Saturday, October 30, 2010

bent on food: Staying in touch

bent on food: Staying in touch

Staying in touch

I love food almost as much as I love wine, but what I really enjoy are the friendships that are cultivated over a meal and a glass of wine, and I have made some great friends over the years. Unfortunately my waistline is starting to suffer because of it but people tell me happiness makes you fat, I reply I do not want to be fat and happy, just happy! Anyway before I head off on to another tangent and tell you all my new fat blasting pilate's machine that just almost killed me, I will get the point. 

Working in a small town where you are one of very few eating establishments is rather different than a career in hospitality in larger towns. You often feel like you are alone in your quest with few other people in your position to vent to or to talk about your daily frustrations and accomplishments. In the last week I was reminded that collaboration with other restaurateurs is paramount to success and to sanity. I rekindled my friendships in the nearby, much larger town of Port Macquarie where I almost felt like part of the furniture at The Corner Restaurant over a number of days in the town. I really enjoyed having dinner with Kathy, the proprietor and chatting with James and Todd in the restaurant, and of course Alison, but what I really liked is being somewhere else, a place where I wasn't panicking about the people on the next table getting their coffee, where I didn't feel guilty about sitting down, a place that wasn't mine.

I visited my old place of employment, Cassegrain Wines where I once worked in the marketing department, and spent time with my old friend Leanne and caught up with John Cassegrain. We had a great meal in the restaurant and had a look around at all the new equipment, and I was feeling at home in the winery, like I never left! 

While in Port Macquarie I also enjoyed meeting the infamous Peter Doyle who was visiting in his role on the board of NSW Tourism, around 30 of us shared dinner at The Glasshouse and he gave me some valuable insights into the industry. I was surrounded by tourism operators and there was a real buzz as the NSW tourism board talked about their great day in our region. Even the whales turned it on for them.

So I have decided that I will be spending much more time out of town, even if it is just a day here and there.  In the wine industry they say that drinking the same wine gives you a cellar palate and the same can be said for eating. Lets just call it market research!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

On the road

New products - Bent on Food Beetroot Relish and Marmalade

Last weekend Grahame and I headed  to Port Macquarie to participate in Tastings of the Hastings. The weather was fine, and the car was loaded with our Bent on Food products, both new ones and tried and tested products like our Apple Balsamic Chutney. We enjoyed the Hastings hospitality and stayed a few days at Macquarie Waters enjoying great meals at The Stunned Mullet, The Corner and Cassegrain Winery. 

Our most popular product was the newly released Beetroot Relish, a fabulous condiment and great with goats cheese or as we sometimes like to have it at the cafe, with locally sourced buffalo on a burger. The spicy flavours are perfect with the stronger flavoured meat. 

The Tastings of the Hastings is an annual event promoting the region's food producers and we had a great time promoting Wingham and The Manning Valley, whilst savouring some wonderful products that I will soon introduce into the store.