Today might be the first official day of winter, but to us, it feels like it’s already been here for a while. It could be the weather, but it might just be that we’ve been immersed in winter clothes, winter trips and winter food while putting together our June print issue. It’s perfect for snuggling up with in front of the fire, glass of red at hand.

For our cover story, Virginia Millen talked to five of our city’s chefs who’ve made the leap from fine dining to more low-key eateries. It’s certainly been a cultural shift. Rather than booking months in advance for a starched linen table, we’re willing to line up for hours on end to eat messy tacos and Thai in noisy surrounds. We’ve dubbed it ‘Going Casual’ and we’re pretty sure it’s here to stay.

We also stopped past The Builders Arms to hear about the adventures Andrew McConnell and co had in researching their new venture, and they share a recipe for Corned Duck with Brussels Sprouts.

Along with photographer Tracey Lee Hayes and stylist Kirsty Barros (of Makers of Belief), we got rugged up and headed to Creswick for our winter fashion shoot. Harry Azidis visited the newly renovated Alice Euphemia to chat with owner Karen Rieschieck about her 15 years in the business and we made some salami at La Luna.

The Melbourne International Film Festival is always a signpost for winter, so artistic director Michelle Carey gave us a preview of her highlights of the program, while our editor Caroline Clements spoke to Faye Toogood about her multi-sensory wine bar project with Penfolds, The Blocks.

So get down to one of the cafes or shops in our directory – the issue is hitting the streets as we speak.

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