quite a stir in Italy and for that measure, it is understandable that he gained recognition internationally before he was eventually praised at home. And while Massimo has explored plenty of Italian history for his dishes, he insists he still has a wealth of heritage for future culinary inspirations, for the rest of his life, at the very least. “Maybe for 10 lives,” he says when chatting with Lyndey Milan at a special event organised by Italian coffee company Lavazza in Sydney earlier this year. “We have centuries of tradition that we can reinterpret and rediscover. “For instance, last autumn we created this dish detailed by a philosopher from Rome, Petronius, in a book of his. Over three pages he described an amazing dish with a beautiful big bird filled with another bird, filled with another bird, and then many small birds and then dates and figs – for me, that’s Italy. “So this is what I say to Italian chefs when they look for the next trend. Let’s be honest. Let’s go deep into our history and try to bring the best from the past into the future, not in a nostalgic way, but in a critical way.” A chance to make a change These days, Massimo is lauded for his ideas and for returning Italian cuisine to the top of the culinary world. He has used his time in the spotlight to full advantage. During Expo 2015 in Milan, Massimo was invited to cook for dignitaries. Instead, he used the opportunity to make a statement about food waste. His initial idea was to do a short-term pop-up at the city’s central train station and invite the world’s best chefs to cook leftover food for the homeless. But then, apparently, the Pope got involved. His holiness heard the chef’s idea, but thought it could be something done long term. Through the Catholic charity Caritas, an abandoned theatre in the poorest suburb of Milan was made available for Massimo’s ‘community kitchen’. He took the opportunity. Not wanting it to be a regular soup kitchen, he recruited well-known artists and designers to help transform the venue into a warm, inviting space, a restaurant for those who most likely have never even seen inside a Michelin-starred venue. It was named, Refettorio Ambrosiano, a Refettorio being a place where monks and nuns would eat their daily meals. “In a world where one third of the food we produce is thrown away, we need to ask ourselves: Could food wastage and hunger be an expression of the same problem? We believe so,” Massimo asks in Bread is Gold, a diary and collection of recipes from the Refettorio Ambrosiano project. Over the following months, more than 65 chefs turned surplus ingredients collected from the exhibition’s pavilions into nutritious meals served to the homeless and people in need in the area. Names like Ferran Adria, Rene Redzepi, Ana Ros and Alain Ducasse used their creative powers to turn discarded food into delicious dishes. “It was challenging and rewarding to be a chef in that kitchen. It brought out the best in everyone,” says Massimo. “And it’s important to show that chefs in 2017 are not just the sum of their recipes, we are much more than that. People need to know we are social agents and we can give to the people, to the world an example.” Nourishing the soul
Following this initial success, Massimo and his wife, Lara established Food for Soul, a non-profit organisation dedicated to nourishing the underprivileged. The Social Tables project in Bologna followed, then Refettorio Gastromotiva in Rio, converting surplus food from the Olympic Games into healthy meals. Refettorio Felix opened in London in June and there’s plans for projects in Berlin and the United States. “Food for Soul is not a charity project but a cultural one. Sharing a meal is not just a source of nourishment, but a gesture of inclusion,” says Massimo. “In looking for solutions to fight food waste, we found a wider impact. We became aware that a good meal in a beautiful and welcoming environment can change a community. “Will the role of chefs define the future of food? I am an optimist and I believe that we are already making positive change. A recipe, after all, is a solution to a problem. Choose to be part of the solution by cooking and sharing a meal around a table. It might be the most revolutionary thing you do all day.”
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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