Wandering Feast in safe hands

6 Oct

Newcastle Herald, 6 October

Cassandra Weller is a first year Development Studies student at the University of Newcastle


From left, Cassandra Wellar, Sean Gaddes, Ryan Hawthorne and Ethan Ortlipp, at the Coal & Cedar, prepare for The Wandering Feast. Picture: Jonathan Carroll


AS its name suggests, Newcastle-based organisation With These Two Hands encourages women to harness the power at their fingertips by training as hairdressers to lift them out of poverty.

Now some of Newcastle’s leading food, wine and cocktail businesses have banded together for The Wandering Feast, a moving dining and drink fundraising event.

Cassandra Weller co-founded not-for-profit With These Two Hands in 2014 after backpacking through South America for seven months. She designed a training program to educate and empower women living in poverty by training them to become hairdressers and how to set up their own businesses. The flow-on is they can provide for their families without turning to jobs such as selling gum at bus stations or even working in the sex industry.

So far the organisation has run a crowd-funding campaign and fundraising dinners, but it is pushing into new territory with this year’s Wandering Feast. In a fitting parallel to the organisation’s goals, the event will show off the skills of a handful of Newcastle’s best food, wine and cocktail purveyors. The October 17 event will feature Coal & Cedar, Sprout Dining & Catering, The Wild Rabbit and Margan Wine, and has been organised by the With These Two Hands team working with the donated services of communications and event agency House of Airlie.

“The Wandering Feast was borne from the idea of showcasing different industries where people have learnt or been taught a skill using their hands,” Cassandra told Food & Wine.

“It has stemmed from this creative idea and grew into a collaborative event that showcases Newcastle’s finest in food, wine-making, cocktail making, graphic design, photography and event styling.

“We wanted to create something unique that sat in line with the grassroots of the charity – working with your two hands. We wanted to showcase several businesses and trades from different backgrounds and industries, and that is how this collaborative event formed.”

The event will include entertainment, food, wine and cocktails. From 4.30pm Coal & Cedar will have entertainment and arrival cocktails, followed by a stroll to Sprout Dining @ The Crown & Anchor for an entree, live entertainment, and drinks. Then it’s on to the The Lock-Up where Coal & Cedar will host their first pop-up cocktail bar and Sprout will present a long table banquet dinner with matching Margan Wine from their new Field Blend range. Later in the evening, The Wild Rabbit Catering will be showcasing a decadent cheese and dessert feast, while the talented boys at Coal & Cedar will be making delicious cocktails.

Australian singer-songwriter and pianist Sarah De Bono, who was thrust into the spotlight on The Voice Australia in 2012, will be there with her band to belt out a few tunes.

The event will also include silent auctions and raffles followed by a DJ for tunes and dancing.

The event will be styled by The Wedding Designers, with Jade McIntosh Flowers and Love & Protect also coming on board.

Cassandra hopes The Wandering Feast will the first of many such events for With These Two Hands.

“Newcastle is a creative hub at the moment and I believe people who live here are more than willing to get behind something new or different. I think if you can dream it, you can do it here. Who knows what’s next for us: watch this space!”

If you’re keen to get involved, head to The Wandering Feast on October 17 or visit the organisation’s website for more information. To make donations or even volunteer in Ecuador and on the ground email cassandra@withthesetwohands.com.au.

“We’ve been so overwhelmed with the support from local businesses – everyone has just jumped in two feet-first to support our cause. It’s been heart warming. Go Newcastle!” Cassandra said.

“It will be rewarding when I tell my ladies I can supply them with all the equipment they need. They are already so astounded that I have come all the way from Australia to help them, but it’s not just me, it’s our wandering guests who are going to make this next trip possible.”

Can’t make it to The Wandering Feast? Get in the spirit with these cocktails from the team at Coal & Cedar.


60 ml Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin

30 ml lemon juice

15 ml sugar syrup

6 mint leaves

Shaken on ice, fine strained into a fancy cocktail glass.


30 ml Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin

30 ml sweet vermouth

30 ml Campari

Stirred down on ice, garnished with an orange twist.

The Wandering Feast is on October 17 from 4.30pm to 11.30pm at Coal & Cedar, Sprout Dining and The Lock-Up. Tickets are $150 a person from bthe.re/thewanderingfeast. For more information about With These Two Hands or to make a donation visit withthesetwohands.com.au.


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