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Kate’s Week In Food: Tasting the north-east, and no small thing at Starward

Ross and Kate
Article image for Kate’s Week In Food: Tasting the north-east, and no small thing at Starward

By Kate Stevenson


Well it already seems huge to me, but Starward‘s Port Melbourne distillery is about to undergo a significant overhaul. In the meantime, the team are relocating to the former ST. Ali Smalls Bar in South Melbourne, and will be offering up a bespoke menu of food and drinks including six specially developed cocktail recipes curated in collaboration with the ST. ALi team. Plus, there’ll be mini whisky masterclasses, and Wednesday night cocktail masterclasses. More info:


It’s been a tough summer for the north-east of the state, even those areas not directly hit by fire have suffered a loss in tourist numbers. All the more reason to make the journey up this Labour Day long weekend for the Tastes of Rutherglen festival. This year’s festival is set to be one of the biggest and best on record as 18 local wineries welcome visitors to the tasting table to sip and savour their way around the entire region all weekend long. Event highlights include Bubbles, Burgers and Beers at Cofield Wines; Unwind in the Vines at Buller Wines; and Picnic by The Lake at Lake Moodemere. All the details:

Victorian chefs Jesse Gerner (Bomba, Anada, Nomada), Scott Pickett (Estelle, Matilda, Pastore, Pickett’s Deli, Lupo), and  Alejandro Saravia (Pastuso) have banded together to create the #FebFireFund, calling on the rest of the local hospitality industry to join them to raise money for the bushfire-hit Gippsland community. Details on the initiatives they’ve come up with can be found here:


Searoad Ferries are getting ready to “Rock the Boat” with two special summer festival sailings. Departing Queenscliff on Sat Feb 15 and Sorrento on Sat Feb 22, these special runs will feature a gin pop-up bar, roaming canapes, photobooths and rooftop bar. Rock the Boat is a unique three-hour sail around the bay with live music, a DJ, and a welcome drink on arrival. Book with 6 or more friends and you’ll get a special group discount too. Each event runs from 8-11pm. More at:


The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (19-29 March) is rapidly approaching, so if you want to get involved, it’s worth checking the program and buying your tickets right now! You can still hit some of the festival’s feature events, like “The Big Spaghetti” celebrating pasta in all its many-splendoured forms, and put together by the maestros from Tipo 00, Capitano, Rosetta, Caterina’s and more. It’s a stand-up celebration of one of this city’s favourite dishes, taking place on Saturday 28 March from 11am, and entry is free. Or, there’s “The Mixed Grill” – the ultimate Middle Eastern feast cooked over fire by some of the hottest names in food including Lee Tiernan of London’s Black Axe Mangal, Israel’s most celebrated chef, Eyal Shani, Michael Solomonov of Philadelphia’s Zahav, and our own Shane Delia. These and more local and regional events can be found at

Ross and Kate