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The Gold Coaster tackling modern slavery

The Gold Coast local abolishing modern slavery.

He’s one Gold Coast local who is doing his part to make the world a better place and in ways many of us couldn’t even imagine.

We sat down for a chat with Nicholas Bernhardt about abolishing modern slavery and exactly what we can do to help.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I moved to the Gold Coast in 1999. I first lived in Tallebudgera and have now been in Currumbin Valley for seven years and love it there.

What do you love most about living here?
I love the combination hinterland / beaches plus the beautiful weather.

Can you give us an overview of your business Informed 365?
Informed 365 is a tech company that helps businesses in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) space. We manage, monitor and visualise data to ensure our clients make better, more informed decisions.

How are you tackling modern slavery in Australia and abroad?
With the passing of the Modern Slavery Act in Australia in late 2018 companies with a turnover of over $100 million have to prepare an annual Modern Slavery statement. We provide our clients with real-time dashboards and easy-to-use analytics functionality to drive visibility and transparency in their supply chains.

People may not be aware that slavery still exists, can you give us some more information…
This may surprise some people but in Australia there are currently an estimated 4,000 – 10,000 people living in slave-like conditions. In America, the number is a staggering 400,000 and worldwide there are between 40 million to 80 million slaves. After the drug trade, slavery is the second largest criminal “industry”. The Modern Slavery Act defines that modern slavery includes eight types of serious exploitation: trafficking in persons; slavery; servitude; forced marriage; forced labour; debt bondage; deceptive recruiting for labour or services; and the worst forms of child labour. The worst forms of child labour mean situations where children are subjected to slavery or similar practices, or engaged in hazardous work.

How did your business come about?
I used to be an investment banker and decided I wanted to help the corporate world “do the right thing” with regards to both their environmental and social activities. Corporations have in the past, solely been focusing on profits and shareholder value. It is time that purpose, environmental and social stewardship become an embedded, equally important part of every organisation’s vision and strategy.

What’s the plan for the future for you and the business?
Last year Andrew Banks (Morgan & Banks, Talent 2 and Australian Shark Tank) became an investor in Informed 365 and we are looking to expand into new markets with more innovations in the CSR space. We are continuously looking for new tech solutions to help organisations navigate their sustainability journey.

How can we help?
Be conscious – live a more sustainable life, be kind to your fellow human beings and animals and plant trees.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Cafe for breakfast:
Pasture & Co in the Eco Village in Currumbin Valley or simply at home with my family and dogs!
Coffee spot: I’m a tea man but I do love the Pavilion in Burleigh (not that tea is my beverage of choice there…). Having said that, there are some great little tea / coffee places in James Street in Burleigh.
Restaurant for dinner: We love heading to Balboa or trying out any of the restaurants in the casino. A couple of weeks before COVID-19 struck, we discovered a very nice little Italian restaurant in Coolangatta called Radici and are looking forward to going back again, once the world returns to normal.
How does your weekend usually look: Bushwalking, gardening and playing with our 7-year old daughter Florence. I love spending time in the garden where we are revegetating a 10 acre block to bring back the native wildlife.

Photo by Zeyn Afuang on Unsplash
Photo by Zeyn Afuang on Unsplash

Caralee Fontenele

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I have been lucky enough to be a Gold Coast resident since 2003. This is where I have raised my kids, created my career and business and I could not be happier to now be a Gold Coaster, even if I do still have a slight kiwi accent.

What do you love most about living here?
Of course, I love the beaches and lifestyle, but the biggest thing that I’ve come to love and appreciate is the incredible community we have on the Gold Coast. Especially now, as these weeks unfold, it is amazing to be part of such a generous and supportive business community.

Tell us about your new cookbook, Nourishing You…
I was invited to be part of a campaign in Queensland called Dancing CEO’s to raise awareness and funds for domestic violence. The commitment to raise funds is large, so I got my thinking cap on and came up with the idea to create a third cookbook where I could donate the pre-sale proceeds to the campaign. I wanted to tie the theme of the book into issues that busy women have. Particularly that as women, we tend to place our own nourishment at the bottom of our priority list. As a lawyer running a medium-sized law practice in a difficult area of law, separation and divorce, I see all too often how women put their own needs last. We simply cannot pour from an empty cup to nourish our minds, bodies and spirits, we need to have more fuel in the tank for ourselves and our families.

Nourishing You has a focus not only on the foods that we eat to nourish ourselves but also elements of how to nourish your mind, body and spirit. I share lots of tips and strategies on how to carve out time, so that you can make your own nourishment a priority. There are also 100 amazing gluten, dairy and refined sugar-free recipes, that are made with real ingredients. The recipes are different because I am a busy mother and lawyer, rather than a chef so my recipes are simple, using easy to source everyday ingredients. My favourite chapter is called, ‘better than take-aways’. This is where I share recipes of take-away favourites that you can cook at home in less than 20 minutes. Things like healthy versions of pad thai, butter chicken, fish tacos or green curry. Perfect now in times when we are needing to be cooking more at home. More than ever, we need to be nourishing ourselves and getting back to the basics of life.

What are some of the most nourishing foods we should be eating right now?
Right now, more than ever before, we need to be looking after our wellbeing both physically and mentally. Along with eating loads of real foods including lots of veggies, we also need to be feeding our minds with positivity, moving our bodies even if it is in front of a youtube dance or yoga class and being out in nature when we can. In terms of foods, with extra time at home, we can get back to the basics of life, focus on home cooking using real ingredients.

Can you talk to us about some of the quickest, easiest recipes available in your book?
The book has tons of recipes for breakfast that are vegetable loaded. There are soups made from simple, humble ingredients that are nutritious and super tasty. Salad bowls for lunches or main meals, again with simple but delicious combinations of ingredients. I show you how to make an at-home salad bar so that creating bowls is a breeze. For dinner, there is a chapter full of dishes that are better than take-away and include all of your favourite dishes that you normally order, but I show how they can be made in less time and for a fraction of the cost. Of course, no recipe book is complete without sweet treats. Many of the sweets have hidden veggies in them such as the Zucchini Brownies and Spiced Carrot Cake Balls.

What is the process of creating a cookbook?
It is quite the process and commitment, but it is fun and creative which is the part that I enjoy! I lay out what each chapter in the book will be and then dream up different recipe ideas to suit each chapter. Then I get cooking, testing and trialling — my family love this part. Once I have nailed down the dishes I want to include, I get in touch with my incredible food photographer and stylist, Jo Anderson, who is also a local. I go to her studio over many days and cook all the recipes for her to style and shoot. Every single recipe in the book has an image because I love recipe books where you can see exactly what the meal looks like. In creating Nourishing You, I wrote the first chapters that teach you how to nourish your life, not just with food but in mind, body and spirit, and once all the text was complete, the book went to an editor. This all then went to the graphic designer, local Belinda Chatfield, who did an incredible job. Once the book is finally put together, it goes off to the printers which is roughly around a 4-month process of getting proofs, finalising everything and getting the book shipped. Right now, I am excited to get a hard copy in my hand! I am so proud of how the book has turned out and can’t wait to share the recipes and the incredibly important message with everyone.

Do you have a favourite recipe to cook from home?
I go through phases. Because I am so creative in the kitchen it is hard to stick to one recipe. I will make one thing five times over a few weeks and then not make it again because I move on to my new favourite creation. Right now, I have been making a beautiful simple Indian Dahl recipe which you can find on my website here: https://caraleefontenele.com/easy-home-made-indian-dahl/

Where can we find your new book?
My cookbook is online for pre-sale right now here. If you buy a pre-sale copy, I will sign it for you and you will be the first to get your hands on it! Once the book is released, you will be able to find it where all good books are sold and on my website here.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Coffee spot: I love Merlo at Ferry Road Markets or Roost in Southport. These are both local to me and make great coffee.
Cafe for breakfast: I mostly make breakfast at home, but if I do go out I love Darkk at Chirn Park for a lovely breaky.
Restaurant for dinner: There are so many great places on the Gold Coast, honestly, we eat home a lot because I love to cook. But if we do go out it is somewhere simple like the local Korean BBQ, where we cook together as a family and eat simple real food.
How does your weekend usually look: We have a small yacht, so every moment we can we go sailing to enjoy nature, visit secluded spots and view the amazing wildlife that we have here on the Gold Coast. Boat living, cooking, swimming and hanging out as a family in nature, these are all the things that I love.

Alex Munoz Labart

Alex Munoz Labart is a relative newcomer to our sparkly city but, in the year since he arrived and brought Burleigh’s exceptional venue Restaurant Labart into our lives, he’s made quite the impact on the local dining scene.

At a time when the hospitality world is experiencing so much upheaval Alex, his wife Karla and the Labart team have come up with an idea to create takeaway dishes (of the same high quality) rather than opening their venue to the public.

We sat down for a chat with Alex about restaurant Labart’s ethos of sustainability, seasonality and simplicity and how this new plan is going to work.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Exactly one year. My wife Karla and I moved to the Gold Coast from Sydney in April last year to open Labart.

What do you love most about living here?
We live in Burleigh and the ocean plays a big part in why we moved here. I love the Gold Coast’s sunshine and the beach weather that sticks around for the majority of the year. That, coupled with the amazing local community and slower pace of life. It doesn’t get much better.

Talk to us about the initiative you’ve just put in place to provide takeaway dishes rather than having diners eats in…
Labart at home will be available for pick up from the restaurant from Wednesday to Sunday afternoon and meals will range from $20-$30. An online ordering and payment system will ensure minimal physical contact and Labart’s high quality hygiene standards will remain in place, as well as the introduction of additional sanitization methods. We want to nourish people in a time when the world needs it the most. Dishes will be rustic, comfort food as we head into the winter months. Think Chicken coq au vin + mash potato, Free-range pork, chickpea + pumpkin casserole and beef bone broth minestrone. We’ll also have an offering of desserts and sides. It will be the same Labart quality to enjoy at home. Stay tuned for delivery to be announced soon.

Tell us about your career thus far?
I’m lucky to have worked with some of the best chefs in Australia like Mark Best and Brent Savage. When I was starting out, there were enough restaurants in Australia pushing the boundaries that meant young chefs like myself didn’t have to go overseas to learn. Putting myself in a fine dining environment early on really set the bar for where I wanted my cooking career to head.

Have you always known you wanted to be a chef?
Cooking has always been part of my life from a young age. My oldest brother is a chef and he pushed me into the kitchen knowing I’d love everything about it.

Why did you think the Gold Coast needed a restaurant like Restaurant Labart?
We’re starting to see a lot of people relocating to the Gold Coast from bigger cities like Sydney and Melbourne. They’re used to dining in restaurants of a certain level and we saw an opportunity to offer that on the Gold Coast. We wanted to give locals a restaurant with a high-end level of food and wine but without stuffy, formal service. For us, Labart is the kind of restaurant we love to eat at and we saw an opportunity for the Coast to experience that too.

You just released an autumn menu, what do we need to know about it?
Our menu is small but changes almost daily based on the high quality produce our local suppliers have available on the day. The change from summer into autumn means we have access to new season produce like pine mushrooms and artichokes. Keep an eye out for new dishes featuring these seasonal vegetables as they make their way onto the menu.

Tell us about your venues’ ethos…
In one sentence – Labart champions sustainability, seasonality and simplicity while hospitality remains paramount.

What are your thoughts on the Gold Coast’s dining scene in general?
The Gold Coast dining scene has grown up a lot in the past few years. There’s a move away from cheap eats and overly-themed venues and more of a demand for proper restaurants offering excellent service alongside technique-driven food and drinks. It’s an exciting time to be a Gold Coast local.

What do you have planned for the remainder of 2019?
We have some exciting collaboration dinners coming up with friends of ours in the wine and spirits world and we’re working on a line-up of interstate guest chefs who will be cooking one-off dinners at Labart.

Favourites on the Coast:
Beach: Burleigh – of course!
Restaurant: Iku Yakitori Bar
Bar: Lockwood Bar
How does your weekend usually look: Saturday and Sunday are work days for us but I make sure I still find time for the beach. The day normally begins by crossing the road for a surf, followed by breakfast on the balcony with my wife before I head into the restaurant.

Virginia Star

Local photographer Virginia Star was recently chosen alongside a carefully curated selection of women to have her work showcased in an international photography exhibition titled Loud and Luminous for International Women’s Day. The project is dedicated to celebrating women in photography, as well as empowering young women to chase their dreams.

We sat down for a chat with Virginia about travelling through the USA with her camera while Trump was being inaugurated and what it means to her to be included in the exhibition.

How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
Almost two years ago we moved here, we chased the dream of living near the children and eight grandchildren and we are very happy we now live here.

What do you love most about living here?
I love a bike ride from Currumbin to Snapper Rocks for a wine and prawn spaghetti over a sunset view before riding home at dusk.

Tell us about Loud and Luminous…
I became aware of Loud and Luminous through social media and Hillary Wardlaugh the co-founder. I was invited to enter a photo which represented equality and was thrilled to learn a portrait I had shot of my 87 year old mother was chosen to be one of the 100 to be exhibited in Sydney in April, as well as included in a book to be presented to the National Library of Australia in 2020. Loud and Luminous are an incredibly supportive organisation completely dedicated to recognising and celebrating the contribution of contemporary women in the photographic arts in Australia. This project is unique and important in recognising the extensive cultural contribution women photographic artists and photographers have made in this country. It’s designed to empower the girls and women of today and tomorrow to chase in their dreams.

What does it mean to you to be involved in something highlighting International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day is very important to me as I have seen great changes over the decades in the way women are treated both at work and in the home. My own two daughters have more choice than I did in the path they choose to take in their own loves and my son is supportive of  all the women in his life including his wife and daughter. This is where it begins, with respect towards women. There is still much to correct though with regards to domestic violence in keeping it front and centre to ensure this massive issue is not sidelined. We have to change the culture where it simmers.

What’s been your journey to becoming a professional photographer?
As a self-taught photographer, I began my career on a suburban newspaper then quickly moved on to the big publications like The Australian Financial Review and The Sun Herald in Sydney. Many years photographing a variety of assignments meant never a dull moment with the opportunity to take photographs of news events, politicians, business and the social and fashion worlds. This variety was important and necessary for me as a photographer, as every day was filled with exciting people, events and places to keep my creativity fulfilled. Not all assignments were positive ones though, there were many where I had to deal with my own sadness at the tragedy I witnessed while photographing news. I now shoot for Art Lovers Australia and I am extremely excited to see my work printed large and hung on walls. To think a vision I captured which also gives another pleasure is a wonderful feeling. This is a different world from my press days but as a photographer, it is important to be flexible and walk on through a partly opened door to whatever lies on the other side. Art Lovers Australia is a Gold Coast based online art gallery. Nancy and Jarrod, the owners, are passionate about art and extremely supportive of their artists in many ways. They work tirelessly to promote artists’ work including success contributing art to TV shows such as The Block and Selling Houses Australia.

From where do you find inspiration for your work?
My inspiration lies in the ever changing world I journey through. I am incredibly fascinated by the beauty and unique vision of the every day as well as on my travels. I do my utmost to capture these fleeting moments in time and put an element of interest into each image. Most of my work is spontaneous photography and I love to truly see, through well thought out composition and good lighting, an image to give pleasure or create interest.

What have been some of your favourite projects to work on?
There have been so many favourite projects due to the nature of my work but if I had to limit to only one, I would have to say the three month 20,000 kilometre road trip coast to coast across the USA and back again with a side flight to Cuba. This trip coincided with the inauguration of Trump and I loved stopping to talk to people along the journey as they all had a fascinating point of view on the politics of the winter of 2016/17.  I took film as well as digital cameras including an SLR, a medium format Rangefinder film and instant film camera. Every day was exciting not knowing who I would meet, what I would see and knowing I would return home with once in a lifetime images and many incredible memories.

Any advice for aspiring photographers?
My advice for aspiring photographers would be to be passionate about your craft, shoot in your own style and be open to trying new things. Travel as often as your budget allows even if it’s discovering your own town or city. Take a different route and stop to notice the world you come across. Think outside the box when it comes to your work and how to achieve a start in the industry.

Tell us your favourites on the Coast:
Coffee spot: Fuel Bakehouse at Currumbin Waters for coffee and a perfect sausage roll.
Cafe for breakfast: Beach Shack at Currumbin – breakfast with the sound of rolling waves is a great start to the day.
Restaurant for dinner: Rick Shores Burleigh Heads with views and an ambience not easy to beat.
How does your weekend usually look: If not travelling, a typical weekend is a bike ride on the wonderful shared path from Currumbin to Rainbow Bay, valuable family laugh time with my husband, children and eight grandchildren or meals with friends either out or at home. End of the day sunset walk along one of the beautiful beaches of the southern Gold Coast really reminds me how very lucky I am to live in paradise.


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