The week that was (5 May 2016)

- The Fin Rev held their hot 100 (peer-voted) awards on Monday. The awards were unfortunately preceded by the list which was leaked, or at least accidentally published, on Sunday. The planned preface to the awards was a forum on the business of food and its future. Some of the words I enjoyed from that afternoon:
 
From David Thompson: (in a beautiful sing-song lilt he has apparently developed while learning the Thai language) On Thailand - "It's the languid way in which people approach their life. To live first, not work. Sensual creatures who enjoy their life because they want to enjoy it." On culinary tradition - "a regulated approach is not constricting, it's allowed me to explore my mind, to hone and explore and excavate, to research to create a better understanding of what's being done and the context within which it is done."

From Ben Shewry: On reputation - "It's the character of the restaurant that's important, and that's what I try to build, not a rep." On competition - "Criticism has affected me more than praise, failure likewise. But there's no point in trying to be better than anyone else, just the best version of you." 
 
So, back to the list. You can see the full AFR list here and top five below:

  1. Attica
  2. Brae
  3. Sepia (who have turned the tables on plans to shut their fine diner at the end of the year, announcing at the awards they are here to stay for at least a couple more years).
  4. Quay
  5. Ester 

On a personal note:

I lost a friend this week. My heart is heavy and my head is full of memories of him. Thus I have abandoned my quest for alternative models to the farmers market today. I will tackle that next week. Instead, in the tradition of Fraulein Maria, here are some happy things I have been collecting:
 
(1) Quinces in the linen cupboard - due to their long life quinces were traditionally used to perfume the linen cupboard before they were put to use in the kitchen. Sheets that smell of quinces, how delightful.
 
(2) This photograph of a 98 year old Lulu Peyraud having lunch with Alice Waters (Chez Panisse) and Carlo Petrini (Slow Food) this week. In fact all of Fanny’s photos of Domaine Tempier helped my heart sing. Imagine the conversation ...
 
(3) Nick Haddow (Bruny Island cheesemaker) realising his dream and buying his own dairy farm. He will build a cheesery dedicated to raw milk cheese, made from his own herd of cows. I was discussing raw milk cheese the other night ... we could be on the cusp of exciting things here in Australia, which is of course well overdue, but exciting none-the-less. This is another step.

(4) This graph in The Financial Times, looking at the decline in use of artificial ingredients in processed food over the past five years. Yes. 
 
(5) Finally, someone suggested at Harvest Moon that we could switch the way we discuss the gender divide in our kitchens, suggesting the imbalance could also be about men wanting to nurture and finding that in cooking (rather than approaching it from the context of women being excluded). I understand this is a long bow to draw in many cases, but it's a lovely one none the less – particularly when I think of all the beautiful male chefs I know.