What's on February: in and around Melbourne

Former Masterchef contestant Seamus Ashley will be cooking at CERES' new Merri pop-up kitchen.
Former Masterchef contestant Seamus Ashley will be cooking at CERES' new Merri pop-up kitchen. Photo: Supplied

New pop-up kitchen in Brunswick
Squeezy-apartment dwellers, under-appreciated chefs and as-yet undiscovered culinary geniuses, here's something for you to chew on ... Melbourne now has a space where your kitchen skills can take centre stage. The Merri - the former commercial kitchen and restaurant space located at Brunswick's CERES environment park - is now available to hire for one-off dinner parties. Christened POP-UP at The Merri, the concept will get a road test this Friday (February 22) when former MasterChef contestant and Japanese food-ophile Seamus Ashley takes over the kitchen to produce a seven-course feast.

The second chef lined up is former Vue de Monde pastry chef and French import Younes Khazour from Asterisk Kitchen, who will turn his hand to savoury as well as sweet things at The Merri on April 12. Chefs who want to branch out from their usual repertoire are being encouraged to try the pop-up kitchen for one-off events.

But aspiring amateurs can also host their ultimate dinner party in the space. Alternatively, the CERES community kitchen (a separate space) is available to book for cooking classes, workshops and community cook-ups.Tickets to Seamus Ashley dinner $60. For more information see www.ceres.org.au or contact CERES: 03 9389 0120 or email jessica@ceres.org.au

Free coffee for vegies
Backyard farmers take note; if you have a surplus of tomatoes, zucchini, eggs or any other produce then the good people at Kinfolk (673 Bourke Street, Melbourne) have a wonderful use for it. Bring half a kilo (or more) of your home-grown goods in and, you’ll not only get a free coffee, but suitable produce will be cooked up in the cafe, or used to make a thee-course vegetarian feast with all proceeds going to a good cause. Profits will contribute to aid projects in Rwanda, Ghana and Palm Island. It’s all part of the Sustainable Living Festival (until February 24). Kinfolk staff are planning to draw up a map showing where donated produce has come from on the night.
Note sure what to do with all that home-grown produce? Trade it for a coffee (and a feel-good cause) at Melbourne's ...
Note sure what to do with all that home-grown produce? Trade it for a coffee (and a feel-good cause) at Melbourne's Kinfolk cafe. Photo: Eddie Jim

Thursday February 21st, 7pm. Dinner is $60 per-person. Email kinfolkcafe@gmail.com for bookings and inquiries.

Seafood festival
Summer is oh-so nearly over so make the most of it while it lasts and head to Apollo Bay for the seaside town’s annual seafood festival. Besides an abundance of local seafood, a farmers’ market will also showcase other local produce including wine, beer and some rather legendary Tim Tam gelato - all set to a backdrop of live entertainment by musicians playing the Apollo Bay music festival. Chris Talihmanidis will host a cooking demonstration to help you make the most of your seafood purchases.
Saturday February 23rd, 10am-9pm, Apollo Bay foreshore. More information www.facebook.com/ApolloBaySeafoodFestival

Urban farm open day
If you’re never going to make that dream trip to Tuscany, then a tour of Tony and Lina Siciliano’s rather large garden (Rose Creek Estate) in Keilor East may suffice. The couple’s thriving suburban farm and mini-winery, set on 2.5 hectares, has entered into folklore and was even made the subject of a recent book (Growing Honest Food, by Gabriella Gomersall-Hubbard). Sample the Sicilianos' olive oil, cheeses, wine and home-baked pizzas and pick up gardening, chook-keeping and cooking tips from those with decades of experience to draw on.
Sunday February 24, tours on the hour from 11am-4pm at 2 Craig Street, East Keilor. Guided tour and lunch (including woodfired pizza) $30, or $12 for tour only. Travelling by bus is recommended. A bus will depart Federation Square at 10.30am and leaving Rose Creek Estate at 2pm. (Return bus ticket $15). All tickets must be pre-purchased at sustainabletable.org.au or cal 03 8644 4050.

Eating for a good cause
Steve and Vonnie Frazer, owners of Stones of the Yarra Valley, are long-time supporters of Médecins Sans Frontières and will donate all money raised from a special dinner to the organisation. All costs (staff, food and drinks) will be absorbed by the restaurant and the evening will include a presentation on the aid organisation’s current work in the world’s hot-spots. Serious stuff aside, the dance floor will also be put to good use.
Saturday March 2nd, Stones of the Yarra Valley, 14 St Huberts Road, Coldstream. $125 per-person (includes matched wines). Phone 03 9739 0900.

World fare
The Dandenong Market’s annual world fare will be held this year on Sunday March 3rd as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Experience food from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East as the market’s Merchandise Hall is given over to hawker stalls, food vans and musicians. Tasting plates from $2.50. Free entry. (Shuttle buses operate between Dandenong Station and the market).
Sunday March 3rd, 11am-4pm, Cleeland Street, Dandenong.

Dumplings, dumplings, dumplings (and dumplings, dumplings, dumplings)
Do you harbour a burning ambition to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records? Well, what better way to realise your dream than to eat your way in? Join dumpling fans of all persuasions at this Chan’s-sponsored effort to break the record for the largest outdoor yum cha ever.
Sunday March 3rd, Treasury Gardens, Melbourne, $20 per-person. See www.chansyumcha.com.au


Cheese, please
Shelley Panton pottery studio will play host to cheese-lover Tom Merkli (The Red Cow) for an evening dedicated to Swiss cheese. Ticket-holders will enjoy six varieties of Swiss cheese, artisan breads and condiments matched to wines by Montalto Vineyard.
Wednesday March 6th, 6.30pm-8.30pm, 88 Park Road, Middle Park. Tickets $75. Book online at shop.shelleypanton.com or call 03 9537 0737.

What's on: Melbourne is compiled by Jane Holroyd. Send submissions to  editorial@goodfood.com.au with 'Melbourne' in the subject line.