The week that was (26 November 2015)

Soap box -

- Speaking of Sydney streets, according to Necia (The Oz) they are hot, hot, hot right now, and she's not just speaking literally. She penned an article looking at the surge of dining establishments in our hood. This quote from NSW Trade, Tourism and Major Events Minister Stuart Ayres stood out: “We had a record 3.3 million international visitors in the year to June, over a million more than our nearest competitor [Victoria] … Of those, over 90 per cent listed dining out as their favourite activity.” Quite the honeypot, leading me to think we owe a thing or two to Tourism Aust (also noting that, for this article, Necia "visited Sydney with the assistance of Destination NSW").

Necia also explored the growth in mid-range dining. You will remember this was the big trend Jonathon Gold suggested in his 101 LA restos a couple of weeks back (he referred to it as “reverse fusion”). The idea being the young chefs who have plied their trade (and learnt the art) from the fine dining chefs of the world are now taking it back a peg, applying the same nouse to food they grew up with, albeit in much lower price bracket. Winning.    

The Guardian took a look at AA Gill’s autobiography Pour Me. The book tells of his descent into alcoholism and the road out of that hole (and onto the pages of our newspapers). From the book reviews I learnt a few things I did not know about Mr Gill: he has dyslexia that is so debilitating that he still uses a scribe for all his articles and his book (her name is Michelle and he’s never met her); His brother Nick was a Michelin-starred chef who went missing in 1998 and hasn't been heard of since; It’s 30 years since Gill was told (as a 30 year old) that if he continued drinking he wouldn't see Christmas. The Independent says “... often it is hopelessly overwritten, full of clichés, and punctuated by attempts at wit and aphorism that repeatedly misfire. Does this matter? Not really. This is a book to be read as one suspects it was written: quickly and carelessly, and in thrall to the joys of narrative. It might not all be beautiful; it might not all be true. But that does little to diminish the pleasure to be found in its story.” I would happily add it to my Santa list.
- If you want this week’s list (you will recall last week's list warning) check out Gourmet Traveller’sfavourite dishes of 2015 as chosen by the state eds.

- I'm going to leave the last word to Paulette Whitney from Provenance Growers in Tassie. Her produce article in Gourmet makes my heart flutter every month - thoughtful, insightful and beautiful. This month was no different: "After harvest most crops sense they are detached from their mother plant and begin transforming delicious sugars into more stable starches. My peas think they need to store their energy until the time is right to germinate and grow, and they will quickly become bland if left too long after picking. Freshly dug potatoes are the same, their skins slipping off easily under the cool tap. I'll steam them while their hearts are still beating and they will be buttery and sweet." I had a very delightful chef (and lovely friend) gush about her first experience cooking a potato straight from the earth last week, I know this beating heart description will resonate.