Interview with Kaisern Ching from Chefs Gallery Restaurants

Interview with Chefs Gallery owner Kaisern Ching

Kaisern Ching discusses his new Venue Specials menus offering plenty of old favourites along with a selection of new dishes to try…

Interview by Daria Kill-Smith – Images supplied

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It is rare that a restaurateur would offer up praise of other eateries, but such is the generosity of Kaisern Ching, recently discussing the new Venue Specials menus at his chain of Chefs Gallery restaurants in Sydney.

Ching may be a globe-trotting foodie, but he allows his talented chefs freedom to contribute their creative ideas, using their experiences from working in similar-style restaurants, as well as their own cultural backgrounds.

Indeed, the Parramatta restaurant’s special menu has been strongly guided by the Korean head chef, bringing forth Korean-style Mac and Cheese – a dish created with rice cake, sambal and chilli flakes along with three types of European cheese. Then there’s the Korean Army Stew (curiously made with Spam and baked beans!). Mr Ching said this was actually a very traditional dish conceived during the Korean War, whereby American troops combined their rations with South Korean troops, and was traditionally served in a helmet! I have to admit, prior to hearing that gem of history, I would never have gone near Spam – but I’ve come around to the idea. Just. Brilliant.

Ching is a man who knows his customers, with a firm handle on demographics. Having a knowledge of the population base and familiarity with what is offered in each area allows the restaurateur to devise his menus around his customers. Speaking on his Hurstville restaurant, Mr Ching explained the demographic leans towards more traditional fare – for which this restaurant amply provides, as well as offering classics with a “twist”. This allows the less adventurous the opportunity to eat what they feel comfortable with, while at the same time being introduced to the different ingredients and preparation methods on show.


One slice of information Mr Ching affirmed: ‘diners know what they want, know what they like, and can discern good quality produce from bad’. His rock solid, regular customers attest to that. And the fact that they are willing to go the extra mile and try his new specials recognises the same. Case in point: Chefs Gallery Macquarie offers a dish comprised of long (bullhorn) chillies filled with ground pork and fish paste – a combination which at first thought may have been a risky twist on a traditional recipe, but which has been a surprising success for the restaurant, in fact one of their best sellers!


The Chefs Gallery chain prides itself on sourcing high-quality produce with an attention to preparation and detail, presenting the freshest and best of food, simply. The restaurants’ open-kitchen galleries are designed to entertain diners with the theatre of noodle-making – performance art at its best.  Patrons can view dishes made to order – nothing to hide, here!

Most importantly, Mr Ching wants his regular clientele to know that their favourite dishes aren’t going anywhere. The venue-specific, special menu change – the biggest in seven years – works on an 80:20 basis. While 20% of the menu takes diners on a culinary adventure, 80% of the menu remains unchanged. Chefs Gallery regulars have nothing to fear!


And the generous praise to his rivals? Ching is a well-known ambassador for dim sim and won ton (if not one of the biggest influencers in this market), and recognises how the standard of dim sim and won ton has lifted over the years. Again, generously stating local restaurateurs are comparable to Asia now, a trend which has pushed the industry to become more creative and to come up with better products for the customer. This is exemplified by the quality of Chinese pastry elevating several notches in recent times, with chefs in Australia often trained in both Eastern and Western culinary skills.  (Check out the recently open Chefs Pastry in Chippendale to confirm this tasty fact!).

Oh, and Melbourne, when Chefs Gallery arrives, I will be first at the door – but don’t tell anyone I told you!

Instagram: @chefsgallery

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**The Australia Times Gourmet News would like thank Kaisern Ching for his time in sharing valuable insights into Chefs Gallery restaurants, for readers of The Australia Times News.

**Thanks to Cardinal Spin (Genvin In), for arranging the interview and supplying the images courtesy of Chefs Gallery.


Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events




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Rockpool Dining Group and Qantas Frequent Flyer Make Dining More Rewarding


From 1 December 2017, Qantas Frequent Flyer members can use Qantas Points on their bill, and earn them at the same time, when they dine out at Rockpool Dining Group’s 60 restaurants and bars across Australia. 

Members can use their Qantas Points to cover the full cost of the bill, or use 4,000 Qantas Points for each $20 they take off their transaction.

As a special offer until 31 May 2018, members can also earn double points across all Rockpool Dining Group venues, including Rockpool Bar & Grill and Jade Temple, as well as Fratelli Fresh and Burger Project.

• Premium Dining – 4 Qantas Points per $1 spent (usually 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent)

• Casual –  4 Qantas Points per $1 spent (usually 2 Qantas Points per $1 spent)

• Fast Casual –  2 Qantas Points per $1 spent (usually 1 Qantas Point per $1 spent)

This is the first time Frequent Flyer members can earn and use their points at a national restaurant group.

Rockpool Dining Group restaurants include:

Premium Dining

• Saké Restaurant & Bar  (5 locations – Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane)

• Spice Temple  (2 locations – Sydney & Melbourne)

• Jade Temple  (1 location – Sydney)

• The Cut Bar & Grill  (1 location – Sydney)

• Rosetta Ristorante  (2 locations – Sydney & Melbourne)

• Rockpool Bar & Grill (3 locations – Sydney, Melbourne & Perth)


• Fratelli Fresh (9 locations – Sydney & Melbourne)

• The Argyle  (1 location – Sydney)

• El Camino Cantina (1 location – Sydney)

• Ananas  (1 location – Sydney)

• The Bavarian (5 locations – Sydney & Melbourne)

• Munich Brauhaus  (2 locations – Sydney & Melbourne)

• Bavarian Bier Café (8 locations – NSW & QLD)

Fast Casual

• Burger Project (10 locations – Sydney, Melbourne & Brisbane)

• Fratelli Famous Pizzeria (4 locations – Sydney & Brisbane)

• Saké  Jr (2 locations – Sydney)

For more information on the partnership visit

**Information & Image Courtesy of Rockpool Dining Group/Rachel Lebihan


Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events




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FRATELLI FRESH – Sydney, Melbourne How to score Santa’s best gift: 31 meals for $200 at Fratelli Fresh STS (Somebody Tell Santa): The perfect Christmas gift goes on sale this Friday 1st December – the Fratelli Pass, which entitles customers to 31 meals over 31 days of January for just $200. The Fratelli Pass, only … Read more

TASTE OF MELBOURNE – 30th November to 3rd December


Sandeep Rawata Head Chef Piquancy
Sandeep Rawata
Head Chef – Piquancy

What: Taste of Melbourne

When: Thursday 30 November to Sunday 3 December 2017

Where: Yarra Park (MCG), Wellington Parade, East Melbourne VIC 3002

Taste of Melbourne tipi 3

Thursday 30 November 5.30pm to 10pm

Friday 1 December 12pm to 4pm

Friday 1 December 5.30pm to 10pm

Saturday 2 December 12pm to 4pm

Saturday 2 December 5.30pm to 10pm

Sunday 3 December 12pm to 5pm

Taste Festival 12

Taste of Melbourne’s full lineup

Taste of Melbourne in partnership with Electrolux starts TODAY!  The culinary festival has a full line up including 12 showcase restaurants and 22 top chefs, set to take over the MCG’s Yarra Park from 30 November to 3 December 2017.

Participating chefs and restaurants include: Frank Camorra from iconic Melbourne tapas temple MoVida; George Calombaris from Melbourne Greek favourites The Press Club, Gazi, Hellenic Republic, Jimmy Grants; Robin Wickens from Dunkeld’s jewel The Royal Mail Hotel; and Sandeep Rawata and Janral Singh from St Kilda and Hawthorn’s sleek Indian restaurants Piquancy and Babu Ji.

Hilary Walker - Babu Ji
Hilary Walker – Babu Ji

Nelly Robinson, whose flair and creativity is the driving force behind the amazing nel. and Nathan Sasi, renowned for his nose-to-tail ethos at Moorish Spanish restaurant Mercado, are joining forces to represent Sydney in a battle of the restaurants. On their home turf in the ultimate city cook-off are globe trotting chef Charlie Carrington from the adventurous, multiculturally inspired Atlas Dining and Peter Gunn from Collingwood’s sophisticated multi-course mecca IDES.

In an Australian first, Dan Hunter from Brae, Sam Pinzone and Geoff Lindsay from Dandelion and Raymond Capaldi will create a delicious menu and limited-edition dish with a percentage of proceeds supporting the R U OK? campaign.

And in another first, participating chefs and restaurants – including Michael Smith from Mamasita, George Calombaris and Reuben Davis from The Press Club, Scott Pickett from ESP, Christy Tania from Glacé and Liz Contini from Shadowboxer – will be collaborating with cutting edge visual artists to create signature dishes and artworks in the Creative Collabs initiative.

Scott Pickett - Estelle Lamb Shoulder
Scott Pickett – Estelle
Lamb Shoulder

Completing the impressive chefs’ line-up is Matt Wilkinson from The Pie Shop who will be working with premium Barcelona beer Estrella Damm to create the ultimate gourmet steak and beer pie. The Estrella Damm Bar will also see genuine Spanish imports flow on tap, offering festival goers an ice-cold break in a gastro garden bar setting.

Matt Wilkinson - Pie Shop Photo Credit: Annika Kafcaloudis
Matt Wilkinson – Pie Shop
Photo Credit:
Annika Kafcaloudis

Guests at Taste of Melbourne can also get up close and personal with six of Australia’s star chefs and enjoy the food they present, during 18 intimate Electrolux Chefs’ Secrets masterclasses, including: Nelly Robinson from nel., Scott Pickett from Estelle by Scott Pickett (ESP); Reuben Davis, executive chef at The Press Club; Jo Barrett from Oakridge; Matt McConnell of Bar Lourinhã, and Charlie Carrington from Atlas Dining. A popular festival favourite, sessions are limited to 16 people.

Taste Festival - JWyld 1

For more information on Taste of Melbourne, please visit the website

Social media

Facebook: @tasteofmelbourne

Twitter: @tastemelbourne

Instagram: @tasteofmelbourne

**Information & Images Courtesy of Agency North – Miette Lelievre

*Photographers include J. Wyld & Annika Kafcaloudis

Taste of Melbourne -Electrolux: Chefs Secrets
Taste of Melbourne -Electrolux: Chefs Secrets

Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times News

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Taste Festival Marketplace
Taste Festival Marketplace
Taste of Melbourne - Tipis
Taste of Melbourne – Tipis


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SYDNEY – MELBOURNE – BRISBANE A Big Bavarian Christmas – biers, feasts and festivities Australia’s best-known Bavarian restaurants have unwrapped their Christmas calendar to reveal a month brimful of brouhaha, festive brews, feasting and good old family fun. Prepare for a Big Bavarian Christmas party on Saturday, 16 December at flagship restaurants in Sydney, Melbourne … Read more


Rockpool Foundation launches Sweet Treat Project to deliver gifts to children in foster care

Rockpool Bar & Grill Passionfruit Pavlova
Rockpool Bar & Grill
Passionfruit Pavlova

Rockpool Foundation, the official charity arm of Rockpool Dining Group, has today launched the Sweet Treat Project, which aims to raise at least $75,000 over the festive season to provide children in foster care with personalised gifts.

From Wednesday, 15 November to midnight on Tuesday, 26 December, $1 from every dessert sold across all 58 Rockpool Dining Group restaurants in NSW, Victoria and Queensland will be donated to the Rockpool Foundation’s Sweet Treat Project.

Rockpool Foundation will work with foster care agencies in each state to tailor 250 gifts, each to the value of $300, to every child’s specific needs and circumstances. Gifts could be anything from music lessons, to art supplies and sporting equipment.

Saké The Rocks Dragon Egg Dessert
Saké The Rocks
Dragon Egg Dessert

From Rockpool Bar & Grill’s famous Passionfruit Pavlova and Saké Restaurant & Bar’s decadent Dragon Egg, to the much-loved Fratelli Fresh Banoffee Torta, El Camino Cantina’s cinnamon-dusted Churros with salted caramel sauce and Burger Project’s irresistible soft serve desserts, everyday sweet treats for diners will be converted into meaningful treats for disadvantaged kids.

Spice Temple - Three Milk Cake with dried raspberries, pistachio & almond
Spice Temple – Three Milk Cake with dried raspberries, pistachio & almond

Other Rockpool Dining Group restaurants participating in the Sweet Treat Project are Rosetta Ristorante, Spice Temple, Jade Temple, Ananas, Munich Brauhaus, Bavarian Bier Café, The Bavarian, Saké Jr and Fratelli Famous.

Saké Restaurant Flinders Lane - Tofu Cheesecake
Sak̩ Restaurant Flinders Lane РTofu Cheesecake

Rosetta Melbourne Baked Chocolate Mouse with caramelised pears
Rosetta Melbourne
Baked Chocolate Mouse
with caramelised pears

Every dessert on every menu is included in the Sweet Treat Project.

Diners who purchase a dessert at one of the Group’s restaurants in NSW, Victoria and Queensland during this period will receive a complimentary entry into the draw to win ‘The Ultimate Summer Dining Experience’, which recognises Rockpool Dining Group as an official restaurant partner of the 2018 Australian Open.

The Ultimate Summer Dining Experience includes :

• 4 x day-session tickets for the 2018 Australian Open at Rod Laver Arena for two consecutive days (valued at $3600)

•  $5000 Qantas voucher to use on flights and accommodation

• $1000 voucher for Rockpool Bar & Grill at the Australian Open

• $150 meal voucher for Burger Project at the Australian Open

• 2 x $750 dining vouchers for Rockpool Dining Group’s premium Melbourne restaurants: Saké, Spice Temple or Rosetta Ristorante

• Meet & greet with Rockpool Dining Group Culinary Director, Neil Perry

Burger Project Christmas Soft Serve
Burger Project
Christmas Soft Serve

**Information and Images Courtesy of Rockpool Dining Group/Rockpool Foundation  – Rachel Lebihan

Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events




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Chefs Gallery, Sydney’s favourite contemporary Chinese Restaurant Group, continue to revolutionise Asian cuisine with their biggest menu update in seven years. Available now is a mouth-watering range of tantalising new menu items exclusive to each restaurant location in Town Hall, Macquarie, Bankstown, Parramatta and Hurstville.


With each restaurant offering its own exclusive selection of dishes, customers are now able to walk into any Chefs Gallery location across Sydney and have a wholly unique culinary experience.

Fans of Chefs Gallery’s hugely popular classic menu can rest assured – the old favourites are all still there, with plenty receiving scrumptious upgrades, delicious new additions, and updated flavours.

“We’re thrilled to introduce this thoughtful new selection of spectacular dishes, largely influenced by each neighbourhood where we reside, from the suburbs of Sydney to the cities of China. Each dish is a brilliant compliment to all the favourites that have been loved and devoured over the years,” said Chefs Gallery Owner Kaisern Ching.


Here’s a taste of what’s on offer at each location:


Diners can look forward to a mind-blowing blend of classic Asian cuisine with contemporary twists, including delicately sweet jumbo king prawns steamed atop a light bed of sake and egg white custard, topped with black tobiko, plus Fujian style blue swimmer crab, served with dried and fresh scallop fried rice and housemade XO sauce.


Macquarie Centre’s braised and deep fried quail on the bone is an elevated take on a classic Chinese quail dish, and the duet of long red and green chillies filled with ground pork and fish paste, pan-fried to perfection, is the perfect share-plate fare.


Parramatta’s Korean-style “mac and cheese” of rice cakes, sweet corn, butter, three cheeses, sambal and Korean chilli flakes is a flawlessly-executed fusion masterpiece, and even old-school Chinese take-out favourites get an inspiring modern update, with honeycomb chicken wings slathered in a delightfully sticky shiso, yuzu and honey glaze.


Hurstville salutes a Cantonese classic with the wok fried Rostbiff Black Angus beef with cheung fun rice noodles, yellow garlic chives and sweet soy sauce. Vegetarians haven’t been forgotten either, with the golden battered eggplant, coated with melt-in-your-mouth salted duck egg yolk and black tobiko.



The much-loved, innovative desserts menu has also received a delectable makeover, with a new range of irresistible treats blending traditional Asian flavours with refreshing modern influences joining the iconic Prince and Princess Piggy buns and Emoji Friends buns.

New desserts include a jaw-droppingly gorgeous deconstructed pavlova with Asian-inspired fresh and freeze-died fruits, and a French toast with peanut butter filling, toasted marshmallows, Persian fairy floss, honeycomb and housemade Hong Kong milk tea ice cream. All these desserts and more are available at all Chefs Gallery locations.


Stay in touch with Chefs Gallery:



Instagram: @chefsgallery

Twitter: @chefsgallery

Chefs Gallery Locations:

Town Hall – Shop 12, 501 George Street Sydney NSW 2000

Macquarie Shopping Centre – Shop 402, North Ryde NSW 2113

Bankstown – Little Saigon Plaza Ground Floor – Shop G03-06, 462 Chapel Rd Bankstown NSW 2200

Parramatta – Westfield Parramatta Ground Floor – Shop 2184, 159-175 Church St Parramatta

Hurstville – Westfield Hurstville, 256 Forest Rd entrance via The Eatery, Hurstville

**Information and Images Courtesy of Chefs Gallery/Cardinal Spin – Amy Owen


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Here Comes the Sun: Southgate Restaurants Showcase Summer Delights

Melbourne’s Southgate Restaurants Warming up with a Season of Foodie Feasts & Events


With Summer around the corner there’s a feast of  foodie events with new seasonal produce, riverside alfresco dining, a festive dessert workshop and end of year celebrations at Southgate Melbourne  

Summer means longer days and warmer nights with a refreshing cocktail and seasonal share plate in hand, taking in scenic city views along the banks of the Yarra River. To make it all the more enticing, Southgate Melbourne’s slew of riverside restaurants and bars has a range of events and specials from November-January.

Alfresco dining is back in a big way with the newly refurbished and expanded riverside diner BearBrass primed to welcome the warmer months. With 350 breakfasts turning over every hour each weekend, the venue is preparing for their busiest time of year. The new look venue features an open bar where you can watch the chefs preparing your food while the bartender mixes your favourite cocktail. BearBrass venue manager Michael Singleton says “Our new bright burnt orange colour scheme has brought a vibrant, fresh feel to the venue.”

Dessert bar Damon Bradley is set to host their first summer pastry workshop for sweet treat lovers on Saturday 2 December. Masterchefs-in-the-making will have the chance to work alongside the Damon Bradley pastry chefs and learn to plate up like a pro just in time for Christmas. You’ll also get to sample some of their new season desserts bursting with summery flavours, like the Devonshire crepe filled with the award-winning Damon Bradley lemon curd topped with fresh berries.

Melbourne’s multi award winning Italian restaurant and gelateria Tutto Bene, took out yet another award this year, winning Best Italian Restaurant in Victoria at the 2017 Restaurant & Catering Savour Awards. Head Chef Nathan Scarfo looks for vibrancy in the colour of his produce and counts asparagus, snap peas and zucchini flowers to be among his favourites for the warmer months.

“Our new dishes all have a focus on using the whole ingredient. We are focusing on traditional Italian cooking – simple, no wastage, with every ingredient having multiple uses,” says Nathan. One of his summer menu highlights is the Fiori di Zucchini: fried zucchini flowers, roast pumpkin, peppitos and mustard fruits, best enjoyed on the Tutto Bene Terrazza with a crisp glass of Chardonnay.

Following its recent expansion over two levels and the launch of the more casual PS Bar + Kitchen, the new Pure South Dining continues to make the most out of the best produce of the season with Executive Chef David Hall highlighting pears, asparagus, broad beans and broad bean leaves as his ingredients of choice.

“We keep our dishes simple and allow the amazing spring and summer produce to be the hero. Our house cured line-caught Kingfish with dashi, meyer lemon, wakame and quail egg is proving to be very popular and a great simple dish heading into the warmer months,” says David.

Family favourite La Camera Southgate has one of the best Aperitivo Hour deals in Southbank, accompanied by sweeping balcony views over the Yarra River. Sip on a complimentary Italian cocktail (choose from Negroni, Sbagliato, Aperol Spritz and more) with any antipasti plate.

ENA Greek Street Food puts an authentic Greek spin on the most important meal of the day with the launch of their new breakfast menu. Think Spanakopita, Tyropita (layered buttery filo with cheesy egg) and Strapatsada (Greek style scrambled eggs with tomato and fetta) and for the sweet tooths, Bougatsa (semolina custard filled pastry).

One of Southgate’s favourite watering holes, Waterslide Bar, has reinvented the spritz with their signature “Tinder Date” cocktail, the perfect accompaniment for flirtations on their leafy riverside balcony. The refreshing drink combines delectable French Loire Valley Cremant Sparkling with fresh berries and yuzu.

Southgate’s stable of riverside restaurants will come alive throughout the festive season with Christmas lunches hosted by iconic Irish pub P.J.O’Brien’s and German Bier Bar Grill Hophaus. The silly season continues with an array of New Year’s Eve celebrations including Waterslide Bar, ENA Greek Street Food, BearBrass, P.J.O’Brien’s and Hophaus, each boasting some of the best firework-viewing vantage points.


Southgate is home to fifteen diverse restaurants, bars and eateries, with cuisines ranging from German to Tasmanian to modern European. A range of boutique retailers including vintage fashion, books and stationery can also be found within the precinct.

**Information & Images Courtesy of Southgate Restaurants/Fuller PR


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Rockpool Dining Group & Four Pillars Create New Small-batch Gin

Rockpool Dining Group & Four Pillars Collaboration   Rockpool Dining Group bar managers and mixologists have collaborated with Four Pillars Distillery to craft a limited-edition Maker Session Gin, which is exclusively available on the drink menus at the Group’s premium restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne. Just 30 bottles of the Four Pillars & Rockpool Maker … Read more

The Spook-tacular Fitzroy Street Halloween Festival!

St Kilda, Melbourne

Last Saturday 28th October


The Fitzroy Street Halloween Festival was totally spook-tacular as you can see by the fabulous pics!

Roving entertainment and fun-filled activities ensured there was something for everyone whatever the age.

The Fitzroy Street Halloween Festival ran from afternoon through to early eve, with celebrations spanning the entire length of Fitzroy Street. Special appearances from some of our favourite Halloween personalities, included the Addams Family, the creepy cast of Rocky Horror, and the one and only Dracula, helped maintain a vibrant atmosphere.


However this community event wasn’t all screams and scares! Endless family friendly entertainment included stilt walkers, fire twirlers, and face painters keen to transform fresh faces.

DSC08695_Fotor DSC08738_Fotor

There were plenty of treats alongside the tricks last Saturday, with a variety of cafes, restaurants and bars along Fitzroy Street guaranteed to calm your terror.

Many of the traders and stores along the famous Fitzroy Street strip also got in on the action, decorating their stores, and hosting some of the special guests.

The cauldron was certainly brewing with Fitzroy Street totally transformed, entertaining both Halloween first-timers, to veterans of the festival.


Thanks to Helen Reizer hrpr

Images by HRPR

Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times News

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