If you’d like to hear the latest in food, wine and travel news, you now have some extra options. Travel Writers Radio, an initiative of IFWTWA Australasia, offers writer members the opportunity to broadcast their stories and have them heard live on Melbourne’s 87.8 FM every Wednesday between 5 pm and 7 pm Melbourne time; it is also available live on the Internet at the same time; and recognising that many of our listeners are in other States or outside Australia, we recently launched our own SoundCloud site. So now you can listen to the exact story you want to hear without wading through a two-hour podcast. Just go to https://soundcloud.com/travelwritersradio and you can keep up with the latest in food wine and travel – anytime and anywhere. For more information or to get in touch with the program producers, email: email@example.com
Internationally acclaimed wine expert, wine author, TV host and speaker Tyson Stelzer, is hitting the airwaves as the resident wine expert for the Travel Writers Radio Show.
An initiative of the International Food Wine Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA), the show is aired, across central Melbourne, on 87.8FM – Melbourne’s newest FM radio station and runs from 5-7pm every Wednesday afternoon.
Co-hosted by Peter Watson and Graeme Kemlo, who jointly have more than 70 years experience in the industry, the show features both a travel and culinary segment each week, offering information from the best things to do, and see, as well a top tips and advice plus stories on the downright quirky and unusual.
Stelzer, who was just recently named International Wine & Spirit Communicator of the Year 2015 at VinItaly, one of the world’s leading wine events, will feature in a dedicated wine segment each month.
Stelzer has 14 wine books to his name (including The Champagne Guide – the benchmark global reference to champagne), is a regular judge at wine shows; co-creator with UK wine writer Matthew Jukes of The Great Australian Red competition and host of the groundbreaking new television series, People of the Vines.
He will cover everything from what life is really like when you ‘live in the vines’, to his latest wine discoveries and how the world of wine is evolving. Co-host Peter Watson says it’s a privilege to have someone of Tyson’s calibre on the show. “Our mantra on the show is to do the very best we can to ensure we are entertaining, engaging and informing our listeners with the most credible authoritative figures in the industry. To have Tyson on the show, who has been described as the next James Halliday, is the absolute epitome of this, and verification of where we have positioned our radio segment.”
Launched in Australia in 2011, the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association (Australasia) sits under the global Association of the same name, which was established in the 1950s, and has a growing global membership base in North and South America, Europe and the UK. IFWTWA Australasia has members in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Its focus is on offering skills development, story angles and leads and the Travel Writers Radio Show is an integral part of that process, says Graeme Kemlo Australasian Chair and Co-Host of the program.
With supermarket shelves depleted of frozen berries in the wake of the Hepatitis A scare from contaminated imported berries, the Gallace family from Mornington Peninsula south of Melbourne has stepped up to ensure safe local berry supplies. They told Travel Writers Radio that they would use berries from Sunny Ridge, the family’s 800 acre farm lands to provide frozen strawberries initially to major supermarkets. They expect to commence deliveries in June. Speaking with TravelWritersRadio host Peter Watson, co-owner Ruth Gallace said today the family also grew raspberries, blueberries and cherries at their properties and intended to provide national distribution. The couple already produce and distribute a 100% real fruit cider under the Rebello brand. Ruth said the idea had been in the pipeline for some time but was not considered viable, however the current increase in demand changed all that. “We were already seeing a major shift in consumer attitudes towards local produce as people become more and more discerning and this latest situation has propelled that motivation to buy local.” The couple even earned congratulations from Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has congratulated the Gallace family on their initiative, saying: “It is good to see Australian businesses looking at ways to expand further and I wish the Matilda’s brand every success with their new berry products.”
The interview can be heard on https://soundcloud.com/travelwritersradio
This week the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) celebrates its first year of the Travel Writers Radio show, covering all the areas of food, wine and beverages, leisure travel, business travel, business events/MICE and, importantly, the people in our industry. We also celebrate the doubling of our show from one hour focused on food wine and travel to two hours – an hour on food and wine etc that we call “Flavours” and a whole hour just on travel – from new and interesting destinations to first person experiences. Travel Writers Radio is created by IFWTWA members from Australasia and around the world – we have had dozens of local and international members on the show, which is broadcast live every Wednesday drivetime ( from 5 pm to 7pm ) on J-AIR 87.8FM radio in Melbourne. It also goes out live via the Internet, we have iOS and Android smartphone apps and we have a podcast facility, now hosted on our own SoundCloud site – https:/soundcloud.com/travelwritersradio As an IFWTWA writer member we invite you to contribute editorial content to the show; as an associate member with clients in the travel industry we welcome your pitch on stories about your clients that you feel would be of interest. Ideally, since we broadcast initially in the Australian FM market, your story should have some appeal to Australians, who are great travellers and well known for their love of food, wine and the good life. There’s a renaissance in “the wireless” as we used to call it, because radio has never really gone out of fashion. It excites the imagination and is a magnificent medium for telling stories, so any journalist with a little upskilling can repurpose stories gathered for print or online use. They can be re-told, refreshed with the addition of actuality – interviews, short but relevant quotes from your interview subjects, even a headshot of your subject to go alongside the interview on SoundCloud. You will receive a link to download your story after we broadcast it – your interview subjects love hearing their story and PR associates report the benefit of being able to send clients a copy as well. This is yet another benefit of IFWTWA membership. At IFWTWA Australasia we are also committed to upskilling members in the current climate of shrinking journalism opportunities. Soon we will conduct the first training program for writer members who want to understand the requirements of storytelling on radio. If you are interested please contact us. To submit your story idea, please contact Graeme Kemlo, IFWTWA Australasia chair and executive producer of Travel Writers Radio – firstname.lastname@example.org
The act of hiking is as much a lasting memory to me as the final breathtaking scenery awarded at the end of the long journey.
Cutty grass slicing its name in my calf muscles, overgrown branches with wet leaves sliding across my face, lizards darting into deep bush at the sound of stones crunching under my feet. I feel like it adds to the experience, allowing me to truly feel I have earned the right to the majestic views it brings.
But that’s not for everyone, and what is so remarkable about Sydney’s Blue Mountains is that anyone can experience those same final lasting moments of truly breathtaking beauty, regardless if you walk four days (which we didn’t), four hours (closer to it), or four minutes – and it’s all within an easy 74 kilometre drive from Sydney.
From the city’s northern beaches, where my English girlfriend and hiking companion lives, we hardly covered two topics of conversation before we pulled into Katoomba township.
Our accommodation, Sky Rider Motor Inn http://www.skyridermotorinn.com.au,
proved a suitable choice. Clean and comfortable and well suited to our needs – a bed for the night in a central location allowing us to cover off the local townships.
It’s this reasonably priced, quiet accommodation which during peak season was little more than A$145 a night, which makes the experience so broadly appealing and accessible.
Our room had a double bed, couch which folded out to a small double bed, a desk, and small, but highly functional bathroom, equipped with all the little bottled bathroom necessities you’re left at any good hotel.
The staff promptly pulled out a map on our arrival and circled and pointed to all the hot spots, making some great dining recommendations along the way.
We decided to initially set off on the Blackhead’s Govett’s leap track after researching the Blue Mountains website. http://www.bluemts.com.au/info/thingstodo/bushwalks/
After almost half a day of walking, a small detour (which may have been a result of talking rather than observing signage), and a storm quickly brewing, we passed waterfalls dropping 180 metres to the base of the cliff and were met with what I can only describe as majestic views.
Since the 1800s the air of the Blue Mountains has been promoted as a health tonic, and my soul certainly drank it up.
There’s something spiritual about the uneven lush landscape and no matter how hard you try, you can’t see beyond the rolling mountain-scape.
For those not wanting to get amongst the bush, a visit to the Three Sisters in Katoomba is a must.
Drive to end of the main street in Katoomba and there they are in all their glory.
The Three Sisters is essentially a rock formation, which Aboriginal legend says represents three sisters who were turned to stone because they fell in love with three men from another tribe.
For an alternative to hiking and/or sightseeing a visit to the township of Leura will meet any shopping addict’s needs, with great cafes when you’re done perusing the quaint shops.
No visit to a local township is complete without experiencing local artisans and their wares, and there’s no better place than The Nook, which sells everything from hand-made children’s clothing and dolls to gorgeous art works, all at a reasonable price. http://www.thenookleura.com.au/about/
Back in Katoomba we decided to dine locally, and headed to the 100-year-old ‘Old Bank’, which is part of the Carrington Hotel.
We didn’t make it to the brasserie upstairs, we were impressed enough by the cosy English style pub and gourmet food on offer. Think aubergine, cumin and mint relish; smoked salmon with mini roast potatoes and dill, and king prawns wrapped in pancetta, all washed down with local wines and craft beer.
Driving back to Sydney reminiscing over the images of the blue haze of the mountainous terrain, this is a trip you need in your travel memory bank, and once you’ve done it, you’ll be left not just ticking it off the bucket list, but planning your next visit.
Samantha Lippiatt spent quite a few years in the ‘mainstream’ of the travel business; a few years she had this idea about health, wellness and travel so she went in search of an opportunity and found it with a business called Health and Fitness Travel. Samantha is now an entrepreneur, healthy lifestyle advocate and co-founder of Australia’s first speciality wellness travel company Health and Fitness Travel. She has an unbridled enthusiasm for all things travel, health and fitness and is committed to providing healthy holidays options that not only enhance but change lives.
I caught up with Sam – on the Travel Writers Show -on Melbourne’s J-Air just few days ago and asked her first:
How did you get into the Health and Fitness Travel Business?
I wanted to combine my passions for wellness and travel, originally I was looking to set up my own retreat and in doing so I noticed there was no platform on which to market these types of holidays even though my research showed it was becoming increasingly popular. My personal experience and market research showed me that travellers, particularly within the wellness sector, wanted a trustworthy, knowledgeable and localised contact to help guide them through their booking experience and to help them explore the many options on offer.
During my research I came across Health and Fitness Travel in the UK, the “experts in tailor-made healthy holidays”; and after studying them and their business model I knew I had to bring this business to Australia. It was immediately well received with many travellers calling in and telling us how they had been on the lookout for such a business and booking up their healthy holidays and it continues to gain popularity and followers month-on-month.
Wellness tourism is a fast growing market segment – up so 35% over the last few years is that what you see in your business:
The local wellness tourism sector is growing every day with more and more Australians seeking better ways to take care of themselves and to improve their lifestyle. There is a growing segment of travellers who are even taking trips specifically focused on maintaining and improving their personal health and well-being. This is driving the growth of wellness tourism and we can’t wait to see Wellness Travel go mainstream.
What sort of holidays are people buying:
There is a big focus early in the year on fitness and overall healthy lifestyles to kick-start the New Year, and lots of de-stress and relaxation holidays booked for later in the year to give travellers something to look forward to as they move into another busy year. A big trend we have identified is the Yoga fusion holiday where guests combine yoga with another interest such as Yoga and spa to de-stress, Yoga and Stand up Paddle-board for fitness and fun. There are others who want to explore the country in which they are travelling, so they look at our bespoke Discover Recover range.
One property in particular is very popular with Australian Travellers and a personal favourite of mine, Kamalaya in Koh Samui Thailand and I believe that is due to the wide range of programs on offer. From detox to fitness and even a program tailored especially around embracing major life change there is something on offer for every wellness traveller.
You have a great website; does that drive a lot of traffic:
We are really proud of our website, it is easy to navigate, provides the option to browse by destination, specific health and fitness holiday experiences or preferred time of year to travel. We also have a great blog attached to it with lots of wellness industry information and industry experts including personal trainers, sports instructors, nutritionists and yoga teachers, as well as local destination specialists will often share advice for our readers. This year we will be adding more functionality and creating a mobile friendly version as we know lots of our clients like to research on their lunch-break via their hand held devices.
You seem to have a very full range of holidays on offer:
Health and Fitness Travel provides clients with a huge range of bespoke active and wellness getaways worldwide; from fitness, to detox and de-stress programs through to comprehensive well-being spa and rejuvenation retreats, and we can tailor make the perfect health and fitness holidays to suit our clients goals and interests. We have even created our own exclusive range “Fusion Fitness” holidays that allows us to create a program unique to the traveller with many leading properties where this option did not exist before.
So whether people want to be active on holiday and learn a new activity such as kite-surfing, mountain biking, diving and tennis, or simply relax in a spa, meditate or participate in a yoga class, detox or fitness program, we’ll find the perfect health and fitness holiday for them.
Do you regularly have special offers available:
Yes we do – We promote all of our latest offers via the website, and as part of our negotiations we are often able to include special bonus inclusions exclusively for guests of Health and Fitness Travel.
Do you have a personal favourite H&F destination:
There are so many, we have a just partnered with a fantastic collective of luxury walks in Australia (Great walks of Australia) and I am about to join one to explore down in Tasmania and I am really looking forward to it.
Some of my all-time favourites very close to home are:
Aro Ha Retreat, perfect for a detox and fitness holiday located just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand offering an all-inclusive eco-friendly retreat where you begin and end your days with yoga and in-between explore the stunning scenery with sub-alpine hiking, my husband loved this property and we both felt so revitalised after our stay. COMO Shambhala in Bali, is fantastic for a de-stress and relaxation holiday where you can focus on your total wellbeing, Guest teachers and practitioners fly in from all over the world to this spectacular wellness sanctuary. The spa is world class and the food is so healthy but delicious. What more could you ask for?
San went on to offer a couple of specials for our listeners on J-Air and they are in fact still available for any readers who wish to take advantage of them: To find out more go to the website: www.healthandfitnesstravel.com.au
For those who want to read more about the global growth in wellness travel, there is a comprehensive report available on the Global Wellness Summit http://bit.ly/1641rVg
It was on a push bicycle tour of Japan, with little more than a sleeping bag and his notebook, Kengo Hiromatsu decided he would become a chef.
From East to West, North to South, Kengo quite literally ate his way around his home country, taking notes as he went.
With each region having its own signature dish, he decided food was such an important part of every day life, he’d like to be a part of that.
He tried cooking school, but left before completing the degree and turned to a hands-on education instead, working his way diligently from front of house, to back of house, before returning to specialise in Japanese cuisine and get the obligatory qualification.
Kengo honed his trade in various restaurants around Japan for some 20 years before he came to Paul Mathis’ Tokyo inspired restaurant and bar, Akachochin (www.akachochin.com.au) in the newly developed South Wharf precinct of Melbourne.
It’s no surprise he was chosen for Akachochin, whose specialty sake range comprises 50 different varieties matched to the region from which dishes originate – allowing you to eat and drink you way around Japan.
From sushi to specialised Japanese dishes – you’ll find it here.
But Kengo’s top pick? The Hiramasa Namerou, or kingfish tartare .. a signature dish in east coast Japan .. and now a signature dish at Akachochin.
To speak with him you’d never know that just a matter of months ago he was living in the western part of Japan unable to speak any English.
“I like Australia, it’s actually quite similar to my home town and the people are very kind. They really like the authentic Japanese cuisine.”
So what’s this culinary sensei’s secret to cooking the best sushi?
“Don’t put it in the fridge” he says.
“It hardens the rice, changes the texture and when you put fresh fish on it, it tastes much better if it’s room temperature.”
It’s the simple things that matter, he tells me.
His other tip – pour sushi vinegar in the rice straight after cooking the rice, when it’s hot, not cold, and don’t stir it, but instead use a cutting action through the rice to separate it.
Fresh fish is imperative at Akachochin, and it’s something Kengo lives by, going to the fish markets and choosing his own fish every day.
Besides his travel epiphany to become a chef, there was another influence – his mother.
“My mother loved cooking and introduced lots of dishes to us, I have sometimes tried to make dishes like her.”
“Do you succeed?” I ask.
“No, no”, he says, “just try.”
Looking at the dishes he’s preparing for the day, I’m guessing she’d be well impressed.
This week is a new milestone for the station as it goes live on Melbourne 87.8 FM. So this means you can not only listen via the Internet, on your smartphone (Apple or Android) using special free J-AIR apps, but you can also catch the weekly one hour show (Wednesdays at 5 pm Australian EST) on your FM radio at home or on the move.
Of course if you miss an episode, you can listen to our podcasts or download them from the cloud. Here’s a link to every episode so far – most recent first:
Running away with the circus is a far cry from where Queensland born Shane ‘Skip’ Schipper thought he’d ever he.
Spending his formative years in the small town of Mount Morgan, Shane had thought he’d go on to be a mechanic – but with a recession at the time and a shortage of jobs he decided to study food and beverage instead.
Little did he know that decision would eventually lead him down the circus path, travelling to more than 30 countries cooking up all manner of dishes for the crew of Cirque Du Soleil, with wife Amanda Quayle documenting their travels along the way in her blog – Graze The Earth.
Shane’s real love affair with food began while he was working at the then named ‘Powerhouse’ – a five star boutique hotel in Brisbane. He then moved to Macau, and it was working in a casino a friend told him of the role coming up at Cirque Du Soleil. With wife Amanda enthusiastic about the adventures and opportunities it would provide, he applied, and the rest as they say, is history.
The role takes the pair all over the world (they’re now in North America until the end of the year), where Shane creates dishes highlighting the local cuisine, always inviting the local Cirque employees to bring their families along to join the feast.
Recently in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, they served pierogi (polish dumplings), borsch (soup), polish sausages and deli meats with slow roasted goose leg and cherries; while in the west German city of Dusseldorf it was schnitzels, pretzels followed by sushi, teriyaki chicken and edamame to pay homage to the large Japanese population.
Shane says it’s not all clowning around cooking, and there are many challenging times, particularly around Christmas and New Year, “we love camping and it’s hard to see all the sunshine and blue water at home where we are walking to work in zero temperatures”.
He says it can also be hard to find suppliers in new markets because they are only in each city for six to eight weeks, “my main concern though is always trying to keep everyone happy, because there are around 20 different nationalities on tour”.
But, he says all in all it’s an incredible experience and really the only way to top it would be becoming an OAM (Official Accompanying Member) on tour.
“Really not much could top this,” well, he says, “if I can get Amanda to find a job with Cirque then we can always switch places and I can fish for a living!”
For more on Shane’s travelling circus: https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/kooza/show/about.aspx
To follow Amanda and Shane’s culinary journey: www.grazetheearth.com.au
IFWTWA Australasia member, Mark Juddery died in a Canberra hospital on Tuesday after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 43.
Mark was an active writer, based in Australia’s capital, Canberra. He was a columnist for The Canberra Times, and also contributed to The Spectator and The Huffington Post.
Mark wrote screenplays, radio sketches, movie reviews and four books including his last, Why These Are The Best Times Ever, in which argued in his own witty way that things were not as bad as they seemed. He attended the IFWTWA annual conference In Las Vegas in 2013, participated in IFWTWA’s online webinars and appeared on IFWTWA Australasia’s Travel Writers radio show last May to discuss his book and also his cancer diagnosis. Typically the quietly spoken writer was upbeat.
His funeral is expected to be held next week.
On behalf of The International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association Australasia, we extend our deepest sympathy to Mark’s family and friends.