Published on 8 January 2020
It goes without saying that the recent bushfires across Australia have grave consequences for the future of our environment, our agriculture and the livelihood of local tourism and food businesses. That's on top of the more immediate devastation the fires have had on people’s lives, homes, towns and on Australia’s wildlife.
If you want to help with the emergency response, the best thing you can do is donate money directly to organisations doing frontline work to help local communities, wildlife and displaced people. More information on where and how to donate is available from ABC News. The Red Cross is also calling for people to donate blood. More on that here.
Right now, your everyday spending can also give back. Plenty of local bars, restaurants, bakeries and providores around town are making it easy to contribute to the bushfire response. From private dinners cooked by top chefs to a few dollars from each drink, oyster or bag of coffee you buy, every little bit counts. Spend wisely in the coming weeks and you'll be helping those affected. See what MFWF and its friends are doing for #restaurantsforrelief.
Below is a list of Victorian businesses and individuals taking action. This list is in no way exhaustive. Follow the hashtag #restaurantsforrelief to find more or visit the Restaurants for Relief directory set up by a team of volunteers to search for businesses near you that are participating.
Stay tuned in the coming months for suggestions on how to help affected regions get back on their feet.
Bar Lourinha – the CBD favourite is donating $2 from every oyster sold in January to “organisations directly involved in rebuilding and creating a better future for the people of the south coast [of NSW]”, where the restaurant purchases many of its oysters. More info
Belles Hot Chicken – every Belles store is offering $2 wings on Friday 17 January, and donating $1 from every wing you order to the Australian Red Cross, Wildlife Victoria and WIRES Wildlife Rescue. More info
Brick Lane Brewing – local brewers Brick Lane are hosting a fundraiser at the Brick Lane Bar on Friday 24 January to raise funds for Victoria’s Country Fire Authority, Wildlife Victoria and WIRES Wildlife Rescue. 100 per cent of proceeds from bar sales on the night will go to these charities, plus Brick Lane has prepared 50,000 cans of water for communities in need. More info
Capitano – until 12 January, Italo-American restaurant Capitano is donating 100 per cent of proceeds from its bestselling vodka sauce pasta to the Victorian Bush Fire Appeal, coordinated by the State Government of Victoria. More info
Ceres Fair Food – order your organic vegetables and pantry essentials here, and $5 from every home delivery order will be donated to the Organic Farmers Bushfire Appeal. Shop now
Chin Chin – between Friday 10 January and 31 January, Chin Chin will be donating $2 for every table that dines at the Flinders Lane venue. And they invite you to match this amount. Be sure to drop in. More info
Cibi – drop in to the Melbourne (or Tokyo) locations of this Japanese-themed café and drop a little something into the donation boxes that have been set up. Collections will go to the CFA, the Red Cross, the Rural Fire Service in New South Wales and WIRES Wildlife Rescue. The staff are also donating their tips to these organisations, so be generous when paying your bill. More
Coffee Supreme – until Sunday 12 January, Coffee Supreme is giving $10 from every kilogram of coffee sold online to the Red Cross. Buy up big, people. More
Common Ground Project – the community farm at Freshwater Creek on Victoria’s Surf Coast is planning Feast at the Farm on 8 February. Head down for a day of live music, local wine and beer, a barbecue and picnic fare. Funds raised will go to the CFA, the Rural Fire Service in NSW and Wildlife Victoria. More info
Congress Wine – order the wine bar's famed pig’s head sanga this month and all sales will go to the CFA and Wildlife Victoria. More info
Cut Throat Knives – purchase a custom knife from this Melbourne maker during January and Cut Throat will donate $100 from every order, with half going to the CFA and half going to the Red Cross. More info
Drink Up at The Mill House – some of your favourite bars are going back-to-back at The Mill House on Sunday 19 January, spending an hour slinging drinks to see who can raise the most money. Heartbreaker, Black Pearl, Ends & Means, The Rum Diary Bar, and Hats & Tatts are each serving a signature cocktail, plus boilermakers, beer and wine, with all money going to the Red Cross. More info
Dukes Coffee – buy a bag of coffee online between Tuesday 7 January and Tuesday 14 January and the legends at Dukes will donate 100 per cent of sales to the Red Cross. Plus they’ll match every dollar donated in January, up to their fundraising goal of $10,000. More info
Entrecote – one of Melbourne's favourite French restaurants is holding an auction on a five-course dinner for 12 in its private dining room, with 100 per cent of proceeds going to the CFA. Wine, Champagne, Cognac and live jazz are all part of the deal. Auction ends on 19 January Bid here
Estelle – Scott Pickett and co are donating $12 from every Estelle Spritz sold between now and Sunday 12 January to the CFA. Pay the Northcote bistro a visit and drink up. More info
Feb Fire Fund – looking to the longer term, a group of hospitality businesses are spearheading #FebFireFund, a GoFundMe page that’s designed to consolidate and encourage fundraising from hospitality businesses of all shapes and sizes. All funds will go to charities that support the Gippsland community: BlazeAid, Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund and Gippsland Rotary Clubs. More info
Four Pillars Gin – the Healesville distillery is going all out on Saturday 11 January with fundraising. Founders Stu Gregor and Cam McKenzie will host a special masterclass to raise money for the CFA and Wildlife Victoria, while profits from all sales at the distillery on the day will go to the CFA and Wildlife Victoria. Can't get there? Purchase a 700ml bottle of any Four Pillars Gin online on Saturday and they'll donate $10 to these same charities. More info
Future Future – dine at the Richmond restaurant on Thursday 9 January and contribute to the efforts of the CFA, Red Cross and WWF. All profits from the night will be donated. More info
Half Acre - throughout this week (Monday 6 January to Sunday 12 January) Half Acre in South Melbourne will donate 20 per cent of all sales in equal parts to the CFA and Wildlife Victoria. Plus, book an event at the space during January and $150 from your booking will be donated. More info
Hazel – pull up a pew at Hazel on Flinders Lane during January and order any cocktail off the menu to support the volunteer fireifghters in Victoria. The venue will give $2 from every cocktail sold this month to the CFA. More info. Or head downstairs to Dessous for the same goodwill in a moody, basement atmosphere. More info
Hotel Windsor – if it's been a while between afternoon teas at the Windsor, make a beeline for Spring Street this Friday 10 January. Proceeds from every afternoon tea booking on the day will go to the Red Cross, the CFA and the Victorian Bushfire Appeal. More info
Industry Beans – the Fitzroy coffee roaster is donating 10% of all beans sold to Red Cross until end of January. More info
Jerry Mai Cooking Class – Annam chef Jerry Mai is offering 10 people the chance to learn some of her cooking secrets in a small masterclass on 8 February followed by lunch. Bids start at $140 and the 10 highest bidders will get a spot at the table. Money goes to WIRES Wildlife Rescue and the CFA. Auction ends Friday 10 January at 5pm. More info
Lagotto – make a beeline for this all-day diner on Saturday 2 February, when a bake sale for charity will take place. Featuring Lagotto’s own cannoli and Italian baked goods from Loafer Bread, To Be Frank and more, it hits a real sweet spot. Money from every sale will go to the CFA and Wildlife Victoria. More info
Lune Croissanterie – time your regular visit to Melbourne’s top patisserie with the team's bushfire appeal on Friday 10 January. From every croissant, cruffin and other baked item you buy, $2 will go to charity. Happening at both the Fitzroy and Melbourne stores. More info
Matilda 159 Domain – order a Mac Tilda cocktail at Scott Pickett's South Yarra fine-diner betweeen now and Sunday 12 January and $16 will be donated to the CFA. More info
Meatsmith – Melbourne’s butcher of renown is selling 200 rare-breed hams, complete with glazes from some of their pals, to raise funds for the CFA and Victorian Bushfire Appeal. Choose from Stephanie Alexander’s Guinness, mustard and apple glaze, Annie Smithers’ marmalade and Dijon, Andrew McConnell’s smoked maple and amaro or Pat Nourse’s clove, honey and Sichuan number. Available Thursday 23 to Saturday 25 January. More info
Oster – this Italian newcomer is contributing to the cause by donating a portion of select dishes to the Red Cross during January. Head on in, order up and 10% of every lunch special and every dinner tasting menu will go to charity. More info
Pasta Classes with Julia Busuttil Nishimura – you and five friends can learn how to make pasta from Ostro author and cook Julia Busuttil Nishimura in a private class that includes lunch, wine, cheese and of course hands-on skills. You’ll also go home with a signed copy of both Ostro and Julia’s forthcoming book. Bid now on Instagram knowing all money goes to the CFA. Auction ends at 11pm on Saturday 11 January.
Pastore – purchase a Native Negroni at Pastore this week and know that $14 from every cocktail will go to the CFA. All the more reason to order another round. More info
Provenance – Beechworth’s premier restaurant is changing tack for the rest of January, offering a more approachable wine bar menu to encourage more people to visit during what’s been a tough tourism season. Plus the drinks list will be entirely local and 10 per cent of all drinks sales will be donated to the local CFA and local animal welfare centre, Kangaloola. More info
Pt Leo Estate – the Mornington Peninsula restaurant and cellar door are collecting donations for the CFA throughout January – and matching them dollar for dollar. Look for the jar at the front desk. More info
Queen Victoria Market – the market is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the state’s producers by setting up fundraising stations at the Summer Night Market on Wednesday 15 January and during the day on Thursday 16 and Friday 17 January. All money will go to Community Enterprise Foundation’s Bushfire Disaster Appeal. More info
Restaurant Lupo – if you find yourself on Smith Street between now and Sunday 12 January, swing open the door at Lupo and order a Spritz. The restaurant will donate $13 from every one to the CFA. More info
Roadtrip for Good – after the emergency response comes the long-term recovery, and for many communities affected by the fires, that recovery will rely on tourism. Roadtrip for Good is one of several initiatives that's encouraging people to hit the road and spend some money in regions that have seen a significant drop in their usual summer tourism numbers. Browse their suggested roadtrips and destinations to seek out, and make a plan soon.
Rockpool Dining Group – dine at any one of the group’s 85 restaurants between now and 27 January and add a gold coin donation to your bill. The group will also donate a total of $150,000 to the Rural Fire Service in NSW. More info
Romeo Lane – make sure you visit this tiny but mighty cocktail bar during January and leave a tip. 100% of all tips will be donated to “wildlife organisations”. More info
Seasalt Bakery – this small bakery in East Gippsland only opened in May. This month, they had to evacuate due to bushfires, but are now back baking and offering "dough-nations" to local communities. How it works is people like yourself purchase a voucher and donate it to someone in need, for example displaced families, volunteer firefighters and more. Head to their website to find out more and purchase.
Shadowfax Wines – buy a bottle from Shadowfax's range during January and $2 will from each bottle will be donated to the CFA. Applies to all online and cellar door purchases. More info
Smith & Daughters – Shannon Martinez, the queen of plant-based everything, wants you to bid big on one of her vegan masterclasses to help out charities Wildlife Victoria and Animals Australia. Themed Liquid, Sweet and Savoury, the masterclasses have an opening bid of $250 and will be run by Martinez and collaborators at Smith & Deli. The first auction is on Friday 10 January - more info on the others and how to bid is on Instagram.
St Ali – head to any of the café’s branches this week for your daily cuppa and $1 from every coffee will make its way to the Red Cross. More info
Starward - Victorian whisky distiller Starward is offering fans the chance to give back both IRL and online. On Sunday 26 January, the Raise for Relief event at the Port Melbourne distilllery will offer snacks by Tokyo Tina, Neptune Food & Wine and more, as well as coffee by St Ali, tunes by DJ Mikey Cahill and, of course, whisky cocktails from the Starward team. Can't get there? Buy hard-to-find whiskys from Starward's archive in an online auction that ends at 3pm on Sunday 26 January. Starward is donating all money to the Red Cross and Wildlife Victoria.
Sunda – The restaurant's famed bar snack of roti and Vegemite curry is being put to even greater ends in the name of bushfire relief. The Vegemite curry will be specially bottled for you to take home, with 100% of proceeds going to Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, Zoos Victoria and Wildlife Victoria. Pre-order yours for $15 via firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more here.
The Everleigh – sixteen top Melbourne bars and three of its best chefs are teaming up for a night of New York-style pizza slices and signature cocktails at The Everleigh. Join Above Board, Byrdi, Bad Frankie and more at the bar, while outside a food truck will serve one-off pizza slices by Ben Shewry, Andrew McConnell and Peter Gunn. All proceeds from the night go to the Red Cross. More info
The Shared Table – heading to Ballarat this weekend to watch the bike race? Make a pit stop at The Shared Table and purchase one of its Bincho Boxes, featuring katsu prawns, chicken tsukune and more. A quarter of all proceeds from the Bincho Boxes will go towards bushfire relief. More info
Three Blue Ducks – the team from all-day eatery Three Blue Ducks in New South Wales are auctioning several private dinners around the country, including one in Melbourne. A three-course dinner with matched wines from Vinteloper and craft beers is up for grabs for a group of eight people. You can bid on Instagram here.
Tipico – for every pizza or pasta you order between now and 26 January, you’ll be contributing $1 to Vinnies, who are distributing food, clothing and other essentials. More info
Tuckshop Takeaway – the crew are donating $1 from every single item sold between 8 and 14 January. Order up on burgers, jaffles, shakes and fries and your money will go towards WIRES Wildlife Rescue and the CFA. More info
Underbar – the small Ballarat fine-diner is auctioning a private Sunday lunch for 12 people, with all money going to the CFA and the Red Cross. Bidding starts at $3000 for the tasting menu plus matched wines. Email email@example.com with your bid before midnight Sunday 12 January 2020.
Vue de Monde – the eminent fine-diner is showcasing the incredible produce of Victoria’s oceans with a day of fish and chips on Monday 20 January from noon until sold out. Josh Niland (Saint Peter), Hugh Allen (Vue de Monde), South Yarra bistro Omnia and fisherman Bruce Collis are joining forces so you know it will be good, plus 100 per cent of proceeds will go to the Red Cross. No bookings. Contact the restaurant for more info: (03) 9691 3888, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sign up to our weekly news on Victoria’s best food and drink.