The week that was (14 January 2016)

Soap box:

- As with the beginning of every year, everyone is pulling out their crystal ball to talk to our future. The SMH suggest seaweed is the new kale (yawn), along with camel milk and savoury ice-cream, while in bars it's small batch gins, mescals and tequilas along with picklebacks and boilermakers (paired beer and whisky). The Tele is suggesting more veg dishes, ranch dressing, insects, pop-ups and pub grub (did they just roll out their predictions from five years ago?)

- The veg trend is probably overdue and may just take off. We should all be eating more veg anyway. The Fink family are banking on it, reportedly asking their chefs across all restaurants to reduce meat dishes on their menu, alongside a 25% reduction in sugar in desserts. As meat prices continue to rocket and the nitrite/nitrate debate continues to rage chefs may be left with little choice. Read this article looking at the difference between a nitrate and nitrite and the specific circumstances required to make them potentially harmful.

- Of course, talking trends, there will also be anything and everything to come out of Noma Australia. I often wonder at the value of having the world’s eyes turn to us, surely aided by Conde Nast Traveller announcing us as their destination of choice for 2016 (check out David Prior's Instagram for the visual, he is doing a spectacular job promoting our country). They had some beautiful stories looking at Australian culture and, to combine the two, this article from Rene saying where he likes to eat while he's here. I suggest the value is huge, and thus ask the question in how many languages can people find your restaurant website? 

- Continuing the Noma theme, Daniel Giusti is leaving (he has been head chef since 2013) to launch Brigaid in the US, a company that will attempt to change the way schools feed their students. This article in Lucky Peach is a great read. Obviously it’s a big leap from cooking food that is about “developing masterpieces” to food that is about feeding people for $3.07 a head, but for Giusti this is what it's all about “I'm making them happy and I'm changing the way they live because I'm changing the way they eat.” I created a Churchill Fellowship proposal on the same topic (sadly knocked back), but it is hard to argue with the importance of making good food accessible for all children. I'm looking forward to seeing what he comes up with. 

- You can breathe easy for the fine people of Copenhagen too, who have not been forgotten in all the upheaval. Noma has been temporarily  transformed into 108, the second resto by the peeps of Noma in partnership with Kristian Baumann. It will find it's permanent home in Christianshavn in spring. 

- Over the summer break I have developed two new food crushes that I would like to share:

(1) I was introduced to the poetic food historian Dr Pushpesh Pant by Miss O Tama. If you have not heard of him, do read this delightful article. A few of my favourite thoughts: Dr Pant (as if his name is not enough!) thinks being fussy about food is "irrefutable evidence that one is serious about life"; compares eating to sex as the only activity that consumes "all five senses ... marked by the same cycle of anticipation, ecstatic absorption and satiation, only this cycle is a much more frequent one"; I loved his ideas around the way tastes and palates change with culture and even cultural aspiration (“ … the dialogue between what he calls "the DNA of taste" and "the acquisition of taste" - the intrinsic character of any person's palate, the food they were exposed to as children, and then the nature of the circumstances that led them to adapt, explore, innovate."); And finally his plans to map Indian food - "I want to make a different kind of food map of India, one in which zones are demarcated based on what they traditionally use as a souring agent - tamarind or kokum, dried mango or vinegar, starfruit or lime - or what is the base spice for their gravies." Yes. Just yes. 
- My other new/old crush is Lulu Peyraud. I stumbled across a copy of Richard Olney’s Lulu’s Provencal Table pre-Christmas and swiftly bought it (the ultimate boomerang present for my bf). I have seen Lulu’s book once before at the table of the Bersons, dear friends and wine makers of Victory Point in WA. It was over a decade ago, but her story stayed with me. I have consumed much of the Peyraud’s Domaine Tempier wine, considered by many as the pinnacle of Bandol rosés. The book is stunning, the recipes delightful, the sentiment beautiful, the cuisine simple and perfectly Provencal. She was the kind of woman who kept a menu diary, so as not to serve the same meal twice. She is the kind of woman I want to be, when I am not wanting to be Elizabeth David!

- I leave you on the happy news that Saveur have killed the word foodie. Ding, dong.