How to make the perfect ham and cheese toastie

AUSTRALIA’S obsession with cooking shows and showing off what we consider our triumphant (and tragic) #foodporn pics on Instagram have become national pastimes.

So, instead of social media enthusiasts just showing off their culinary narcissism, there’s a worthy way to make your fancy-pants food post do something more than garner “likes” from friends and followers.

In somewhat perfect timing, Australia’s most respected French-born chef Guillaume Brahimi (well, July 14 is Bastille day) is the ambassador for this year’s #mealforameal campaign.

With two million Aussies reliant on food relief every year and 90 per cent of Australian food relief agencies not able to meet demand, Brahimi is calling on people who “share” their meals on Instagram to make a difference.

The #mealforameal initiative means that every time someone takes a photo of a meal and shares it on social media with that hashtag, main supporter Virgin Mobile will donate to OzHarvest, so they can deliver a real meal to a person in need.

So far, over 260,000 food pics have been turned into real meals, but this year organisers want to go bigger, even including your 3am kebab, your after-work pizza, your at-the-footy pie, a swish dine-out meal, or a sandwich at your desk Insta post.

Brahimi stars in the warm and fuzzy campaign that pokes some fun at traditional, long-winded cooking shows as well as, at times, our crazy food photography obsession. Most importantly, it also teaches how to make the best ham and chess toastie.

This year, the ever charming Guillaume has partnered with the telephony company to help Aussies get behind the cause and in the interim, loosen up their food styling and “filtering” techniques: “I’m always on my mobile taking pictures of food,’’ says award-winning Brahimi.

“I love that social media has allowed us to celebrate and be inspired by food. But I’ll admit, I can spend a bit too long getting the perfect shot!

“I strive for perfection in everything I do – the best ingredients, technique, presentation. To be a good chef you have to.”

With that in mind, Brahimi and the mobile company have decided to turn every food picture we take – good, the bad, the unfiltered and the unflattering – into a real meal for someone less fortunate.

“Why wouldn’t you start posting everything you’re eating as the premise for the campaign is that any meal counts from the 3am kebab, to the ham and cheese toastie.”

(You can see Guillaume create his “perfect” ham and cheese toastie – that’s English for Croque Monsieur – in the video below).

Sharing photos of perfectly styled, overly-filtered meals on social media is something Australians love to do, and some new research has shown just how far we’ll go to get that perfect shot for Instagram.

According to research for Virgin Mobile almost half (49 per cent) of Australians regularly post food pictures on social media and as a nation we are posting a whopping 71 million food photos per year. Yes, our social media news feeds are overly stuffed with pictures of food.

Check out some of these Instagram food post habits:

* Three in four (74 per cent) of Aussie social media users that post photos wouldn’t post a food photo if it didn’t look good enough to share

* Our Insta-shame doesn’t stop there, with 63 per cent of Aussie food posters admitting they would never post a picture of their guilty food pleasure such as last night’s leftovers, a fatty takeaway or their secret stash of chocolate

* Three in four Aussie social media users (74 per cent) would be happy to be more truthful with their posts if it was for a good cause

* 41 per cent would happily stand on a chair to get the perfect food shot

* 30 per cent exaggerate about how good a meal is when they post it to social media

* 57 per cent post food pictures just to get a reaction from friends and family

* 61 per cent of Aussie social media users admit to at least one of these behaviours before they post their foodie picture on social media: they re-arrange the dish to get the perfect shot; they claim somebody else’s dish as their own; they request fellow diners to wait to eat so they can post the perfect shot and they cook a meal specifically to share it on social media.

(The research, btw, was conducted online by Lonegran Research among 1,011 Australians aged 18 or older who regularly use social media and post images of food/meals on social media).

Ronni Kahn, founder and CEO of OzHarvest says that last year’s #mealforameal initiative enabled OzHarvest to deliver a quarter of a million more meals to Aussies in need.

“The initiative was so successful because Virgin Mobile added purpose to an everyday act, giving people the opportunity to turn their mobile phone behaviour into something more meaningful,’’ says Mr Kahn.

“This year we’re asking people to post every one of their food pics – the good the bad and the ugly – no matter what! The more food pics tagged #mealforameal the more meals we can deliver to those in need.”

Meanwhile, David Scribner, head of Virgin Mobile Australia says the phenomenon of snapping and sharing food pics through your mobile is showing no signs of slowing.

“Our mobiles are a one-stop shop for food photography, allowing people to snap their meals in high quality and immediately share them through social media,’’ he adds.

“The success of #mealforameal is testament to this phenomenon and we’re so proud of how Australia has shown its support so far. We’d encourage more Aussies to get snapping and tagging, whatever they’re eating, because every food pic could mean a meal for someone in need.”

Okay, so we’re not all going to be as genius-like in the kitchen as Guillaume, but hey, next time you’re posting your piece of #foodporn tag it #mealforameal too so at least you can help out those who may not be as fortunate.

Check out for more details.

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Laurent Perrier celebrates in style

Champagne Laurent-Perrier celebrates the release of Alexandra Grande Cuvée Rosé 2004

Named after a cherished family member to mark a special occasion, LaurentPerrier’s Alexandra Grande Cuvée Rosé is a rare luxury cuvée rosé which expresses the very highest standards of the House. The Alexandra Grande Cuvée Rosé 2004 is only the seventh release of this prestige cuvée and is now available in Australia for the first time.

Bernard de Nonancourt, the man whose courage, convictions and energy transformed a small champagne house purchased by his mother in 1939 into a global brand, took the opportunity of his elder daughter’s marriage in 1987 to create this prestigious vintage rosé Champagne.

Alexandra Grande Cuvée Rosé was a significant addition to the oenological collection of the House, which also produces the benchmark non vintage rosé Champagne. To showcase the Champagne at its best, the Grande Cuvée Rosé was presented in an original bottle, inspired by hand-blown bottles made in the time of King Henri IV.

Aged for 8 years, Alexandra Grande Cuvée Rosé 2004 shows delicate salmon pink tones and fine beading. The complex aroma contains hints of wild strawberries and redcurrant jam, followed by notes of candied citrus. With elegant finesse, the soft dry texture leads into a long finish indicative of berry fruit.

With a blend of approximately 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, the selection of plots and vineyard sites for the perfectly ripe grapes was extremely stringent. Some of the most prestigious Champagne Villages, or crus, such as Ambonnay, Bouzy, and Verzenay for Pinot Noir, and Avize, Cramant and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger for Chardonnay were selected.

Served between 10 and 12 degrees, this beautiful Champagne should be reserved for only the finest, most delicate of dishes, such as saffron scallops, a delicately spiced Breton lobster, or a fillet of duckling with blueberries.

Bernard de Nonancourt dedicated his life to Laurent-Perrier. Up until his death in October 2010, he made his vibrant stamp on the House. Today his legacy continues with renewed energy and creativity, overseen by his two daughters, Alexandra Pereyre de Nonancourt and Stéphanie Meneux de Nonancourt.

Laurent-Perrier Alexandra Grande Cuvée Rosé 2004 is available from Vaucluse Cellars – 02 9337 1765 and Best Cellars Darlinghurst – 02 9361 3733

RRP = $399

Available by the bottle at Sepia Restaurant, Sydney

Kinky Boots heading to Australia



The feel-good, multi award-winning musical Kinky Boots will make its Australian premiere at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne from October 2016.

Kinky Boots features a book by four-time Tony Award-winner, music and lyrics by pop icon Cyndi Lauper, and direction and choreography by two-time Tony Award-winner Jerry Mitchell.

The ticket waitlist is now open at  c5Bp8EZYrz

Sign up to be first in line for tickets.

“Delightful, high-energy fun!”

The New York Post

“A sizzling, high-spirited new musical that’s bound to put cheer in your heart!”

USA Today

In statements today, Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews said: “I'm thrilled to announce that the Australian premiere season of Kinky Boots will be hosted in Melbourne, the theatre and arts capital of the country. It tells a powerful story and speaks to equality, to fairness, to dignity and to all of those things that Victorians hold dear.”

Producers Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig said: “We are very proud of the show, and we cannot wait for Australian audiences of all ages to experience the joyful and heartwarming production that has been embraced around the world.”

Australian Producer, Michael Cassel said: “I am very excited to partner with Daryl, Hal and Cameron Mackintosh to bring this phenomenal, Tony Award-winning production to Australia. I am looking forward to our auditions commencing later this year as we begin the search for our Australian cast.”

Composer and Lyricist, Cyndi Lauper said: “People’s reactions to Kinky Boots have been amazing from the very beginning. By the end of the show, the audiences are on their feet clapping and dancing and cheering – what more could you possibly ask for? And the show has a tonne of heart. It feels like such an honour to be part of something that makes people so happy.”

The blockbuster Broadway hit scooped six Tony Awards in 2013, including Best Musical and Best Original Score Written for the Theatre – the first time a solo female composer has ever won the award. The production also took home the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album.

Inspired by a true story and based on the Miramax film by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth starring Joel Edgerton, Kinky Boots tells the story of Charlie Price who has reluctantly inherited his father's Northampton shoe factory. Trying to live up to his father's legacy and save the family business from bankruptcy, Charlie finds inspiration in the form of Lola, a fabulous entertainer in need of some sturdy stilettos. Lola turns out to be the one person who can help Charlie become the man he's meant to be. As they work to turn the factory around, this unlikely pair finds that they have more in common than they ever dreamed possible – and that when you change your mind, you can change the world.

Kinky Boots officially opened on Broadway in April 2013, with a production also currently on tour in the US. It has since opened in Seoul (November 2014) and Toronto (June 2015), with the production opening at London’s Adelphi Theatre on 15 September 2015.

Kinky Boots Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne 219 Exhibition Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 From October 2016

Ticket waitlist now open at:

Follow Kinky Boots on social media: Facebook: @KinkyBootsOz Hashtag: #kinkybootsoz


Victoria Beckham does Vogue Australia

Nothing better than taking a couple of hours ‘out’ just to breathe and peruse the latest issues of some fave mags.
Seriously, how good does Victoria Beckham look? Umm, it’s a long time since The Spice Girls – but what an elegant, strong and chic woman she has become. Settling in for a good read 🙂 The new issue is out on Monday, by the way. . .

The worlds most expensive egg

‘The £20m Fabergé egg that was almost sold for scrap’ (The Telegraph UK) ‘Scrap metal find turns out to be $33 million Faberge golden egg’ (CNN)


This captivating new event tells the fascinating story behind the most prestigious name in luxury: Fabergé. Enjoying unprecedented access to the most esteemed private collections, insights from world experts and interviews with the descendants of the Fabergé family, this is a rare opportunity to discover the genius of the family behind the finest objects ever created.

The event features the extraordinary unveiling of two historic new pieces – the first new Fabergé egg in almost 100 years, and a lost treasure, recently discovered in America’s Midwest by a scrap metal dealer – and presents them exclusively to international cinema audiences, before they return to the secrecy of their very private collections.

Experience the wonder of seeing Fabergé’s exquisite objects in stunning detail on the big screen for the first time.