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Chesters has come a long way

WHAT was conceived as a simple operation offering a couple of do-it-yourself barbecues and tapas-style food has become a five-star restaurant called Chesters of Heafod Glen.

The new restaurant opened only a few weeks ago on West Swan Road in the Swan Valley, and manager Duncan Head says it has taken quite a bit of work to renovate what was an old fruit-growing shed.

“My dad bought this property three years ago. It’s 21 acres and has a farmstead and the shed, which used to be a fruit-growing shed and then [was] the Range View Riding Academy,” Mr Head says.

“Dad has restored the homestead and the shed. The original idea was that we would have cheese plates and maybe have a few barbecues here. That was to go along with the wine tastings and sales.

“But we realised what a special spot this is. When we designed the kitchen we realised we could get a really good chef in and make something great here.”

And a good chef is what they’ve secured. Paul Smith – who among other things spent six years at Dear Friends and more recently at Friends at the Hyatt – has taken up the task of creating outstanding food at the valley’s newest venue.

“I put an ad in the paper and among other applications was Paul’s,” Mr Head says.

“He wanted to work somewhere closer to home.”

The renovations to the restaurant cost about $500,000, he says, and managed to include the original beams.

“We’ve done an industrial coralline ceiling that gives it a more modern feeling, and the light fittings are all modern and we’ve got polished concrete floors.”

Mr Head’s father, Neil, has been producing wine for about four years.

“The property he had wasn’t zoned for a cellar door. This place was for sale so he bought it. We’ve got so much wine now and we’re building another shed to put barrels in.”

The pair hopes to boost its Heafod Glen wine sales through the restaurant and cellar door.

The restaurant seats 150 people but can be expanded to cater to 200. It is open for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday and dinner on Saturday.

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Maya Indian Restaurant celebrates its late-year renovations this weekend. The Fremantle favourite has expanded into a neighbouring shop and has undergone quite a transformation.

Owner Gurps Bagga says he has been looking for a suitable site to move into and was lucky that an opportunity opened up right next door.

“I’ve been looking at moving for years but there was nothing around,” he says.

When the clothing shop and offices next door vacated, Mr Bagga jumped at the chance.

“The restaurant is downstairs and the middle floor is the toilet facilities and staff change rooms, and my wife has the top floor for her fashion studio.”

The restaurant was closed last year during the renovations, but the results have considerably revamped the popular 11-year-old establishment.

“I’ve always wanted to show modern, contemporary India,” Mr Bagga says.

“I’m always trying to learn new things and see new food trends before they happen. I do a lot of travelling to check out fashion and food.

“This [renovation] came out of all those experiences and I want Maya to lead the way and showcase modern India. You go to all those restaurants with the Taj Mahal on them … I don’t want that here.”

State Attorney-General Jim McGinty will launch a special celebration party at the restaurant this Sunday evening.

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Another Fremantle favourite to change over the summer is Cicerello’s. The fish and chips king has expanded upstairs with a new bar called The Upper Deck.

Emilie McHenry has been busily promoting the venue’s special facility licence, which allows patrons to sit on the upper deck and have a glass of wine. Of course food is available, and it’s not just fish and chips. The Upper Deck’s kitchen has a good tapas menu that includes chargrilled octopus, peri peri fish fingers, and dips with pitta bread. The Upper Deck is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from midday to 8.30pm.

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A new business has opened in Perth that hopes to attract the attention of companies wanting to offer employees quality, affordable coffee in the workplace.

Xpresso Coffee Vendors has imported coffee machines that work like vending machines. The machine freshly grinds coffee beans for each cup of coffee purchased.

Xpresso Coffee Vendors co-owner Ian Jarvis says companies don’t have to purchase the machines.” in fact, company social clubs can even make a bit of money.

“Each coffee is $2 and 10 per cent of that goes back to the company. We stock the machines and collect the remaining money,” Mr Jarvis says.

Several of the machines are on trial at various businesses across the metropolitan area and Mr Jarvis believes the concept will be a hit with employers.

“If employees are given the opportunity to buy quality coffee in-house rather than taking a 15-minute walk to get some, there are gains in productivity and convenience,” he says.

“Vending machines, until now, have only been able to provide instant coffee but our machine brews each cup as it’s ordered.

“A lot of people don’t believe a machine can produce a good cup, but once we come around and show them how it works and give them a sample, they are impressed.”

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The Restaurant and Catering Industry Association held its annual Gala awards evening last weekend.

About 700 members of the restaurant and catering industry packed the Burswood Grand Ballroom to congratulate colleagues on their achievements.

In his opening address, RCIA president and recent Medal of the Order of Australia recipient Harry Ferrante said 2004 would be the most significant year in the history of the organisation, citing its expectant union of employer status with the Industrial Relations Commission as an example of things to come.

The 2003 RCIA Hospitality Award winners

The Alinta Hall of Fame – Lieta Acquarola; Employer Honour Award – Tony Hughes; Maitre D’ Honour Award – Mark Zoccoli; Chef Honour Award – Brad Ford; Employee Merit Certificate – Kyllie Graham; Apprentice Cook Merit Certificate – Stacey Miller; Trainee Waiter Merit Certificate – Margarita Parrella; Product Supplier Merit Certificate – Dyson’s Packaging; Service Merit Certificate – Robin Clarke; Media Merit Certificate – Holly Wood.

2003 RCIA Awards for Excellence winners

Fine dining – Jackson’s Restaurant; Informal dining – Essex Restaurant; Fine dining (country) – Newton House Restaurant Vasse; Informal dining (country) – Cosenzas Seafood Restaurant Bunbury; Cafe – Mile Café; Family restaurant – Sunsets Café Bistro; Tourist restaurant – The Red Herring; Restaurant in 4 and 5-star hotels – Windows Restaurant; Restaurant in hotel and/or tavern – Judds Kalgoorlie Hotel; Restaurant within a winery – Darlington Winery Restaurant; Speciality restaurant – Meads Mosman Bay; BYO restaurant – Peppermill Restaurant; Themed restaurant – Joe’s Fish Shack; Ethnic restaurant – Julio’s; New restaurant – The Gala Restaurant.

The 2003 RCIA Awards for Excellence in Catering winners

Function/convention centre catering – Altitude 9; Venue catering – The Perth Concert Hall, Ogden IFC; Event catering – Telstra Rally Australia, Spices Catering; Site catering – NWC Facilities Management, Barrow Island; Industrial/institutional catering – Royal Perth Hospital Catering Department; Off-site full service catering – Beaumonde Catering; Off-site food only catering – Leonies Catering Services; Catering consultant of the year – Jeni Donald, Ogden IFC; Function chef of the year – Gregory Aiberti, Munja Gardens Function Centre.

Barperson of the Year- Sam Astbury, Hudson Gallery.

2004 Braziliano SuperBarista of the Year – Stephen Meszaros, Bocelli Espresso.

 

 

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