Speaker Profiles 2013

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Peter Gilmore

As executive chef of Quay restaurant in Sydney, Peter Gilmore is at the forefront of Australian cuisine. He has earned professional accolades both locally and internationally, including his current ranking of 48 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurant list. Peter detailed his love affair with nature in his first cookbook, Quay: Food Inspired by Nature. (He’s at work on his second, slated for release in 2014.) It’s a love affair that keeps him up late at night, trawling online seed catalogues in search of rare plants and heirloom vegetable seeds that he grows in his own backyard and at the restaurant, has farmers grow on his behalf, and on which he bases his menu. Peter joins Barbara at the Food & Words kitchen table for a chat about seeds, plants and cooking.

www.quay.com.au

“What we try to do is to produce original, beautifully crafted food with a big emphasis on layers of texture and flavours to create an overall sense of balance. Food that tastes beautiful, that takes you on a journey of different sensations, that makes you think about where it came from.” Peter Gilmore, Quay: Food Inspired by Nature

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Rohan Anderson

A modern-day hunter-gatherer, Rohan Anderson grows, hunts, fishes, and forages in wild and urban surroundings to feed his family. You won’t find him in the supermarket; instead he can be found wandering purposefully in his back garden, by the river, or traipsing through the bush to find his tucker. He documents his adventures on his hugely popular blog, Whole Larder Love, where he shares his philosophies, recipes and, sometimes controversial, views. Rohan spent much of his childhood on a small farm near Jindivick in regional Victoria where he developed an affinity for nature and an understanding of the role it plays in providing sustenance. His book, Whole Larder Love, which also features his photography, is part how-to manual, part cookbook. Rohan lives Ballarat in regional Victoria.

wholelarderlove.com

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Paul Allam

Co-owner with Paul Allam of the successful Bourke Street Bakery, which started in 2004 with one bakery in Surry Hills (on Bourke Street, hence the name) and now numbers five bakery cafes around Sydney. Authors of the ultimate baking bible, Bourke Street Bakery, which reveals the secrets to the most popular Bourke Street Bakery treats, from the flaky pork and fennel sausage rolls to the ginger brulee tarts. David and Paul are bakers and chefs who share a love of good food. At Food & Words they’ll share the story of their Bread and Butter Project, a social enterprise that invests in bakery training and creates employment pathways for individuals and communities in need.
thebreadandbutterproject.com

“Baking is part science, part stoneground milling and part river-running romance. But it’s not the romance that will keep your baking consistently good. It’s the science.” Paul Allam, Bourke Street Bakery 

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David McGuinness

Co-owner with Paul Allam of the successful Bourke Street Bakery, which started in 2004 with one bakery in Surry Hills (on Bourke Street, hence the name) and now numbers five bakery cafes around Sydney. Authors of the ultimate baking bible, Bourke Street Bakery, which reveals the secrets to the most popular Bourke Street Bakery treats, from the flaky pork and fennel sausage rolls to the ginger brulee tarts. David and Paul are bakers and chefs who share a love of good food. At Food & Words they’ll share the story of their Bread and Butter Project, a social enterprise that invests in bakery training and creates employment pathways for individuals and communities in need.

thebreadandbutterproject.com

“Baking is part science, part stoneground milling and part river-running romance. But it’s not the romance that will keep your baking consistently good. It’s the science.” Paul Allam, Bourke Street Bakery

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Belinda Jeffery

There are a number of ways to compliment cookbook authors. Food smeared pages in their cookbook for one, and more than one of their books on your bookshelf. But, the greatest compliment has to be the pleasure of finding that a recipe’s worked – and worked well. All around the country, cooks pay these compliments and more to author Belinda Jeffery. She has a wonderful knack of creating recipes for food that you genuinely want to eat and a warm, distinctive writing style that is concise and comprehensive and, most importantly, results in a recipe that works. This award-winning author has worked as a cook, TV food presenter, freelance writer, restaurant reviewer and cooking teacher. Belinda’s books include Belinda Jeffery’s 100 Favourite Recipes; Belinda Jeffery’s Tried-and-True Recipes; Mix & BakeThe Country Cook Book; andDesserts.
www.belindajeffery.com.au

Being a great cook is one thing: being a decent cookery writer is quite another, and is based – like novel-writing – on imaginative sympathy and precise descriptive powers.” Julian Barnes, The Pedant in the Kitchen

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Yu-ching Lee

This young Malaysian-Chinese pastry chef has a dedicated online and social media following. She may not consider herself a writer, but she writes with knowledge and charm. Yu-ching, or LemonPi, the name her many followers know her by, started blogging in 2006 in order make a note of the things she baked at home. She migrated to Instagram, a photograph based phone app in 2012 when she realised it would be faster than blogging and a neat way to catalogue her work. Yu-ching’s family migrated from Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, when she was 13. Her parents were horrified when the new science graduate signed up for a chef’s apprenticeship. She went on to work in some of Sydney’s best kitchens, including Bistro Moncur, Marque and Pier, alongside renowned pastry chef Katrina Kanetani (now chef/owner of Town, Bangalow). Yu-ching currently works at Brickfields Bakery, where she’s learning about bread and pastry production.

blog.lemonpi.net 

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Scott Hill

Recently shortlisted for the NSW Premiers History Awards, food blog The Cook and the Curator takes the reader into the kitchens, dining rooms and gardens of Sydney Living Museums’ historic houses. The Cook, colonial gastronomer Jacqui Newling, is driven by curiosity to investigate the type of food that was served in these houses – from the gruel served to convicts at Hyde Park Barracks to the feasts found on the finer tables of Sydney’s elite. Scott Hill, the curator, applies principles learned while studying architecture to his ‘reading’ of a house or landscape and curating of rooms and objects. He finds stories that involve food and dining are among the most engaging: a table setting says as much about production methods, fashion and style as it does about evolving customs and social change. With reference to Sydney Living Museum’s collections these culinary curators will discuss recipe books and servants’ guides from the past, the way they are written and the times they were written in. sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/foodand blogs.hht.net.au/cook/

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Jacqui Newling

Recently shortlisted for the NSW Premiers History Awards, food blog The Cook and the Curator takes the reader into the kitchens, dining rooms and gardens of Sydney Living Museums’ historic houses. The Cook, colonial gastronomer Jacqui Newling, is driven by curiosity to investigate the type of food that was served in these houses – from the gruel served to convicts at Hyde Park Barracks to the feasts found on the finer tables of Sydney’s elite. Scott Hill, the curator, applies principles learned while studying architecture to his ‘reading’ of a house or landscape and curating of rooms and objects. He finds stories that involve food and dining are among the most engaging: a table setting says as much about production methods, fashion and style as it does about evolving customs and social change. With reference to Sydney Living Museum’s collections these culinary curators will discuss recipe books and servants’ guides from the past, the way they are written and the times they were written in.
sydneylivingmuseums.com.au/food and blogs.hht.net.au/cook/
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Dr Robert Edis

Robert is a soil scientist, academic and farmer with particular interest in soil-plant relationships. He holds Bachelor and Masters degrees in agricultural science from Sydney University, and a PhD from The University of Melbourne where he was a teacher and researcher and remains an honorary Associate Professor. After 25 years of mostly technical writing in journals and books, Robert has been indulging his passion for elite food from soil-plant partnerships in more secular writing, contributing to The Conversation (including The Good Earth series) and Better Crops. He is also President of the Victorian branch of Soil Science Australia.

Parsnips are tricky to get right. The taste and shape of the tap root is very dependant on the season, soil and management. Parsnips improve with leaving them in the earth for as long as possible; if harvested too early they can taste a bit like nail polish and lack that comforting, must-have nuttiness. To achieve a good sized tap root the soil must be very loose for the whole time, but provide sufficient resistance to affect biochemistry and thus flavour. The soil also has to be very well drained, preferably able to be wet and well aerated at the same time. This is what makes the Boneo Leptic Tenosol soil so special.” Dr Robert Edis

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Sarah Benjamin

What makes a cookery book a classic and what might the classics reveal of their author’s aspirations and of the publishers who gave life to their recipes? The historical cookery book is the most lively material remnant of past food cultures. Recipes, prose style and smudged stains on marked up pages are rich pickings for the historian. Sarah Benjamin’s first book was, A Castle in Tuscany, The remarkable life of Janet Ross, a biography of the woman who wrote the classic cookbook, Leaves from Our Tuscan Kitchen. Sarah is currently working on the women who penned some of the classics of early nineteenth century English cookery, the authors who laid the foundations for Isabella Beeton; all of them writing against a backdrop of huge social and technological change and all of them yearning to make their mark. Using the experience of such women as the first domestic goddess Maria Rundell and her successor, Eliza Acton, Sarah unravels the nexus between the revolution in nineteenth century English publishing and emergence of the best selling cookery book. Sarah Benjamin lived and studied in Florence in her early twenties, then took an MA in Italian Renaissance History at the University of Western Australia. She worked at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation for 10 years before turning to writing.

“In the best cookbooks, I find great comfort in the details of place and time, of rituals and forms that were the daily routine of a different epoch. I delight in the list of ingredients, the arrangement of tables and the order of meals, grand and modest: Eliza Acton’s elaborate instructions for dishes standing on pedestals and whole animals stuffed and bought to the table or, by contrast, Elizabeth David’s beautiful descriptions of simply prepared dishes eaten in the French Countryside.” Sarah Benjamin, A Castle in Tuscany: The Remarkable Life of Janet Ross

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Christopher Cowles

Apple case labels were only meant to have a brief, functional life, glued on the end of handmade wooden apples cases. But they are a reminders of a time when Australian orchardists from Albany, Huonville or Doncaster could put their family’s stamp on a box of home grown produce and send it across the sea to fill fruit bowls in Liverpool or Breman. David Walker, a photographer and librarian, and Christopher Cowles, a graphic design lecturer, met collector Ray Harrison in 1989 and so began a 15-year conversation and research project on the industrial folk art of Australian apple case labels ­– that also happened to increase Ray’s collection of apple case labels by 40 per cent. The project resulted in a beautiful book filled with quality colour-plates called The Art of Apple Branding. The topic at Food & Words therefore will be related to apples. www.applesfromoz.com

“When applying the labels, they should first be soaked for a short time in clean water. The paste is then applied by using a broad brush first to the case end and then to the label. The pasted surfaces are applied to each other, the label and the case being pressed into close contact by rubbing the surface of the label with a damp rag.”Queensland Agricultural Journal, 1938

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David Walker

Apple case labels were only meant to have a brief, functional life, glued on the end of handmade wooden apples cases. But they are a reminders of a time when Australian orchardists from Albany, Huonville or Doncaster could put their family’s stamp on a box of home grown produce and send it across the sea to fill fruit bowls in Liverpool or Breman. David Walker, a photographer and librarian, and Christopher Cowles, a graphic design lecturer, met collector Ray Harrison in 1989 and so began a 15-year conversation and research project on the industrial folk art of Australian apple case labels ­– that also happened to increase Ray’s collection of apple case labels by 40 per cent. The project resulted in a beautiful book filled with quality colour-plates called The Art of Apple Branding. The topic at Food & Words therefore will be related to apples.
www.applesfromoz.com

“When applying the labels, they should first be soaked for a short time in clean water. The paste is then applied by using a broad brush first to the case end and then to the label. The pasted surfaces are applied to each other, the label and the case being pressed into close contact by rubbing the surface of the label with a damp rag.”Queensland Agricultural Journal, 1938

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Bruce Auld

Bruce Auld is an agricultural scientist with special interests in plant ecology and biological control of weeds. He has worked in Australia and overseas, notably, Vietnam, for many years and was Visiting Professor at Kyoto University. He is currently Adjunct Professor of Plant Ecology at Charles Sturt University. He lives near Orange, is a keen vegie gardener, grows grapes and makes wine. Author of A Traveller’s Flora: A guide to familiar plants alongside roadsides, in fields and forgotten places, Bruce’s focus will be on the fascinating history of edible plants and their culinary uses.

“A widespread weed in summer crops, gardens, roadsides and wasteland, fat hen varies considerably in size, leaf shape and colour. It has been used as a food plant since Neolithic times. Since the fifteenth century it has largely been replaced by spinach, but it was still used during famine conditions in Europe during World War Two.” Bruce Auld, A Traveller’s Flora

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Martin Boetz

Few people get the chance to follow a dream; and Martin Boetz is one of those lucky few. He completed a 13-year tenure as head chef at modern-Thai Longrain earlier this year to focus on his farming, food and cooking business Cooks Co-op. It’s based on his 11-hectare farm on the Hawkesbury River at Sackville, a little over an hour’s drive from Sydney. Martin’s food has always been produce driven and he has moved seamlessly from chef to farmer. Not only does he sell his produce direct to chefs, he intends to have them direct their own planting and visit and cook at the farm.

cooksco-op.com

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Alex Herbert

Alex Herbert started cooking at Berowra Waters Inn under the direction Gay Bilson and Janni Kyritsis. It was the beginning of a career that, 23 years on, sees Alex established as one of Australia’s leading female chefs. She has worked alongside some of Australia’s finest chefs, including Maggie Beer, Christine Manfield, David Thompson and Martin Boetz. Alex established herself at her own restaurant Bird Cow Fish, which has enjoyed three incarnations: at Balmain, Surry Hills and now as a stall at the weekly Eveleigh Farmers’ Market. As a member of Slow Food, Alex attended Terra Madre, in Turin, as Cook Delegate in 2008 and since 2011 has been a NSW judge for the delicious. Food Produce Awards. Alex has a love of food writing and has held many dinners in collaboration with food writers, including Fergus Henderson, Gabrielle Hamilton, Maggie Beer and Carol Selva Rajah.