Christine Manfield is one of Australia’s most celebrated chefs – a perfectionist inspired by strong flavours, and a writer whose successful books, Tasting India, Fire, Spice, Stir, Christine Manfield Originals and Christine Manfield Desserts, have spiced up the lives of keen cooks everywhere. Her professional culinary life started in the mid-1980s and has culminated to date in three ground-breaking restaurants: Paramount in Sydney from 1993 to 2000, East@West in London, and Universal Restaurant in Sydney, which won accolades from critics and diners alike. An inveterate traveller, Christine continues to broaden her global food interests, working alongside respected chefs around the world and hosting gastronomic tours to exotic destinations including Morocco, India, Spain and Turkey.
Mike McEnearney is executive chef and co-owner of Kitchen by Mike in Sydney. He began his career in 1990, cooking for five years at Sydney’s internationally renowned Rockpool before moving to London, where he worked at the Michelin-starred Pied à Terre, and ran the kitchens of Mezzo, Bluebird, Pharmacy and Scott’s. Mike returned to Australia in 2006 to lead the kitchen at Rockpool in Sydney. In 2010 he spent a year baking at Iggy’s Bread of the World, then in 2011 launched Mike’s Table, an acclaimed underground dining experience that rapidly gained cult status. Kitchen by Mike opened in February 2012 and was awarded Best Café in that year’s Time Out Sydney Food Awards.
Kate Llewellyn has published memoir, essays, journalism and poetry since 1987. Kate is the author of 22 books comprising journals, travel, essays, autobiography and poetry. Her book The Waterlily A Blue Mountains Journal was a bestseller. It was, along with two of her other books, made into a talking book. She has written on East Africa, India and Italy and NZ and the Cooke Islands, along with eight books of poetry. She is the co-editor of The Penguin Book of Australian Women Poets. Her latest book is A Fig at the Gate, to be published by Allen & Unwin, will be released especially for Food & Words. Much loved and much read, she has created an Australian nature writing genre that is all her own, A Fig at the Gate is in this tradition.
As one of Australia’s preeminent writers on food, Gay Bilson draws on 25 years experience as a restaurateur – at Berowra Waters Inn for 18 years, and then Bennelong at the Sydney Opera House – and an insatiable and dogged curiosity. She is the author of Plenty: Digressions on Food, which won the Nita B. Kibble Prize for Women’s Life Writing and was also named The Age Book of the Year in 2005, and On Digestion, a Little Books on Big Themes series published by Melbourne University Press. Her most recent essays have been published in Island magazine (University of Tasmania) and in a compilation of food writing, Voracious. She has been a contributor to The Monthly and continues to write for Australian Book Review. Gay appeared at the inaugural Food & Words in 2012, where she reflected on the progress of her writing life.
Laura Dalrymple is co-owner of Sydney providore Feather and Bone and the author of a weekly newsletter which attempts to provide an unvarnished and truthful picture of the business of sourcing sustainably-produced food. Feather and Bone’s purpose is to open up the line of sight between grower and consumer by providing transparent and substantiated provenance for everything they sell. After years spent as a graphic designer and project manager, Laura threw caution (and the security of a decent wage) to the wind to join Feather and Bone. The newsletter started as a simple list of available products but has gradually morphed into a weekly column of stories, producer and product news and soapbox rants with 8,000 self-subscribed readers.
Dr Roger Haden is the Manager, Educational Leadership with Le Cordon Bleu, the iconic international culinary arts educator, where he develops higher education programs including the online Master of Gastronomic Tourism in which he also teaches Communication and Aesthetics of Food and Wine. In the six years he spent at The University Adelaide teaching Gastronomy and directing The Research Centre for The History of Food and Drink, Roger also wrote Food Culture in the Pacific Islands and continues to research and write on sensory taste, the subject of his PhD thesis. Roger also writes occasional food-related pieces for The Adelaide Review, is chief judge in bakery at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show and is currently quite excited about baking sourdough in the brick oven he’s just finished at home in Adelaide.
Bernadette Hince is a historian and dictionary writer. The first thing she remembers cooking as a child was an O-So-Lite packet orange cake from a showbag, which was so well received by her hungry and undiscriminating brothers and sisters that she has been cooking ever since. She has written about food, families, thrift, Australian plants and their uses, what we eat in cold places, and the words we have for that food. Her Antarctic dictionary: a complete guide to Antarctic English has some unusual foodstuffs in it.
It might seem incongruent that boiled eggs with paper twists of salt, canned pineapple and condensed milk and lashings of ginger beer could have led to the creation of several books about Indian food history and culture but Charmaine O’Brien’s interest in words about food had its genesis in the descriptions of picnics and midnight feasts in the Enid Blyton books she read as a child. Perhaps it was also this early engagement with adventure stories that led the food historian, writer, culinary educator, coach and cook to make her way into domestic kitchens across the subcontinent of India to create The Penguin Food Guide to Indiaand others. An essay by Charmaine, exploring how words affect the way we ‘taste’ was recently commended in the Sophie Coe Prize for food writing.
Doug Purdie is a beevangelist, urban beekeeper and author of Backyard Bees. Doug started in beekeeping in 2009 when he read about the worldwide bee decline and decided to do his bit. Joining his local beekeeping association, he ended up getting involved with the NSW Amateur Beekeepers Association, of which he is currently president. As an urban beekeeper, Doug manages 70 hives in the inner city, on rooftops, balconies and in backyards. Doug can build or fix anything, which is very useful in beekeeping where gadgets constantly need inventing.
Alice McCormick is a gifted writer, artist and critic. Her book, The Artist’s Lunch, made a sizable impact in Australian cultural circles and was widely and positively reviewed. Its subject matter brought together two anomalous concerns – the culinary and the aesthetic – in an original and elegant way. Deeply embedded in Sydney’s artistic and literary communities, Alice also runs a small rare book business with a boutique and loyal clientele.
Photographer Sarah Rhodes uses the photographic portrait to understand the role of creativity, beautifully captured in the coffee-table book The Artist’s Lunch (Murdoch Books). Her work has been exhibited and published internationally and is held in the National Library of Australia, AlburyCity, Koorie Heritage Trust, Museum Victoria and the Margaret Hannah Olley and Charles Blackman trusts. Sarah has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology and Fine Art and a Masters in Publishing from the University of Sydney.