The week that was (22 September 2016)

CNTraveller has released its food issue and, with it, their inaugural “Where in the World to Eat” list. This list is not about the newest, nor the most on trend, rather it's a list of restaurants you would travel for (or those you still dream about from your travels). The list was compiled by contributing editors David Prior and Peter Jon Lindberg with the help of an eclectic group of the well-travelled and well-fed including Alice Waters, James Henry, Danny Meyer, Anthony Bourdain, Luke Burgess and many more*.

There are some cracking restaurants on the list, restaurants that extend beyond the regular contenders, restaurants that would never make Michelin or the 50 Best - for example the unassuming (but most excellent) Frenchie bistro Le Baratin in Paris's 20th, old-school Elkano in Getaria, Spain, and the excellent farm kitchen at La Ruchotte near Macon, France. This is a list that makes me want to pack my bags. Of course, there are also Aussie inclusions, 11 to be precise

(*Disclaimer: I am very chuffed to admit, among that incredibly esteemed company, I was invited to provide a few suggestions.) 
- Coming back to Bourdain: the eighth series of “Parts Unknown” airs on CNN this Sunday in the states. While that doesn't actually mean much to us here, I was interested to read this piece in the Washington Post about how CNN picked him up in the first place (and how they got Obama on the show - or how Obama came to them). The story gave a little background to the risk CNN took mixing the show into their traditional newsie line-up. Apparently that risk, or at least Bourdain defecting from his fluffy food channel, was driven by Bourdain himself following a trip to Beirut in 2006. While the trip began with Bourdain falling in love with Beirut ("I can only describe as "pheromonic": the place just smelled good. Like a place we were going to love"), it ended with him and his crew finding themselves in the middle of a military incursion and thus evacuated by the marines.
"I came away from the experience deeply embittered, confused -- and determined to make television differently than I'd done before ... Our Beirut experience did not give me delusions of being a journalist. I just saw that there were realities beyond what was on my plate, and those realities almost inevitably informed what was -- or was not -- for dinner. To ignore them now seemed monstrous."

He’s an interesting man (Kitchen Confidential remains an industry right of passage, 16 years after publication) but this story made him even more intriguing. Of course food has a place at the current affairs table, it tells so many stories, and so, how important to have someone willing (and able) to tell them. Bravo Bourdain, bravo.

- I was encouraged to watch Allan Savory's TedX speech last week. It was excellent. Mentor to Joel Salatin, I was intrigued to understand his argument for using herding to fix the world's soil. It's very much worth watching (and a shout out to the Little Veggie Patch guys for sending me in Allan's direction).

- Finishing on a little produce news - I enjoyed this article about the Australian sea urchin industry in the Oz. Did you know urchins are endemic to our waters (and almost tending pest)? And, while I want to contend the concept that colour equals quality - I was told by a beautiful, gnarly-handed, French fisherman that just like mussels, the tongue of the urchin is coloured by its' sex, which affects the way it tastes, but not necessarily the quality - I did like Sus using the term “merroir” (the oceanic version of terrior) - it made me chuckle. 

- And last, but certainly not least, a very happy fifth birthday to Pecora Dairy. If you don't know their cheeses, you are missing out. Big time.