Caldera Dinner

“Set on the red clay of Cudgen, this year’s Black Tie Dinner will take your tastebuds on a journey from the Caldera to the sea.

A panoramic palate of the valleys of contrast, the menu will encompass a selection of local produce and flavours of cultural significance.


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It may seem an unlikely venue for a black tie dinner, however the Kingscliff TAFE’s annual Black Tie Dinner is a highly anticipated event, with many of Kingscliff’s business owners turning out for the event.

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Part of the Taste of Kingscliff and Tweed Coast, this year’s event held special significance. The competition to determine the evening’s theme was won by Events Management student Louise Togo’s proposal: ‘Harvest’.

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Beautifully decorated with produce, realia and photographs, we’re reminded of the agricultural and culinary history of the local area. For thousands of years, the rich volcanic soil has been home to Joanne’s descendants, the Nganduwal Tribe, known as the hunters and gatherers of this land. It’s also an area where her Solomon Island descendants settled after being kidnapped or ‘blackbirded’ to work cane late last century. The bale marking plate stands in the corner, marked J L Togo, a sombre reminder of a less savoury time in the region’s history.

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After canapes and a welcome sugarcane cocktail, the evening begins with a welcome by Head Teacher of Tourism and Hospitality, Gillian Bruce, who introduces the welcome to country by the Bungalung people. As the sea eagle hovers high over the school of fish, we learn how he taught Aboriginal people to fish, taking his catch from the rear of the shoal so they continued their journey without splintering off into groups.

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We sit at dinner tables strewn with acacia, lit with mood-inspiring candles, and dine on four courses of locally sourced produce prepared and served by Certificate III Hospitality and Events and Triple Diploma TAFE students under the direction of Head Chef Gary Smith:


Crusted damper accompanied by a corn cutter relish



Broadwater sand crab and wood-fired oyster on a pickled cucumber and jelly topped with poppy seed and cheese crisp

Jerk Stone & Wood beer chicken with a rye crouton salad

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Cider-infused Bangalow pork hock sat upon red soil sweet potato fritters, dressed with carrots and specked corn, finished with an apple chutney

Baked crusted Blue Eyed Cod sided with a smoked tomato and eggplant crush, spiced farro and a lemongrass dressing

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Tropical fruit and buttermilk ice cream bombe, flamed and accompanied by a grilled sugar cane splinter

Rich chocolate tart filled with caramel and ladyfinger bananas, topped with honey-popped corn and a pastry crunch

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Petit Fours

Lemon myrtle cups

Lilly Pilly chocolates

Lemon myrtle melting moments

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It’s a feast for the eyes and the palate, sharing well-presented delicious food from produce sourced from local farmers, fishermen and bush foods, sharing the culture through Aboriginal and Melanesian dance.

There’s something special too about a training institution that brings together and is supported by the businesses of the town; a sense of community that brings an impromptu ‘thank you’ speech from the Chamber of Commerce president. In an area with high unemployment, there’s a lot of heart in this community!

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Caldera Restaurant is open to the public for Lunch on Thursdays and Dinner on Tuesdays

Cudgen Rd, Kingscliff NSW 2487

Reservations essential – Ph: 02 6674 7274 Fully licensed. No BYO.

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Kingscliff TAFE, Cudgen Rd, Kingscliff NSW, Australia