The week that was (10 July 2017)

- The SMH tackled women in wine. Sofia Levin gave a good account of the issues at hand - and there are many. Personally, I believe every industry is better off with balance, that is balance across the board (in gender, in age, in personality types). Parenthood is obviously a difficult point to navigate, of course women should be welcomed back into the workforce post birth, but it would also be nice to see the burden of childcare/sick children/early pick-ups etc equally expected (by the employers) of Mums and Dads, thus meaning that women with children and viewed as the same in the workplace as men with children. That, my friends, is equality.
- The Oz are preparing to drop their list of Hot 50 restaurants next month. Lethlean announced this along with his take on the other awards out there. He was particularly scathing of the AFR awards: “It’s a system, I guess, an approach with a point of difference, and it provides the all-important marketing tool of numerical ranking, 1-100. But because it’s about chefs nominating favourites, it’s a system that asks you to believe a restaurant like, say, Hobart’s Franklin is better than Sydney’s Bridge Room. Or that Melbourne’s Tipo 00 is better than Cutler & Co. Or that Saint Peter in Paddington, Sydney, is better than Cirrus Dining down at Barangaroo. Rubbish propositions, all … I counted 65 I’d eaten at in the past two years; three I’d never been to at all.” An interesting admission given the brief for his own awards ("a national snapshot of what’s hot in dining around Australia right now"). 
- Myffy penned an insight into the judging for the Josephine Pignolet awards along with the list of this year’s finalists (congratulations to you all!). It was a great article. “I learn more about what's happening in the industry sitting in on that panel one day of the year than I do interviewing 100 head chefs. And I think that's because there's honesty, openness and a willingness to share that isn't a result of media training, or driven by a need to self-promote. It's a completely raw insight into what is actually affecting young chefs on the front line.” And her big take-out? Mental health.  
- In fact, there were a few interesting articles about mental health, behaviour and the potential causes in our industry this week. The NYTimes had a story on Sean Brock’s recent decision to put down the bottle. It tells an important tale of substance abuse, high stress and the physical and mental ramifications of a life left un-checked. (“Mr. Brock wasn’t the kind of chef who drank during work, but he was often the last man standing at the end of a night saturated with Budweiser and Jägermeister. In some circles, his name had become a verb. After a long stretch on the line, one cook might look at another and say, “Let’s get Brocked.”)
- In Barcelona last week the 50 Best talks continued with “Food Forward: Visions of Gastronomy.” The panel was made up from past number ones. A few take outs below:
Joan Roca: “'We need to make the next generation feel comfortable that they’re not sacrificing their lives.' Gastronomy is moving 'from products and techniques to people, from science to awareness and conscience.'” Hear, hear. 
Massimo: “In the future, he said, 'there will be chefs who know more about soil and farmers who know more about taste' – and there will be universities dedicated to it. But where were the farmers at the event, he queried?”

Adria: Also talked about the importance of preparing future generations however, for him, it's about preservation of knowledge. He's in the process of writing a number(!) of tomes on the topic. 

Rene: took the opportunity to talk about his new foraging app – Vild Mad. It’s free to download, but is focussed on Denmark. His hope is the idea will spread around the world. They will be holding a foraging day on Sunday the 27th August, which may or may not provide a clue for the date for this year's MAD.
- Locally, the Orana Foundation have announced a partnership with The University of Adelaide. Their collective goal (from Jock Zonfrillo): “To create the first ever comprehensive database building on past and current knowledge from a wide range of sources will, I hope, allow many more people to access and share these rich food sources of Australia.”

Postcards from Deauville:
I have spent the past week en famille in Northern France. We were there to commemorate the death of my great-great-grandfather. He was killed in "The Great War" 100 years ago. Of course, there is nothing "great" about war, but seeing all those graves, all that destruction, it was impossible not to also look at the people around me, my family, and feel my heart swell. I think we would have done Holmesy proud. 

Beyond the history lessons (for which we had one of the best in the business, my Dad is a military historian), we cooked, we ate out, we drank, we indulged. The markets were incredible: sprightly bunches of herbs, the heady perfume of stone fruit and strawberries, stacks of raw milk cheeses and saucisson, tangles of samphire, and then there was the seafood - buckets of sweet petit bouchot mussels, oysters, twinkly eyed fish - particularly turbot, I love turbot.

Having now farewelled most of my blood-relations (and their incredibly patient partners), I'm back in Paris staying with the beautiful home of the Frenchie fam I was lucky to adopt while on exchange at 17. I am in my element with a list of restaurants as long as my arm, streets to wander, people to watch and wines to drink (yes, yes, and a book to write).