Monday, May 23, 2011

The National Stroke Foundation - Food For Thought Charity Dinner

Stroke is Australia's second single biggest killer after coronary heart disease and is a leading cause of disability.

It's quite scary to read that fact. We tend to forget about stroke as it's not something that happens over a longer term, and hence you can't witness the decline of someone, like cancer with it's very obvious effects. Instead, stroke strikes suddenly, with equally dire outcomes, but the symptoms are varied and not as identifiable.

The National Stroke Foundation is the leading body for dealing with stroke in Australia. They deliver programs to increase public awareness on the prevention and treatment of stroke. Research into numerous fields help to find ways to reduce the occurrence of stroke and it's impact. The foundation is a privately run not-for-profit organisation that relies on public support to fund it's research and programs. The Food for Thought charity dinner was a way to raise some money and awareness. Seven of Melbourne's top chefs contributed their time and resources to serve a 6 course degustation to over 250 guests. On the night, there was also numerous auctions to raise more money.

The dinner was a fantastic event, with the location at the Sheds in Docklands being beautifully decorated. The night ran smoothly, with "Con The Fruiterer" Mark Mitchell delighting the crowd with his comedic talents as well as his serious side when discussing stroke. The chefs were all interviewed on stage while cooking their dish, giving up insights on the food and their thoughts on stroke. The silent and public auctions were a lot of fun and drew lots of interest. There was enjoyable musical interludes by a violinist and John Fleming from the Scared Weird Little Guys.

For myself personally, I had a few highlights. Obviously, the first one was the amazing food. It was quite an eclectic mix of food, with many different chefs involved and their various styles. Being a massive fan of Scott Pickett, I was familiar with his Old School Eggs and loved it. I was also pleasantly surprised by Nathan Johnson's Quinoa Salad. I had never tasted Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa, not quin-no-a I learnt) before but found it really delicious. Contrastingly, I also found the super tender Waygu Wellington a delight to the palate. Finally, I can't go past dessert and absolutely fell in love with the Tonka Mousse. That liquid pear centre just oozed out and it was a very sophisticated dessert that I adored.

The next highlight for me was hearing Jill Singer talk to Mark Mitchell about her husband's experience with stroke. Whilst this is already a touching story, when I found out that Jill's husband was Peter Davidson, architect of Federation Square, I felt immense sadness. It really helped to highlight how large an impact stroke can have. From being one of the nation's most esteemed architects, Peter was unable to draw or write after he had a stroke. He is slowly learning to integrate back into normal life but obviously stroke has affected him greatly.

My final highlight was talking to Diana Kerr from the Stroke Foundation. Hearing her tell stories about stroke victims, who's faces were on large banners all across the room, was really enlightening. It turned out all the victims who's photos were displayed were also at the event, and I got to meet a couple of them. Hearing stories of how they need to cook with one hand, and how the foundation has developed recipes for that made me smile and show that life does go on.

Below: Some of Melbourne's top chefs lending a supporting hand for the event.
Left, Right: The beautifully decorated room and Mark Mitchell interviewing Jill Singer.

Chef Scott Pickett explaining to John Fleming how stroke affected his grandfather.

Old School Eggs - Scott Pickett from The Point

Superfood Salad with Quinoa, Mt Vikos Feta, Avocado and Broccoli - Nathan Johnson from The Millswyn

King Salmon, Verbena, Cucumber, Cauliflower, Radish, Pearls - Michael Fox from Cecconi's Cantina

Roasted Chestnut Gnocchi, Black Leek, Mussels, Prawns and Shellfish Oil - Ricardo Momesso from Sarti

Wagyu Wellington, Sher Wagyu Fillet Wrapped in Puff Pastry, Sauteed Wild Mushrooms, Truffle Jus - Matthew Macartney from Chateau Yering

Chocolate 60% Tonka Mousse, Fluid Pear Centre, Burch & Purchese Nutella - Ian and Darren from Burch & Purchese

A group photo with myself, Diana from the Stroke Foundation and fellow blogger Penny.

Overall, it was a fantastic event, with the Food for Thought concept also running later in the year in Sydney and Hobart. I had an extremely enjoyable time and also became far more aware of the impact of stroke and the preventions that can be undertaken. I hope that you will take some time to learn more about stroke so that you can help yourself and people you know, as 1 in 6 Australians will be affected by stroke in some form.

Thanks to Deasil Public Relations and the National Stroke Foundation for inviting me to such a great event.


  1. This is an amazing event. And it was very enlightening. It is a scary fact and not many people are aware of it. And the fact that it affects the very young to the very old.

  2. there should a an event for stress too. stress is a huge contributor to many diseases. a silent killer too!

  3. Wow.. didn't realise that the stats for this was that high! What a great event!

  4. Penny, it was a great even wasn't it. Super enlightening and scary at the same time.

    Michelle, I'm with you. There definitely should be an event for stress.

    I-Hua, that stat scared me too. Indeed it was a great event. Lots of delicious food too.

  5. This is phenomenal. The fact that the event is being held in order to educate people about stroke and its effect. I am definitely sharing this with my friends.

    Thanks again.

  6. What an amazing event!!!

    I am a neurosciences nurse and I work with people recovering from strokes all the time. It's a long, long process before we can get them into rehab and then home.

    Great post!

  7. Blair, it was a great event, I'm glad you enjoyed my post and learnt some more about stroke.

    Merowyn, I would love to hear your stories about stroke victims and their recovery. It was a great event to raise awareness.