Paddock to plate, vine to glass, chocolate to my hips!

by Friday, November 9, 2018


I had someone stop me in my tracks last week. I’d never met this person before. They were just getting to know me, but they were genuinely perplexed.

“How can you stay so enthusiastic after doing your job on ‘Getaway’ for so many years?”, they asked me.

We both looked at each other as though we had two heads.

I thought about my week interviewing hard-working, big-dreaming, driven, passionate, funny, lovely people in the most heartbreakingly beautiful region of The Hunter Valley and I couldn’t stop smiling.

What a gift to not only meet these individuals, but to film their patch and share their stories with you and the world. I could only respond with, “I just really love what I do and sharing these amazing stories with others”.

Take Aymee Slaviero (above), a pastry chef with a passion for chocolate. Aymee headed back to her hometown to start her family business and started selling her work-of-art chocolates at the local Olive Tree Markets. Soon, someone asked if she’d like to occupy the empty space at Keith Tulloch Wines and now Cocoa Nib is winning awards left, right and centre and adding five kilos to my hips just by smelling her delicious work. I love this story!

Then there’s Lisa Margan (below). Lisa met a hot guy at Uni, who took her back to the family farm (after a respectable period of dating) which was little more than a horse paddock. Then, together with husband Andrew, she created the number-one destination restaurant in the region: Margan Winery.

The epitome of paddock to plate, vine to glass, you wander through Andrew’s award-winning vines (I love the rosé), passing Lisa’s many rosés, enter a tasting room then – boom! A restaurant opens up, looking straight out onto acres of vegetable gardens and vines. I wanna be Lisa!

Amazing stories everywhere. We are so blessed.

On that note, let’s all say a prayer of thanks on November 11, to the countless men and women who gave their lives, who risked it all, serving their country, to protect and defend the way of life we have today. I will be quietly looking to the sky at 11am to say thank you to both my grandfathers. I know both of them would be so proud of the stories I get to share with you. I think it’s pretty clear why I still love travelling after all these years. I’m sure you would, too.



I recently met Silvia Colloca on Hamilton Island when we were both  there for Race Week. At the time, I had no idea she had just released another cook book, this time, “Love, Laugh
, Bake!”. I love it. Silvia is Italian-born and lives in Sydney with her husband Richard Roxburgh and their three children: Raphael, Miro and Luna. I asked Silvia about her work, travels and her homeland… Italia!  READ MORE

PODCAST: Sights, sounds & ‘slings’ of Singapore 

In this week’s episode, the JTC team explores the city of Singapore made famous by the movie “Crazy Rich Asians”. JTC’s Jack Walden meets Patrick Fiat, the GM and Chief Experience Officer at Royal Plaza on Scotts and discovers the sights, sounds and slings of this perfect stopover city… READ MORE

GUEST TRAVELLER: A tour for the tastebuds in Rome

As a lover of history, breathtaking sights, and traditional, full-flavoured Italian food, JTC’s Jack Walden fittingly found himself in the Eternal City – Rome. “I plunged right in and absorbed that culinary city’s flavours while on the ‘Jewish Ghetto and Campo De’ Fiori Night Food Tour’ – a passeggiata for my tastebuds, which also fed my hunger for history….”  READ MORE

ASK THE CONCIERGE: Stay, play & satay in Kuala Lumpur

Concierge Abdul Yusran Arifin has worked in the flagship hotel of the Dorsett hotel group – the Dorsett Kuala Lumpur – for nine years. Dorsett Kuala Lumpur is located in the heart of the city’s Golden Triangle, a stone’s throw from Malaysia’s finest shopping malls, eateries, tourist and entertainment spots, including the KL Convention Centre and Petronas Twin Towers which are within walking distance via an air-conditioned link bridge. Explore Malaysia’s capital through Yusran’s eyes…  READ MORE

COME FLY WITH ME: The two travel loves of Rebecca Thompson

“My first is … the first place I travelled to with my best friend (of radio fame) Chrissie Swan, after we finished school. As two, 18-year-old girls, we found it fast, safe, absurd and crazy, yet traditional and historical. … My other, obvious favourite is India and this is due to my love of fabrics, textures, colours and now, 20 years of friendships. Can’t get enough.”  READ MORE
P.S. Catriona’s Scoopon Deal o’ the Week – Private Island Retreat at Ratua Island Resort & Spa, Vanuatu