Person Of Interest, Chef Massimo Speroni

The celebrated flavour maker dishes on expat life in SEQ, what he thinks of the local produce and people and what's on the menu this Summer at Bacchus

Big name chefs are no strangers to us Aussies. We have some of best and freshest produce in the world which attracts some of the planet’s most celebrated flavour makers to our shores. Most of us can name a handful of these stars but we often have to travel south to sample their skill on a plate or worse yet, watch along on telly, our tastebuds perpetually unrequited. So it was big news for local epicureans, foodies and us regular mortals who like good food when the Massimo Speroni took up residence as Head Chef at the multi-award winning Brisbane restaurant, Bacchus.
Even for arguably Brisbane's best dining experience, this was a big get. Earlier in the year, fine dining specialist Massimo Speroni flew in direct from two Michelin-starred restaurant San Domenico in Imola Italy where he was Sous Chef. He immediately put his stamp on the local scene with a deft touch we've rarely had in residence locally. Now, nine months later Speroni is once again upping the ante with a creative update to the menu, just in time for summer. The refreshed menu stars Australian seafood, kangaroo, as well as new takes on Italian favourites and some intriguing ingredients.
32 year old Massimo's passion for fine dining began at an early age. Born in the Abruzzo region of Italy near the Adriatic Sea, Massimo was influenced by flavours from the north of the country and throughout the central region around Rome, where he grew up. At San Domenico as Sous Chef, he worked with famed chef (and owner of the establishment) Valentino Marcattilii. He had worked with Chef Marcattiliia as a junior and credits his former mentor for much of his flavour preferences now.

continue reading

Attention Kids! Our Christmas Colouring Comp

Download and win - $300 Cash to be won

A Messenger Christmas tradition and a favourite with local kids for many years, this year, our Christmas Colouring Comp has 3x $100 cash prizes to win.

So kids, print the page below, grab your colouring and decorating gear and show us some colour!

There are three age groups and a $100 winner will be selected from each. The age groups are: 3-5, 6-9 and 10-13.

Get your entries in by Monday December 11. Don't forget to put your details in the space provided, and good luck!

Once you've completed your entry mail it to:
Messenger Christmas Competition
P.O. Box 127
North Lakes QLD 4509

Download the colouring page

Women In Voice 25 years

Twenty-five years ago, a passionate group of performers assembled to perform the first Women in Voice (WiV) show at West End. While it was anything but a low-key, WiV's roots were humble, performing the cabaret to a small room at the Sitting Duck Cafe. Fast forward 25 years and WiV has now become a beloved favourite on the annual music and theatre calendar in Brisbane and regionally.
To celebrate a quarter of a century of the WiV phenomenon the Messenger chatted to Co-Founder Annie Peterson ahead of this weekend's Brisbane Powerhouse shows, who attributed their longevity to keeping it real for both the performers, and in turn the audience.
"Although its changed and evolved over the years and gotten better production values, more directed, styled and choreographed, the core ethic of what it’s about - celebrating diversity, or rather unity through diversity, still allows the performers to choose how and what they want to present," Annie said.
"A lot of us were working in the industry, although not necessarily singing in the genres that we wanted to (because you’ve make a buck, so we did what we needed to do) but this show allows us to do what we really want and that freedom creates an energy for the cast which translates well for the audience. Because the cast is having such a ball, everyone’s a winner."
Over the years, WiV has attracted some big names. From trailblazers like Chrissy Amphlett, Deborah Conway and Jenny Morris to local legends like Katie Noonan and Leah Cotterell. WiV like to put these stars on stage with up-and-comers and Annie says it's a mutually beneficial arrangement.

continue reading in the mag

Tattoos: Are they safe?

Dr Anita Green, Brisbane North PHN, invetigates

Recently a 30-year-old woman was admitted to hospital suffering enlarged lymph nodes (swollen glands) and pain in her armpits, which she originally feared may be signs of cancer. But, according to the story which appeared in The Huffington Post, medical tests found the underlying cause to be a 15-year-old tattoo on the woman’s back.
While this case suggests an allergic reaction from a tattoo can occur over a longer period of time than previously thought, it also raises questions about how long tattoo ink remains in the body and what the long-term health effects might be.
Tattoo ink certainly goes more than skin deep and there is a growing body of evidence from around the world that certain chemicals within tattoo inks could pose risks to human health.
In fact, a report published by the Australian Government in September 2016, found that one in five tattoo inks contained carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals and a vast majority of the inks tested did not comply with international health safety standards for ink composition. Of greater concern, carcinogens were identified in 83 per cent of black inks—the most popular colour for tattoos.
In Europe, similar findings have been published by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, while ink samples analysed by Swiss health authorities found 39 colourants that have never been tested for use in the human body.
Meanwhile, the European Society of Tattoo and Pigment Research has found barium, copper, mercury and other unsafe components in tattoo inks. Their studies have also found a major mismatch between what is listed on ink containers versus the actual chemical composition, when tested under the microscope.
More recently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, is now examining the chemical composition of inks and pigments and how they break down in the body, as well their short and long-term safety. In its research, the FDA has found that some inks contain pigments used in printer toner or in car paint.
So what does all this mean? According to Adjunct Professor Terry Slevin from Cancer Council Western Australia—“no one really knows”—he says in an article written for academic news site The Conversation.
“The simple truth is, we have no idea what, if any, long-term health effects go with having tattoo ink injected into human skin.
“It seems timely to establish a study to follow up on those who have tattoos and how they fare compared with those with a ‘blank canvas’.
“As tattooing becomes increasingly mainstream, we need to ensure those who are considering getting tattooed are fully informed of the risks. And if they wish to proceed, we need to ensure they can do so as safely as possible,” said Professor Slevin.
For Professor Slevin, stopping the use of unsafe ink, “is a vital first move”.
Returning to the woman with the 15-year-old tattoo reaction, The Huffington Post spoke with Dr Clare Morrison, a GP with the US-based medical service MedExpress, and she offered some sound advice.
According to Dr Morrison, the first signs of an infection or allergic reaction from a tattoo may include swelling somewhere on your body over a period of a few days, fever, pain, blistering, or the tattoo may have a slimy discharge oozing from it.
Speak to your GP if you have experienced any skin reactions or other health issues you think might be caused by a tattoo, or call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) for health advice over the phone.

More in the mag

Friday Afternoon Fun

Here's a couple of quick takes for your Friday afternoon adventure.

The Size of Air

If this Friday afternoon finds you on Queen Street Mall at knock off, check out the installation (that mysterious box that appeared on the mall) by local ephemeral artist Kinly Grey..

As part of Grey’s Blue Series -an experiment with scale and space to produce immersive, sensory experiences -The Size of Air aims to brings Brissy's skies down to ground level for you walk around in and it's pretty successful in doing so.Your last chance to check it out is today between 4-8 pm.

Queen Street Mall, near Uniqlo, till 8pm.

Bar Merlo

If, on the other hand, Friday afternoon finds you at or near UQ's St Lucia campus in need of refreshment then you should definitely check out Bar Merlo's Espresso Martini Fridays.Now open every Friday from 4pm - 8pm at Duhig building with an impressive vista of the Great Court you can kick off your hard earned weekend with live music, share plates, beer, wine, cider and espresso martinis made with premium fresh merlo coffee.

Bar Merlo, Duhig Building UQ St Lucia campus, 4pm - 8pm.

Obliteration Room

For the kids (equally fun for grownups) one not miss is Yayoi Kasuma's Obliteration Room. Running until 4 Feb 2018 Children are invited to enter the world of leading contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama and 'obliterate' an Australian domestic space by adding colourful dot stickers to white furniture, objects and surfaces. The obliteration room is a dynamic artwork that transforms over time as hundreds of thousands of dots accumulate in the space.

GOMA Gallery 1.4, till 5pm

Find more of What's On in the week's Mag

The Addams Family the Musical: Freak Peek

Are you looking for a different way to celebrate HALLOWEEN this year? Come along to the Addams Family Musical
Win 2 x Family Passes

The Addams Family, Broadway's smash hit musical comedy brings the deliriously delightful world of Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Grandma, Wednesday, Pugsley and Lurch to spooky and spectacular life. The Addams Family was created by American cartoonist Charles Addams. It was first developed into a television series in the 1960s, and has since inspired films, books, videos and now a musical.
The Addams Family is a new musical (it opened in Sydney in 2012 - only 5 years ago) and has not been performed in the Moreton Bay region before. It’s a show about family – a very weird family – but family nonetheless.
Wednesday Addams has grown up and fallen in love – with a normal, respectable young man. She begs Gomez not to tell her mother and now Gomez must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his wife. Everything is about to change in the deliriously delightful world of the Addams Family. There’s something for everyone in this quirky, high-energy, fun-filled musical - singing, dancing, acting, comedy and a really wonderful heartfelt story all wrapped into one.
Redcliffe Musical Theatre (RMT) have assembled an amazing cast of 20 extremely talented locals lead by Reagan Warner playing Gomez Addams and Georgia Murray (alternating with Meredith Johns) as Morticia Addams and featuring Sophie Price as Wednesday Addams and Seb Witt as Pugsley Addams.
Audiences can expect to have a great night out at the theatre – and they don’t need to travel to QPAC to do it. The goal of RMT is to provide high quality theatre to local audiences at an affordable price.
This is a great show for the local community because it will appeal to a wide audience – across different age groups and interests. And opening in the same week as Hallowe’en this is PERFECT timing for this production which is, after all, a little creepy and spooky. We have also been able to put together a predominantly LOCAL cast – so we are providing performance opportunities for locals as well.
You don’t need to be an Addams Family fan to enjoy the show - you just need to enjoy live theatre. What makes this musical special is the unique subject matter – who doesn’t remember the characters made famous in the Addams Family TV Show from the 1960s – and also the fantastic modern score.
Come along and support a LOCAL theatre company performing in a LOCAL venue – the newly created Theatre 102 at 102 Anzac Avenue, Redcliffe – right in the heart of the Peninsula. We are here to provide entertainment for our local audiences – so make sure you see The Addams Family and see what LOCAL can do.
They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re altogether ooky – It’s The Addams Family Musical playing at Theatre 102 from November 3 to 19 for just 12 performances. Make sure you book your tickets now

Win! 2 x family tickets

We've got two Family Passes to RMT's upcoming production of the Addams Family, valued at $80.00 each to giveaway.
They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re altogether ooky – It’s The Addams Family... Musical playing at Theatre 102 from November 3 to 19 for just 12 performances at the newly created Theatre 102 at 102 Anzac Avenue, Redcliffe.
For more info about the production visit:
How to enter
To win the Messenger's Family Pass simply email with Addams Family in the subject line and your contact details in the body of the email. That's it. Easy. Get them in before Friday November 3 at 5pm for your chance to win. Winner will be chosen at random. The tickets can be used on any date except opening night. All regular Family Pass inclusions apply.

More in the mag

Reversing the waste trend

Local creatives to present upcycling as textile waste alternative on October 28

Have you ever browsed the racks at any of the fast fashion global behemoths and wondered how they can make such fashionable clothes so cheaply?
We've seen these retailers enter the local market aggressively in the last five years. What was once an industry term, fast fashion has become so ubiquitous globally that the term is now a part of the consumer lexicon. With that pervasiveness comes knowledge of the waste this industry, and others who use textiles, create. Although as consumers we are more switched on than ever, we haven't yet voted with our wallets and continue to choose to frivol away natural resources for fleeting fashion.
According to True Cost ( globally, we now consume about 80 billion new pieces of clothing every year and in Australia we send 85% of the textiles we buy to landfill every year ( making us the second-largest consuming nation of new textiles, per capita, after the US.
But a growing fashion movement is emerging in upcycling, an ethos which aims to interrupt the great textile march to the tip and instead keep these high quality resources in the cycle - giving new life to what was formerly considered waste.
With a tagline of "waste is something we do, not something that is" Reverse Garbage Queensland (RGQ) is part of this movement. With a showroom at Woolloongabba, RGQ is a not-for-profit worker-run cooperative that promotes environmental sustainability and resource reuse. They collect high quality industrial discards in an effort to divert them from landfill and sell them at a low cost to the general public.
Textiles make up a large part of floor stock at Reverse Garbage, garnering great interest from creative all over the country and inspiring the launch of Worn OUT, an upcoming exhibition celebrating refashion and creative upcycling.
To be held at the RGQ warehouse in Woolloongabba on October 28, Worn OUT will showcase more than 50 refashioned garments made by a dozen creatives from around Australia.
Coordinator Bill Ennals said textiles had easily become RGQ’s fastest-growing segment in the past few years with local businesses diverting excess stock to the warehouse for resale rather than sending it to landfill.
“Textiles have become our biggest selling item and our clientele are really engaging around creative ways to reuse fibres and fabrics – more so than other segments we stock which include timber, metal, plastic, glass, containers, ceramics, paper and card,” he said.
Worn OUT is co-curated by Australian refashion pioneer and sustainability consultant Jane Milburn of Textile Beat who for the past five years has been raising awareness of creative ways to reuse clothing and textiles to keep them out of landfill.
“This is an exciting opportunity to nurture an upcycling culture that enables makers to explore their creativity in unique, empowering, and affordable ways – there are no rules or limits with refashion and the big bonus is that reusing textiles is sustainable and ethical too,” Jane said.
“Refashion is playful yet disruptive storytelling using pre-loved and salvaged materials. It carries an environmental message about the finite nature of Earth’s precious resources and demonstrates how individuals can make a difference through what we wear."
“Australians are the second-largest consumers of new textiles in the world and absorbed 27 kilograms each in 2015. We are also throwing a lot away, with the ABC’s War on Waste team estimating 6000 kg of clothing and textiles are being sent to landfill every 10 minutes.”
Elizabeth Kingston, as Co-curator, brings a wealth of design and styling experience to Worn OUT with a textile and teaching background. The former fashion label maven now curates and presents Brisbane’s most colourful and patternate slow fashion as the popular @timeless_styling on Instagram.
“Every day is a new opportunity to create when we bring together textures, colours and shapes in creative ways and reinvent them as refashion,” Elizabeth said.
In addition to refashion, Worn OUT includes a cosplay showcase, curated by Jillian Rose. All garments, costumes and accessories featured in the exhibition will use minimum 75 per cent ‘non-new’ materials.
The exhibition will be launched with a free opening event Saturday 28 October featuring various runway shows from 7.00-9.30pm at RGQ’s Woolloongabba warehouse found at 20 Burke Street, Woolloongabba. On the night, food and beverages will be available for purchase. A static display of selected refashioned garments, cosplay outfits and accessories will be displayed following week in RGQ’s upcycled gift shop, Reverse Emporium at the same address.
For more information visit or find them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
To find out how ethically and sustainably your favourite fashion brand is manufactured via the Ethical Fashion Report online:

More in the mag

What's driving Brisbane's high petrol prices?

In December 2014 the Australian Government directed the ACCC to monitor the prices, costs, and profits of unleaded petroleum products in Australia for a period of three years. The results have been released finding local prices exceedingly high.

and how to find the cheapest local fuel

Read the article

The cost of living a decent life

Newstart falls below the Minimum Income for Healthy Living standard - a standard designed to ensure that in addition to material consumption, it allows for a healthy level of social participation.

The Newstart Allowance received by people looking for work falls well below the minimum income required to achieve a basic standard of living – defined as a budget standard – according to a new report by researchers from UNSW Sydney.
The New Budget Standards for Low-Paid and Unemployed Australians Report, compiled by UNSW’s Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) with support from Catholic Social Services Australia (CSSA), the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and United Voice, found that the Newstart Allowance is below the identified budget standard by $96 a week for a single person, $58 a week for a couple with one child and $126 a week for a couple with two children.
A budget standard measures the basic costs to achieve a minimally adequate standard of living – a level below which no-one should be allowed to fall, the report authors say.

Continue reading


With all of the horrific incidents occurring seemingly weekly, not only does it leave us with a profound sense of sadness for the victims and their families, but also has us questioning how safe it is to travel – and to travel fearlessly at that. Cei Creighton Investigates

I’m going out on a limb here, and state quite openly that I believe as a whole that the world is a safe and wonderful place for travelers. I also say this having been the victim of a terrifying and violent hostage situation that lasted a number of days in the Solomon Islands. So I do feel qualified – qualified to understand your concerns, qualified to look after your travel arrangements, and qualified to keep a balanced perspective while guiding and advising you and never dismissing your fears.
Big news does not equal big risk!
The chances of being involved in a terrorist attack are slim. Very slim. According to the US State Department data, 24 Americans were killed overseas as a result of terrorism in 2014, a number that’s vanishingly small compared to the number of deaths in the U.S. from traffic accidents, heart disease, and other more mundane causes. Let’s look at the risk of terrorism in a cold, logical, statistical way. Your odds of being killed by a terrorist overseas or in the air are 1 in 20 million (Washington Post and Time). Your odds of being struck by lightning are 1 in 10 million (New York Times). Keep perspective.
If not now, when?
With only one life to live, we can’t afford to let these events dictate our plans. There are many who have waited years to take a special trip. There are dangers in our own backyard that are much more likely to impact us personally than any random act of terrorism. If your fears are insurmountable, go ahead and delay your trip a year. Europe will still be waiting to welcome you with open arms… there is no ‘Used by date’.
Refuse to be terrorised
Fear is the outcome terrorists want because it makes their atrocities even more successful, we want to support our friends in Paris, London and worldwide with our visits to show that the terrorists will not deter us. It's futile to "do something" to be safe from terrorism. It's so random and localized, it's impossible to anticipate. Keep on top of the news, but keep things in perspective.
Don't be shy about asking questions. In any city, the folks behind the hotel desk are a great source of information and they want you to have a safe trip. And assure those who will worry about you that you'll call home every few days. It's cheap and easy to call back to Australia from the US or Europe these days.

"With only one life to live, we can’t afford to let these events dictate our plans"

Ultimately, assessing the risk of any endeavour and the decision to travel fearlessly is a personal choice, but travel is still a huge unifier - perhaps a more vital force for peace than ever. If you hate terrorism, the most effective way to fight it is to travel a lot, learn about the world, come home, and help our country fit better into this ever-smaller planet.
Always ALWAYS have comprehensive travel insurance, register with Smartraveller, heed all warnings posted on Smartraveller, get qualified advice and travel fearlessly!

Read all about it here

Cirque Africa is coming

And we've got tickets to give away!

We've got a Family Pass to Cirque Africa, valued at $199, to giveaway.
Cirque Africa runs October 24 to November 4 with evening, weekend and matinee performances at the Roundhouse Theatre, La Boite, Kelvin Grove.
A show unlike any other - a jawdropping explosion of colour, rhythm and humour. A kaleidoscopic, high performance show that celebrates the culture of Africa. Cirque Africa won 5 star reviews at this year’s Adelaide Fringe Festival and was the top selling show of the hot ticket items for festival goers.
How to enter
To win the Messenger's Family Pass simply email with Cirque Africa in the subject line and your contact details in the body of the email. That's it. Easy. Get them in before October 7 for your chance to win. The winner will be chosen at random.

Read all about it here

A tale of good politics

Boundary Road Interchange opens six months early, under budget and future proof

Living in one of the nation's fastest growing regions, none of us are no strangers to infrastructure news, in fact we're all so used it to now that even large scale projects are often met with barely a raised eye-brow.
But this one is different. This is a project that will significantly improve life in the region for locals and make things more attractive for visitors. It's a project that has been wanted for years and needed even before Costco, Bunnings and other developments arrived. With yet more development on the cards, and people flowing into the region, it couldn't have come soon enough.
It's different for another reason also. Anyone who had driven the old bridge recently, or sat congested in traffic waiting to cross, knows it was desperately needed so it was refreshing to see the levels of government, belonging to different parties, come together.

Continue Reading

New Ferry to Moreton

Starting next month, locals and visitors will be able to take a 40-minute journey across Moreton Bay to Bulwer aboard the Redcliffe2Moreton Express.

With the old barge service ceasing in 2008, they are now the only operator to offer this service in the Moreton Bay Region. Ferry services will depart from the Redcliffe jetty on Sundays at 10.00am and return at around 4.00pm (leaving Bulwer, Moreton Island at 3.00pm).
The first public trip will be on Sunday, 24 September, with tickets available for purchase online through

more in the mag

NBN access and concerns

As the National Broadband Network rollout hits the halfway point locals are warned about scams and false advertising claims

With the National Broadband Network (NBN) access now reaching 70 percent of local addresses, due diligence is required by consumers.
Federal Member for Petrie, Luke Howarth recently told us (Messenger, July 29 2017, available online) that 59,289 local homes and businesses are now service ready, with 28,339 already connected.
A great milestone in the largest infrastructure project our nation has ever seen, but the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Scamwatch have both raised concerns about truth in retailer advertising and a warning about scammers respectively.

Continue reading

Fuel Price Confusion to end

New laws mean the price you'll see on signs is the prices you'll actually pay

The Queensland Government has proposed new ‘what you see is what you pay’ style regulations that will ban fuel retailers from displaying discounted prices on fuel price boards which aren’t available to all motorists. Theses laws will stop drive-by confusion and bring us into line with other states.
The strict regulations mean fuel retailers will still be able to promote discount fuel price schemes, but only the full price available to all motorists can be displayed on signage.

continue Reading

To Prep or not to prep

Weighing the pros and cons of delayed start to primary school

Parents of pre-school children and infants often feel significantly stressed as they ponder the pros and cons of delayed entry to primary school in a vacuum of objective information.
Psychologist and education academic QUT's Dr Amanda Mergler, Senior Lecturer the Faculty of Education's School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education, and co-author Professor Susan Walker, also of QUT, have published the results of a study into the factors that affect parents’ decisions about whether to voluntarily delay their child’s entry into formal schooling.
The study, “This is possibly THE hardest decision a parent has to make. Deciding when your child is ready to start Prep” (view online at found the issue was a “highly emotional” one that caused significant stress.

Continue Reading


North Lakes Australia’s Best Master Planned Community

Mother's Day is just days away. You love your mum so you really should have made plans to treat her by now... if you haven't, start freaking out! Just kidding, we've prepared a prime selection of top treats to make you look good.

North Lakes has been named Australia’s Best Master Planned Community 2017 at the prestigious Property Council of Australia awards.
Since its launch in 1999, North Lakes has been setting new benchmarks in innovative community design and features a diversity, scale and depth of facilities and services not previously seen in Queensland.
David Laner, Regional Manager for Stockland, said Stockland was thrilled to win the industry award recognising the success of North Lakes.
“We are very proud of what has been created at North Lakes and it is a great honour to have the community recognised by the Property Council of Australia in this way,’’ Mr Laner said.
The win for North Lakes follows on from its previous industry success, being named best Masterplanned Development in both the 2010 and 2016 UDIA Queensland Awards for Excellence.
North Lakes sits on a 1,036 hectare site beside the Bruce Highway, formerly used as farmland. Stockland has remained true to the original vision, which was for a new residential and economic powerhouse based in Brisbane’s northern corridor.

Continue Reading