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Catering News: Hickory’s Restaurant & Bar

Share plates are the hottest conference eating trend of the moment - what better way to bring attendees together and generate conversation, ideas and goodwill, than over a delicious shared meal? This is the focus of the dining concept at the recently refurbished Hickory’s Restaurant and Bar at Peppers Craigieburn, only 90 minutes from Sydney in the picturesque Southern Highlands. The venue now offers a relaxed space for events with capacity for up to 90 delegates, as well as a bar, private dining room and balcony overlooking the estate’s beautiful manicured gardens. We spoke with Peppers Executive Chef, Warrick Brook, to find out more.
Warrick, tell us about the new restaurant concept at Peppers Craigieburn

We wanted to design a menu that is an extension of the restaurant’s new look - traditional country charm meets modern edge. With ingredients fresh from the estate’s gardens and the local region, the share plate concept provides guests with an exciting, modern way to discover the best of the region and enjoy the relaxing feel of social shared dining. Offered in conjunction with traditional A La Carte, we feel this will offer conference organisers (and delegates) truly the best of both worlds.

How do you decide on the menus for events?

Whatever dining experience our groups choose, menus is always based on the seasonality of produce. Being based in the Southern Highlands of NSW we really do feel all four seasons, and as such are able to treat our guests to the best and freshest fruit, vegetables and local produce throughout the year.

What do you think are the other hot new trends in catering right now?

One of the hottest new trends is super foods, nutrient dense foods and staple foods. We are living in a busy world where we need energy to be able to keep up with our busy lifestyles. People are rediscovering that some of the oldest forms of staple foods are at the basis of great energy performance e.g. kale, quinoa, cavolo nero etc. Shared food styling is also very popular at the moment…. to be able to share and experience with friends, family and guests.

What has been the most creative or unique event you’ve worked on?

We host a number of exclusive food and wine events during the year, but pride ourselves on creating unique events for our groups - whether it is outdoor dining under the stars or something special to fit in with the event theme. More personally, I love being able to get amongst the guests with live cooking events. One particular favourite was when we created a Producer’s Night… [A night to showcase the amazing produce of the local farmers and growers]. We cooked live in front of the guests and then served straight on to their plates for dinner.

What is your recipe for spicing up a conference at Peppers Craigieburn?

Having the luxury of beautiful grounds, we offer after-dinner campfire experiences where delegates can enjoy sipping on port and hot chocolate with marshmallows.

We also offer workshops under the trees whilst enjoying home-made gelato and ice-creams – we find this encourages a laid-back conferencing atmosphere. Or for a little bit of team building fun, we can facilitate ‘make your own pizza’ sessions, or a movie night with choc tops and popcorn - the perfect way for delegates to switch-off after a long day.

A country retreat surrounded by history, scenic views, wineries, spectacular produce and plentiful activities, Peppers Craigieburn is perfect for intimate meetings, offsite retreats, and offers a grand entrance for a gala event. For more information on events at Peppers Craigieburn, please contact

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