At the Beefsteak and Burgundy club, guests are invited to join in the fun, food, friendship and educational aspects of regular dining events. Gail Woodward of the Townsville womens’ chapter, fills us in on their adventures each season. For more information about the group, go online to


I just love reading through a menu, soaking up all the food combinations and imagining the smells and flavours wafting from the kitchens of our local restaurants.

I also admit to searching the internet for an ingredient or technique written into the menu. After all, I feel obliged when a delicious learning experience presents itself!

Butters made with sage or burnt paprika, sauces and dressings with ingredients such as chilli-mint, truffle oil, cumin and mustard seed or orange and cardamom.

Even the humble salt and pepper has had a makeover and become more sophisticated with the appearance of smoked chilli salt, Himalayan pink salt, Maldon salt flakes and cayenne pepper… all sensational seasonings.

I am also often blown away with how beautifully food is plated up and served to patrons of our fine dining restaurants…micro herbs and edible flowers always look so pretty and festive on the plate. It’s the chef’s creativity on show for all to see and admire.

As I sit, looking and comparing the dishes as they are reverently placed in front of us (and suffering from occasional bouts of food envy), I can see why the internet is awash with food photos (the challenge for me, is holding off from devouring the dish, long enough to take a photo)!

As the meals are placed, I spend a few minutes revisiting the menu and its description of the dishes the table has ordered (yes this means asking for a menu to remain, even after the order has been placed).

We’ve come a long way from mixed herbs and spices. Since our last edition of Townsville Food Magazine, I have enjoyed saffron potatoes and wattleseed cheddar cheese, wasabi crème and Indian dishes which explode with the flavour of exotic spices, just to name a few delights. So my recommendation to you this Autumn is, spice up your life a little…

I can guarantee you’ll be inspired!

“Fill every glass, for wine inspires us and fires us with courage, love and joy”.