R U OK? and Taste of Melbourne Partner up for Charity Restaurant


In an Australian first, R U OK? and Taste of Melbourne in partnership with Electrolux are joining forces with celebrity chefs to launch ‘Conversation Bites’, a charity restaurant initiative to raise funds for suicide prevention and to encourage meaningful conversations – 30th November to 3rd December – YARRA PARK .

Celebrity chefs including Dan Hunter, Raymond Capaldi, Sam Pinzone and Geoff Lindsay, will combine their passion for food and suicide prevention to create a delicious ‘Conversation Bites’ menu and design a limited-edition dish for the R U OK? restaurant to share with loved ones.

A percentage of the proceeds from the restaurant will fund additional R U OK? campaigns and resources to generate more life-changing conversations.

R U OK? CEO Brendan Maher said: “Whether you’re a foodie or not, tough times can sometimes wear us down. That’s why R U OK? has teamed up with Taste of Australia, to get people together over food. Because a problem shared isa problem halved, anda great place to start is by asking “are you ok?”

“Eight people per day take their own lives in Australia. So, how do we reduce that number? We need people to talk about it – not just on R U OK? Day, but 365 days a year.

“We are really proud to launch this first charity restaurant at Taste of Melbourne, and hope to replicate across the country.”

‘Conversation Bites’ pop up restaurant and menu will be available exclusively at Taste of Melbourne, with four dishes being created by the line-up of chefs.

For more information on how to get the conversation started, visit: https://www.ruok.org.au/

Social media

Facebook/Twitter/Instagram: http://@tasteofmelbourne

Hashtags: #ElectroluxLife

**Information & Images provided courtesy of R U OK? – Lisa Minner

Sam Pinzone & Geoff Lindsay
Sam Pinzone &
Geoff Lindsay

Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events

E: literallyconnie@gmail.com

E: connie.lambeth@theaustraliatimes.com.au

W: editorcsl.com

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Chef biographies

Dan Hunter
Dan’s career has taken him around the globe and into the kitchens of some of the world’s most acclaimed restaurants, including an appointment as Head Chef at Mugaritz, Spain.

Before opening his own venture, Brae, Dan spent six years leading the kitchen of Dunkeld’s Royal Mail Hotel. There he developed his first intensive organic kitchen garden program and took the establishment to its Three-Hat status.

Dan was The Age Good Food Guide’s 2012 Chef of The Year and the following year, in December 2013, his first solo venture, Brae opened.

Brae’s location, on a farm in the Otway hinterland, has allowed Dan to develop the property’s 30 acres for onsite organic vegetable and fruit production. This produce, as well as that from local, sustainable farmers is used to offer a unique, contemporary cuisine built around an immense respect for nature and seasonality.

Dan was named 2016 Chef of the Year in both The Age Good Food Guide and Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine. He was also awarded Top Chef in Australia’s Top Restaurants Awards 2016 and 2017. Dan’s debut book with leading global publisher, Phaidon was released in May, 2017.

Geoff Lindsay 
Geoff Lindsay’s passion for incredible food and the best of ingredients has seen his career and reputation go from strength to strength over the years. Geoff and wife Jane have operated the modern Vietnamese restaurant, Dandelion in Melbourne since 2011. Dandelion is now Australia’s most awarded Vietnamese restaurant thanks to its delicious flavours, great service and quality ingredients. Geoff is also currently the Executive Chef of Saigon Street, Bali as well as former Executive Chef/Co-owner of the Pearl Restaurant Group, Melbourne.

Highlights of his time at Pearl include innovative Modern Australian cuisine. Pearl achieved an enviable 2 out of a possible 3 ‘Hats’ in Good Food Guide for all 10 years of operation. Pearl also won Best New Restaurant in its first year of operation.

Sam Pinzone
With a passion for great food from an early age, Sam trained under some of Australia’s most respected chefs and culinary legends like Neil Perry and Jacques Raymond. Most recently, Sam has joined forces with Geoff Lindsay at his prestigious restaurant, ‘Dandelion’, in Melbourne. In 2015, Sam was awarded two chef hats and decided to open his own consulting business late in 2015, which he continues to immerse himself in.

As his career has blossomed, Sam’s culinary skills have featured positively in The Age, Epicure, Good Food, Gault and Millau, Taste and many other publications for his contributions at Leroy’s Cafe, Pabu Sake and Grill, the Long Room, Jimmy’s Fish Bar, West of Kin and Torquey Orange. Sam is also proud to have a book coming out at the end of this year called, ‘Great Produce, Real Food.’

Raymond Capaldi
Scottish-born chef Raymond Capaldi is well-known to Melburnians for his stint at the Hotel Sofitel in the late ’90s, where he established the Sofitel cooking academy. Since moving to London from Scotland in 1986 to work at the legendary Dorchester Hotel, this talented chef has enjoyed an outstanding career that has included executive roles at some of the premier fine-dining restaurants in the world.

His resume boasts names such as the Gleneagles Star Hotel in Scotland, the Park Lane Hotel Hong Kong, the British Embassy in Moscow, Hotel Martinez in Cannes and Sheraton Mirage in Port Douglas. Other accomplishments include being named 1992 ‘Scottish Chef of the Year’ and achieving 3 Chef’s Hats in The Age Good Food Guide.

Raymond has featured in several international magazines including Food Illustrated and appeared on British television with renowned ‘bon vivant’, Robert Carrier. In June, he appeared with Jamie Oliver at Melbourne’s Good Food Show and he was teamed with fellow Scot Darren Simpson at this year’s Melbourne Food and Wine Delicious Double Acts.

While Ray’s career includes many highlights his most proud of achievements was Hare & Grace awarded one chef hat. He is now director of Wonder pies and fries and an ambassador for the hot mix pro. Many chefs have risen to fame from his training George Calombaris and Buddha Black to name a few.