MYTHS about wine bite the dust whenever Chris Baker un-corks a few bottles of red and white. The director of The Wine School will take snobbishness of wine-drinking and replace it with solid information and fun in an informal two-part seminar, scheduled for August 15 (white wines) and August 17 (reds). Whatever your taste and budget, there's something wonderful and affordable to sip or knock back with food, insists Baker. The tasting series is geared for the neophyte and the curious. Cantonese translation will be available. Baker will address how to read a label and a wine list, the difference in grape varieties and styles, guidelines in matching wines with food, the pitfalls (and bonuses) of buying in the supermarket, how much to buy for a party and proper storage. The seminar will be conducted at Pacific Wine Cellars Bar, Seibu. Each class begins promptly at 6 pm. Fee is $150 per head per class. Or $280 for both sessions. Space is limited. Reservations are necessary. Tel: 524-4213. CAN'T lose weight? Pick a favourite excuse: the non-stop, stressful Hong Kong lifestyle. ''Hot weather, can't exercise''. Those agonising business lunches and cocktail parties. The killer travel schedule with non-stop drinks and peanuts in Business class (caviar and pate in First). Being held captive on a junk trip with all those nibbles. And, always to blame, ''that greasy Chinese food''. Enough, already. Close your mouth and open your mind. Toss out that broken record and start a few positive approaches, advises Melanie Bryan. About 30 per cent of the men and women who see the Hong Kong-based psychologist come for weight problems. ''Eating, like smoking, serves to express and satisfy many psychological functions,'' explains Bryan. To assist those who wish to make positive changes, she passes along some practical advice. 1. In a social or business situation, eating or drinking becomes a control issue. ''If your mates are drinking, and you're not, there's a tremendous pressure to conform, especially in Hong Kong. Some of your friends may not want to drink either, but they don't want to say no and be considered different.'' Be assertive. Or, just remove yourself from excess temptation. Skip the pub, and rejoin friends later for dinner. ''Support yourself. Realise your vulnerabilities. Everyone has them. If you can't resist a bread basket or cocktail peanuts, tell the waiter, in advance, not to bring them.'' If the chocolate truffle torte is your downfall, tell the waiter not to bring the dessert menu or make sure someone else hijacks the dessert trolley. ''Set yourself up for success. Eliminate the problem in advance. Create other choices.'' 2. Here's a familiar one. The hostess insists you eat the entree or the dessert that catapulted her to culinary fame. ''If you say no, but she refuses to hear you, appeal to a higher being: doctor's orders. Don't say diet. That will leave you open for sabotage. When someone hears 'doctor's orders', they usually back off. A good friend understands. If she doesn't, the problem is hers.'' So much of the Hong Kong lifestyle, business and social, revolves around eating and drinking. ''This you can't change,'' adds Bryan. ''But how you react to it is your choice. Be in control of it. Commit to your body. It's the most important relationship in your life and without one, you can't have any kind of life.'' IT'S Sunday. It's pouring rain, the kids are climbing the walls, and you're about to bail out. Hang in. March the small fry to lunch at Quo Quo. Then, with a mimosa in hand, fantasise about the joys of empty nest syndrome. Yes, Quo Quo. That trendy refuge for adults opens its doors every Sunday to families. Children have their own buffet and play area, a token gift and lucky draw (hint: what's soft, cuddly and rhymes with care?). Their parents, meanwhile, can grapple with a grown-up buffet: imported seafood, congee, dim sum, Italian antipasto, barbecue and desserts. By the time the rain is over, the kids will be exhausted and the parents will be revived. Lunch is served from noon to 3 pm. Adults, $218; children, $158; and those under the age of five, complimentary. Quo Quo, 3rd & 4th Floor, Entertainment Building, 30 Queen's Road Central. Reservations: Tel: 843-3988. CAN you ever improve a home-made burger? Joyce Gemperlein thinks so. The food writer for the American newspaper group Knight-Ridder recently devoted several stories in one issue to praising and improving the almighty hamburger. Here's a sampling: Handle the ground mixture gently. Don't over-mix or pack it. Forget those wooden hamburger presses. They makes hockey pucks, not burgers. If using lower fat meats (such as ground chicken or turkey), add some eggs, cheese or moistened bread crumbs to bind the burger and keep it from falling apart on the grill or under the broiler. When eliminating fat, flavour will be lost. Add more seasonings. If surprise guests leave you short on hamburger, try an extender. The rule of thumb per pound of meat is: 1/2 cup bread crumbs; 1/4 ground nuts, dry cereal, wheat germs, ground seeds; 1/2 cup minced mushrooms or sprouts; 1/2 cup grated carrot or potato. Resist pressing down the burgers while they're on the grill. You'll squeeze out the flavourful juices. Toast the hamburger buns. It's an unwritten law.