There’s something about the link between family and food: in cultures across the world, it brings people together.
For the past 12 years, Anglicare Victoria has used food to help families around the state. Gastronomique, a fundraising food and wine gala, unites around 20 of Victoria’s top chefs to cook for 500 guests.
Anglicare is the largest foster-care provider in Victoria. It currently finds homes for 400 children a night, and last year supported 5500 families, helping parents to learn new skills and to develop positive relationships with their children.
Anyone who has watched Burnt (or Ratatouille, or any chef movie) will know something of the hectic life a chef leads. So the amount of time the Gastronomique chefs are contributing to this good cause is something to celebrate.
Adam D’Sylva (Coda and Tonka), Scott Pickett (Estelle Bistro, ESP and Saint Crispin) Ben Piggot (Supernormal) have each been involved with the project for a number of years (there are also many other charitable events they are a part of).
“I see it as the way we can really give back as an industry,” says Pickett. “We’re not extremely affluent people, so I don’t normally go out in my day-to-day life and give a lot of donations to these charities. But one thing we can give is our time: our food, our skill and our expertise.” Likewise, D’Sylva – who, in the past two years, raised more than $200,000 for charitable causes – partakes because, “You get to cook and do something you love – and change lives.”
Flying in the face of the old saying, the Gastronomique gala puts all the chefs together in one kitchen. They don’t mind at all. “It’s an incestuous little industry, so we all know each other, there’s lots of banter,” Pickett says. “It’s really good fun.” Piggot points out that the experience is just as rewarding for the diners. “People can sample different restaurants around Melbourne, which doesn’t happen very often. It’s a really special event.”
Also in the kitchen is Dusty Treweek from Bottega, Ashly Hicks from Circa, Matt Dempsey from Gladioli, Daniel Wilson from Huxtable, Zac Cribbes from Lucy Liu, Sonia Anthony from Masons of Bendigo, Stuart Munro from Merricote, Peter Roddy from Noir, Anthony Hammel from Pei Modern, Stuart Bell from Ten Minutes by Tractor, Andy Harmer from The Point, Brad Simpson from The Smith, Tony Twitchett from Taxi Kitchen and Nicky Riemer from Union Dining, Mathew Macartney from Char Dining and James Kummrow from Fatto Bar & Dining.
Gastronomique is on Wednesday November 25 from 6.30–11.45 pm at Peninsula, Central Pier, 161 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands. Tickets are $300 per head (which includes a $150 tax-deductible donation), and can be booked online.