All-star line-up to speak at Drinks with Chefs

09 October, 2018 by
Madeline Woolway

Session four of Drinks with Chefs — a hospitality industry meeting of minds — will take place on Monday 15 October, with speakers Kathleen Davis (founder Nip of Courage), Victor Liong (chef/owner Lee Ho Fook), Naomi Lowry (head chef Culina), Mitch Orr (Acme) and Matt Stone (co-executive chef of Oakridge), set to divulge their experiences when it comes to failing successfully. Offering a chance for hospitality professionals to exchange ideas, Drinks with Chefs collaborates with chefs, restaurateurs and industry insiders to prompt change and celebrate the hospitality community.

Hosted by Sydney’s ACME, session fours panelists will tackle a wide range of issues, drawing from their personal experiences. Davis will outline the hardship faced by isolated Australian distillers, while Liong will explore the possibility of failure occurring even in the best conditions for success. Stone will discuss early success, hiccups and the importance patience, with Lowry talking health, cancer and the value of industry support.


Founded by Alanna Sapwell in 2015, Drinks with Chefs is not a one man show.

“The whole concept was to be a collaborate effort and was only possible by everyone chipping in,” Sapwell told Hospitality.


Noticing an influx of “dude food” was taking Brisbane by storm at the time, Sapwell decided to gather the most influential members of Brisbane’s hospitality industry.

“I’ve never been one to whinge so instead I wanted to create a platform for chefs to be able to showcase where they would like to steer the Brisbane food scene,” she says.


The result is an environment where people are encouraged to mentor one another in order to build a stronger community.

“It’s healthy to step away from the day-to-day grind and re-look at the bigger picture,” says Sapwell. “Each event we look at a different issue in the industry, gathering a diverse panel to give a well-rounded and balanced overview on the subject. We’ve set it up as a non-for profit, so it’s approachable not only for the leaders of the industry but the next-gen as well.”

The industry-only initiative explores more than speakers, with an interactive approach and mission to change the focus — including food, topic, location and chefs — for each event.

On a previous event, dubbed ‘Wasted’, Sapwell recounts that attendees were shepherded onto a bus, unaware of their destination—The Long Apron, situated in Montville, a town on the Blackall Range in Queensland. A collaboration with Bee One Third saw guests enjoying mead during the ride, while Jack Stone (founding partner and sole director of Bee One Third) provided insight into the disparity between mass-producing companies and small-scale outfits. Talks were given by scientist, foragers, pioneers of the Good Fish Project and forward thinking farmers, while chefs served-up food that made the most of waste from the kitchen.

“I’m a massive supporter of Grow, WOHO [Women in Hospitality] or any group that is taking action to better our industry,” says Sapwell. “We all have the same goal.”

Tickets for the next Drinks with Chefs event can be booked here.


Cost: $80. Includes a drink upon arrival, snacks and talks. Upon entry attendees are entered into a draw, which will allow 15 guests to enjoy a degustation menu by Sarah Knights, Jaclyn Koludrovic, Luke Burgess and Hanna Leinonen.

Date: Monday 15 October, 2018

Time: 2pm–5.30pm

Location: ACME 60 Bayswater Rd, Rushcutters Bay NSW 2011