TOP chef Gary Skelton is not taking anything for granted during his first visit to Hong Kong. The executive chef from The Edge, one of Sydney's top restaurants, has been warned: Hong Kong is not a chef's town. Unlike Australia, chefs in the territory have to fight hard for top quality foodstuffs. 'We're spoiled in Sydney,' says the 32-year-old. 'We've got plenty of good, fresh produce anytime of year. According to Australian chefs here, they have to chase good suppliers down. At home, they chase us.' Mr Skelton's visit to the territory is for work: he is the guest chef at a celebration of Australian food, wine, music and art at Quo quo restaurant in Central. He says The Edge is typical of the new casual restaurants where a diner can order something as simple as wood-fired pizza, lamb with arugula, barbecued duck, a salad and a glass of wine. 'There's a buzz to these restaurants,' he said. 'People are talking, laughing, having a good time. 'For some dining out is a once-a-week event. For many - and our customers fit into this category - it is three times a week. 'You create food in a price range that fits the lifestyle. Honest food, nothing fussy.' When asked about trends, he says dining continues to become more casual. Formal-style restaurants, especially French, are being forced to change with the times and the new consumer. Popular on some menus is a type of brook trout (a cousin to salmon), which comes from fresh water. It is often pan-fried or grilled. His menu at Quo quo will highlight some of the trends in Sydney, including pizzas, seafood antipasto, entrees and salads with Haloumi cheese (a firm Greek sheep's cheese that can be pan-fried like fish), beetroot ravioli with spinach, Caesar salad with char-grilled chicken and pancetta, duck and shitake mushroom pie with caramelised ginger. Desserts get due respect with buttermilk ice cream with berries, caramelised banana tart with coconut ice-cream, and chocolate Jaffa tart, a wicked confection of chocolate ganache and orange. The promotion runs until November 18 at Quo quo in Central. For reservations call 2843-3988. PARK'N Shop is hooked on labels. Its own. The company sells a line featuring its own labels on Thai fragrant rice, fresh chicken, fruit cocktail, peanut butter, coffee, tuna and ketchup. By the end of the year it will stock more than 200 products. And while you are in the store, check out the produce department. In selected shops salad-in-a-bag is featured. These are pre-packed bags of cut salad greens, big enough for two servings. For salad lovers whose refrigerator produce-drawer reminds of a graveyard, these bags are a great convenience at an affordable price. A bag of salad for two? You got it. For $25, for example, you cannot beat the Caesar salad mix by Dole. It contains fresh romaine, a packet of decent dressing and a separate pouch of great croutons (warning: unless willpower is applied, the croutons get eaten before the greens get dressed). Besides Dole, the other brand is Ready Pak Farm fresh salad (mostly iceberg, no dressing) for $20. Ready Pak's coleslaw costs $13 and Ready Pak European salad mix $29 (no dressing but excellent mix of greens). JULIEN Bompard took the helm of the venerable Gaddi's nearly six months ago. But no one warned the amiable Frenchman about Gaddi's regulars. Many do not even ask for the menu. They say 'feed me' to the maitre d', Rolf. Or they remember food from their last visit. For some tourists, that could mean years ago. Mr Bompard comes to Hong Kong with Michelin pedigrees in Europe and kitchen experience in five-star hotels in Asia. Requests 'off the menu' are entered in the Peninsula's kitchen computer 'other food' category. That is the niche where orders for hamburgers, scrambled eggs, Caesar salad and a roasted chicken go. 'Twenty per cent of the orders go there,' explains executive chef Florian Trento. 'It's an unwritten Gaddi's policy that whatever the guest wants, we make it within 30 minutes or less. 'Recently, one party ordered three roasted chickens. They usually take 45-minutes each.' Since Bompard's arrival, the Gaddi's crew have had one near-panic attack. A dish from Gaddi's menu in the 1970s was ordered. 'We searched, but couldn't find it,' said Trento. 'We went through the recipe notebooks, the computer. Finally, one of the cooks recalled that a cook, now retired and living in Hong Kong, worked during that period. We called and lucky for us, he was home.' The customer was thrilled. Added Bompard: 'We were relieved.' THERE are several tastings and promotions on the menu. French wine fair at Hong Kong City Hall, Central. Saturday, November 11 from 1.30-6.30pm. Free tasting and sales. Sponsored by Sopexa, French promotion board for food and beverage. Switzerland's Testuz wines (Dole Blanche du Valais, Aigle, Dezaley) pair with Norwegian salmon throughout November at all La Rose Noire restaurants. Beaujolais Nouveau menu and dishes at Brasserie on the Eighth in Hotel Conrad, November 16-26. Journey to Greece. Wines and regional dishes from the Greek islands. From Thursday throughout November at Riviera restaurant, Regal Hong Kong Hotel, Causeway Bay. Salute to Scotland. At Landau's and Jimmy's Kitchen Central and Kowloon. Throughout November. Gstaad at Chesa. Chefs and famous dishes from the Palace Hotel Gstaad. To November 11 at Chesa, The Peninsula. Sausage Festival. Special menu of hearty snacks and meals. From November 15 throughout the month. The Cafe, Hyatt Regency Hong Kong. Game Festival at Baron's Table in Holiday Inn Golden Mile. To December 10. Swiss Sunday lunch. Regional dishes. $165 adults; $115 children. Chalet Restaurant, Royal Pacific Hotel. Snakes and Game, a winter promotion of life-giving foods. Combination dinner menus for 12 from $3,388 to $4,588. Regal Palace Restaurant, Regal Hong Kong Hotel. Macanese buffet every Friday evening and Macanese tea pastries, every Sunday afternoon. Dinner is $138 adults; $93 children. At Cafe Girassol, Mandarin Oriental, Macau.