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The Gracious, Gorgeous and Giving Carly Crutchfield

October 11th, 2010

Carly Crutchfield is one remarkable person. At the age of 20, she had already done more then what many of us would do in our entire lives. She bought and sold companies, traveled the world and get her self on the track to being one very successful millionaire.

Because of her choices in life and her vaule for life itself, she decided it was time to give back. Recently starring on channel 9‘s The Secret Millionaire, Carly gave away a small fortune to people she didn’t even know, but needed al the help they could get. Watching Carly was truly inspirational and she proves that you can achieve what you want in life.

A beautiful, caring women, a natural on the small screen and an inspiration to many  this is Carly Crutchfield and all the things about her fabulous life…

Carly on Life

What projects are you currently working on or have in the near future?

In terms of development we currently have $250 million in projects under way throughout Australia. We have a new charity initiative, www.secretgiftangels.com.au which we are very passionate about.

We are committed to increasing the level of property and financial education amongst Australians and we are about to launch a new free training program PROPERTY UNIVERSITY, which is very exciting.

Tell us more about your successful company, CCORP…

CCORP was borne out of the fact that I loved what I was doing, but hated doing it alone. I wanted to be a property developer but on a bigger level and with a group behind me.

Our company culture is very unique, its high energy, fast paced and we believe nothing is impossible. We work very hard and we play pretty hard to.

We are Australia’s largest property development education company and one of the fastest growing development groups in Australia.

CCORP also has a property investment division and finance division. We spend a lot of time ensuring our clients are educated. A lot of people are making investment decisions without truly understanding what they are deciding upon. I have seen a lot of self inflicted poverty in Australia – people getting themselves into massive debt and financial pressure because they do not understand money, investments and property. This is something people need to be educated on. The more our clients know, the easier it is to help them achieve their financial goals.

You were recently on The Secret Millionaire, tell us more about this experience and how this experience affected you and your life…

It was such a priviledge to be involved and I loved it! It was a completely unique experience. Although I have done a lot of charity and volunteer work before, this was so different. I was taken out of my comfort zone, as my phone, money, computer etc were confiscated and for that time it was solely about confronting an area, its problems, families, groups and thinking about how I could help.

I was inspired by the resilience and positivity of the people I met. Since the show I have been overwhelmed by the feedback. I have received thousands of emails, letters and messages. I have also received many requests for help, money and jobs. This has made it even more real to me that there are a lot of people out there who need help. It has motivated me to take my life, business and foundation to a whole new level and start making headway in solving some issues in Australia and the world at large.

What advice would you give someone if they were thinking of a career in your industry?

It’s hard work. You need to believe in yourself, have persistence and thick skin. You need to be willing to handle risk and experience the highs and the lows. But if you can, it is incredibly rewarding, exciting and fruitful.

If you want to give property development a try, you need to educate yourself. The more you know, the easier it is and the more money you make. The less you know, the more money you are likely to loose. To start learning about property development, come to one of my workshops or order my free DVD. Visit www.ccorp.com.au or call 02 9371 4799.

Is there a charity/cause that is close to you and if so, why?

In terms of a charity organization I would have to say my own foundation, CFOUNDATION. In terms of a cause, there are so many situations in the world that need attention and help. One area I am very passionate about is Human Rights, or the lack of human rights that exists.

How do you maintain a life balance between work and home?

I might spend a week working 20 hour days and then I’ll take a week off and either travel or relax at home and just do an hour or two of work a day. I schedule in holidays and book flights so nothing else can sneak into the schedule.

My Mother/Father always told me…

Work hard and believe in yourself.

Greatest lesson learnt?

Don’t regret anything. It’s a waste of time and a waste of a learning experience. You can create anything you want to tomorrow as long as you’re not looking back on how you should have done things yesterday.

What is one quality you have, that you hope your children will get and carry through life?

Persistence. I don’t take no for answer, I think impossible is nothing and I don’t give up. You can get through anything and create phenomenal results with that mindset.

Carly on Fashion

What is a fashion trend you hope will never resurface?

Nothing really, bring it all back! It’s hilarious to watch life regurgitated with a new point of view. Who would have thought we would be wearing shoulder pads again!

Your thoughts on Australian fashion in comparison to International fashion?

I think there is a more relaxed and whimsical vibe to Australian fashion, which suits our lifestyle. International fashion tends to be heavier and harder edged.

Which celebrity wardrobe would you love to raid and why?

Victoria Beckham would have an incredible wardrobe, but again very hard edged – I’d say her bag collection would be phenomenal (although mostly Hermes). Fergie would have a great cross selection and more rocky edge and I hear her shoe closet is amazing.

What is your favourite piece of clothing or accessory?

At the moment I am obsessed with Chanel earrings, I have about 35 pairs. Clothing wise, a dress I bought from Mackenzie Mode, which is perfectly tailored for my body.

Carly on her Home

What is your one design rule you like to stick to around the home?

Keep it unique, create interesting spaces and focal points. Mix items, textures and colors – don’t try and match everything. I’m not a fan of catalogue houses that look like everything was bought in the one store straight off the floor display. A home should show personality, stories and memories.

Do you have one feature in your home you love most?

I have a wall full of sepia photos all in white frames. There are about 60 frames in varying sizes containing pictures of my friends, family and favourite memories. I created the wall about 2 years ago and it’s got a great energy while also being architecturally beautiful.

Who or what influences you most in home décor?

The beach would be my biggest influence in my home and second to that art. I tend to pick a painting for a room and decorate around that. The art has center stage in my home, and so it should. Art’s a powerful thing.

Carly on Food and Drinks

Which foods and drinks most excite your taste buds?

I am obsessed with soda water and I love a good glass of French champagne. My wine of the moment is pretty much any Italian Pinot Grigio.

Food, all of it – my personal trainer knows I like food! I had a Wagyu steak in Melbourne recently which was incredible.

How often do you eat out and cook at home?

I travel a lot, which means eating out a lot. If I am home, I eat in about half the time and out half the time.

Though at the moment I am on a full on detox. So I get all my meals prepared for the day.

Signature dish?

I rival anyone to out cook me Mexican-fiesta style! My roast isn’t too bad either.

Carly on Lifestyle

Where is your favourite place to relax in Sydney?

At my home, or the beach.

What car do you drive, best thing about the car and why you bought it?

I have a few cars, but I usually only ever drive my Range Rover Sport. I bought it because it’s big and I can get lots in it! It’s also a really smooth drive. I also have a Prius but interestingly enough the Range Rover is more carbon efficient.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Art. I take a lot of pride in my collection and look forward to growing it. I think art is a powerful thing. It can completely change the vibe of a room. The art in my home is very relaxed. The art in my office is very contemporary and pop. You walk into our offices and feel an intense energy – a lot of that is from the people, but they bounce off and are inspired by the art.

Where would be your ultimate holiday destination?

I am dying to go to Africa and do a full Safari. I am heading to Venice with my boyfriend for New Years which I am really excited about.

The one thing I can’t leave home without is…

My phone and laptop. I get nervous thinking about it.

What frustrates you most about Sydney?

It’s all good. The frustrating things give Sydney siders something to talk about.

Favourite beach in Sydney and why?

Bronte for breakfast, Camp Cove for family vibe, Coogee rockpool for my dogs, and a secret eastern suburbs hideaway I cant tell you about is my favourite for a day of sunbathing, swimming and reading.

If you could be a fly on the wall of any celebrity home, who’s wall would you like to sit on?

Bono. The way he has “used his power for good” is pretty incredible.

Three pet hates?

1. Being limited to “5 or less” items when going into fitting rooms in stores. I only want to make one trip to the fitting room.

2. The loop strings sewn into the shoulders of women’s dresses, clothes etc. So annoying.

3. People smoking at the exits of buildings so when you walk outside of the building you walk straight into 30 cigarettes being smoked.

Spice Temple Fills A Modern Chinese Void

April 14th, 2010

Tucked around the corner, under Rockpool Bar + Grill is a door. A door that is a giant LCD which you push open. This is the entrance to Spice Temple – setting the benchmark of what’s to follow.

Myself and friend Damien walked in, entering at the top of a large spiral staircase, with long sculptures hanging from the roof down the void to the lower level, where the restaurant and bar is located. We approached the front desk and were politely asked to take a seat while our table was being set. Our very sweet and bubbly bar girl brought us the cocktail and wine lists (100 wines to match with each dish!), which were quite extensive. After a good ten or so minutes of general chit chat and looking over the menu you, we ordered our drinks and at that same time our table was ready, so we were escorted to it.

The restaurant is like an industrial basement. A stylish polished concrete foyer and bar, turns into a modern Chinese décor, featuring typical Chinese restaurant red carpet, dark floor and dark roof, and fantastic detail to mood lighting makes the experience quite intimate, even if you are sitting right next to another table.

We ordered the cocktails, which were highly recommended. I got the “Aries”, lime, ginger, gin and lychee. Boy did it have a zing to it! Damien got the “Rat”, lavender tea soda with mint and sugar cane spirit. Light and sweet. Both drinks had a good punch to them. They were presented nicely and served in Riedel glasses.

Now the hard task was to choose what to eat from the detailed modernised Chinese menu with head chef Neil Perry overseeing.

The meals are designed to share, so we decided we would get a few.

We started with the Lamb and Cumin pancakes. The simple presentation hid a remarkable taste. Easy to eat, almost like having a Turkish gozlem – thin and crispy, there’s salt flakes on the top of the sandwiched cumin and lamb pancake. Cut up in wedges like a pizza, they were great to chew on while gas-bagging and preparing for the next few dishes.

The Hot and Numbing Wagyu Beef followed the pancakes. This was by far the best beef I have ever had. It is crispy on the outside and so tender on the inside. It’s broken down into pieces and strands of meat. The flavours were deep and rich. I enjoyed this down to the very last piece, and even then I was lifting garnish looking for more. All the Wagyu that Spice Temple serve is from David Blackmore with a +9 score. Blackmore Wagyu are the only producers marketing only 100% Fullblood Japanese Wagyu beef in Australia – so you know you are eating great meat!

Next dish was the Braised duck, tofu, dried chestnut and baby leeks, served over rice. Not being the biggest fan of duck, I still throughly enjoyed the meal, appreciating the flavours and textures. For people who love duck, this is definately something for you to choose. It all comes in a light broth, which was nice, especially to moisten the rice and fuse the dish together with the rice.

So what was for dessert? Peanut butter parfait. A crispy meringue-like base, the parfait in the middle, and a uniquely flavour caramel top which was somewhat salty, but worked well with the sweetness of the peanut butter. A drop of chocolate sauce and some delicious sugar and sesame seed peanuts over the top. So good!

Our waiter for the evening was pleasant, knowledgable and gave us assistance with the menu with ease. It didn’t seem as if we were troubling him in any way. The staff all looked like they wanted to be there – which is important when dining at a restaurant that you’re paying good money for.

Pros: The style, comfort and design is great. Lighting is great. A mixture of customers from all over. Great food.

Cons: I didn’t really find anything negative to say about the venue, service or food. Everything was exceptional.

Pricing: Entrées from $10 to $29, Mains from $19 to $45, Desserts from $16. Cocktails are all around $17. White wines from $14 to $19 a glass, Red’s from $12 to $17 a glass and Champagne $17 to $27 a glass.

Final Say: Chic, fun, clever, kind, generous, delicious. A great night out. Great place for a catch-up with friends, or a family dinner. Overall I was extremely pleased. If you’re not a huge fan of spicy food, don’t stress, this food is great for you too! Neil Perry does it perfectly once again.

Spice Temple – 10 Bligh Street, Sydney – (02) 8078 1888

Spice Temple on Urbanspoon

Southern Thai Food At It’s Best At Rambutan

April 8th, 2010

As I stepped over vomit on the colourful Oxford Street, I wondered where the hell my friend Eve was taking me to dinner.

Walking up the street towards Paddington, I notice a shop front with dark bronze curtains in the window and deep lighting through them… That is where we are going – Rambutan.

We cross the road and walk into the dark and arcane looking restaurant you are immediately greeted by a sweet maître d’, who asked what name our reservation was under. “Your table will be ready shortly, please take a seat downstairs in the Tiki Lounge and we will come and get you once your table is ready”. We accept and happily move downstairs into the stunningly appointed Tiki Lounge. Quite often when you are asked to wait at a restaurant, you get a bit impatient, you might Visit FoxyBingo or get out a book to read. In this case because the maître d was so charming and the atmosphere was so welcoming we didn’t think twice about waiting. Passing the kitchen, you smell fresh ingredients. A Rambutan & sorbet bellini and a coconut & kaffir lime daiquiri carnavale coming up! Amazing cocktails by some of the best bar tenders I’ve seen work their magic behind the bar.

After a quick catch up with Eve over cocktails, we are called to our table. A cosy little table in the front window.

The venue is packed, but it’s not feeling like it’s over-crowded. It’s noisy, but it’s not unbearable. It’s the perfect environment for the moods we were both in.

So what kind of food do the attractive owners Joe and Milena serve at Rambutan? It’s Southern Thai food. The décor really throws you off as it actually looks nice (where most Sydney Thai restaurants look pretty cheap).

Looking over the menu, I read each item and take notice of the interesting ingredients. The meals are designed to share, so Eve and I pick a couple of entrées and a couple of mains.

Entrée -Betel leaves (Miang) with smoked trout & grilled chilli eggplant relish and steamed dumplings with chicken, prawn, sweet corn and plum sauce.

Main - Wok fried King prawns with pong gari coconut cream, baby corn and curry leaf and Braised wagyu beef, flat noodles, Vietnamese mint and black vinegar sauce.

The Betel leaves were carefully constructed, and superbly presented. Spicy, yet manageable. The relish works perfectly with the spice and the trout – it was so easy to eat, and so flavoursome. Not a huge portion, but very huge in taste. The steamed dumplings are so delicious too. As it is, I love chicken, prawns and sweet corn, so mixing them altogether and adding a sweet plum sauce with it, was just heaven for me. I would have been happy having this as my main, just alot more of them!

The pong gari coconut cream has an intricate flavour. Pong gari has something like 6 or 7 spices in it, so mixed with the coconut cream, they complemented eachother well, giving a wholesome texture for the king prawns, which for me take alot to fill me up! For something different, we got the Wagyu beef. The amazingly marbled meat was tender, with the taste of mint, but there was a spice in there that I just couldn’t guess. Whatever it was, completed the dish. It tied the sauce, the beef and the noodles together.

Of all the dishes, I most enjoyed the dumplings. I could have had them as a main and the king prawns as an entrée and feel perfectly filled.

Leaving space for dessert, I had a look at the menu again. Only three desserts to choose from? That suprised me a little, considering some of the restaurants I’ve been to lately have a huge range of desserts. I ordered the young coconut jelly with vanilla bean and passionfruit. It was then I realised it’s about quality – not quantity. This dessert was just incredible. The thing I loved most was the way they worked with the texture to get the most out of the presentation and the teaming of ingredients. In my mouth, its felt as good as it tasted.

Will I go back? Yes I would. It’s great for after work drinks and dinner, watching people rushing around after work down below and relaxing with friends in a contemporary venue.

Pros: Communal and tight layout makes you feel cosy, design and décor, service and bar tenders.

Cons: Such a great restaurant in such a dodgy part of town – but maybe that’s what adds to the charm of it? Sort of like the best house in the worst street. Expensive for Thai food, but it’s justified once presented and tasted.

Pricing: Entrées from $4 to $25, Mains from $8.50 to $34 (then there’s the market price whole fish), Desserts from $9 to $12. Cocktails are all around $16, with some exceptions, Sangria – $36. White wines from $36 to $64 a bottle, Red’s from $48 to $64 and Champagne $108 to $340 a bottle (or $18 for a glass of Mumm Cordon Rouge NV).

Final Say: Cool, calm, communal and collective. Unique and enjoyable food. Catch up with friends sort of place. Maybe not a quite date, but definately a second or third date restaurant.

Rambutan – 96 Oxford Street, Darlinghurst – (02) 9360 7772

Rambutan on Urbanspoon