The week that was (14 May 2017)

- Let us start with Jonathon Gold, because I think he’s ace. Read his review of noma Mexico because, it too, is ace. “Redzepi’s many-coursed dinners have the same kind of narrative arcs you might expect in a well-structured novel, themes that barely register as a flicker at the beginning of a meal coming to roaring denouements toward the end, simple things like the taste of an apple or the curve of a tiny shrimp bending within their context to serve story more than they might any culinary effect.” 
He develops this idea throughout the article – one that I think is thoughtful, original and makes sense of much of the criticism. “You could probably think of the residencies as something like movies presented in another medium, and the stories his staffers tell about Redzepi’s abandoned paths — turtles in Tabasco, game in Chiapas — are nearly as compelling as what actually makes it to the plate.” He concludes: “Beauty and conflict are often intertwined.” A lovely image and a lovely review.
(We’ve touched on some of the other reviews, but here’s Eater’s wrap up if you are still not satiated.)
- Staying with Gold, I want to come back to last week’s mention of LocoL and food deserts – if you’re not familiar with the concept, you might find this article helpful. It looks at the way in which researchers are now making use of Instagram (via hashtags and geo-tags) to compare diets in different socio-economic areas: “The difference was marked enough that 80 percent of the time, the researchers were able to use a model to predict whether a given Instagram was from a food desert or not.” That's a problem.
- Rich vs poor, peasant vs industrial – it’s an interesting dichotomy. For this, you may want to watch Michael Pollan explain the horror behind making McDonalds fries. The very idea of “off-gassing” the chemicals to create these “perfect” long chips is terrifying. I also think Pollan is right that the scientific understanding of nutrition is still very primitive. Finally, perhaps despite the evidence to the contrary above, I was interested in his thoughts regarding (financially) poor people who cook having healthier diets than rich people who don’t. Surely this all comes back to education, whether traditionally learnt at the apron strings, or intermittently through good marketing campaigns (think rationing in WWII), but now ... well ...
- Let's talk a little about what’s going on in the world of journalism. Fairfax is fucked, News probably not much better. If staff aren’t being made redundant, they’re striking for those who have. Unfortunately, striking doesn’t do much good when there is no money in the pot. You don’t need me to tell you the world of media is changing rapidly, nor that the shift can be terrifying – I have no doubt that Trump’s ability to master social media amplified the bullshit and brought him the voters – but I also know our responsibility needs to reach far beyond the whinging. If we want better journalism we need to create it, we need to consume it. Read this feisty and rather excellent exchange between Winsor Dobin, Gary Walsh and Mike Bennie on FB – where Winsor had posted “new on my blog” a press release from Yalumba and Walsh and Bennie rightly took him to task (apols to those not on FB).
W: “My take on a press release yes! Also called a news story in today's environment … It is a very changed environment. I've been fighting for too long. The dailys do the same - and rate everything 95+. Feel free to have a crack at them.”

MB: "I have always admired that you came at writing from journalism, have cronies who admired your work, have an angle. I've been in news agencies 'relearning' the trade, investigating the way online works, a decade ago and decided to not follow the regurgitation line. Meanwhile, now you are an offender, so here's the crack..."
- But I think the best thing I saw all week was this, where art, sensory perception and food all crossed paths. A great little bit of content marketing (an interesting media genre in and of itself, here I think it's done well) by the people of Canon. In fact, I am not even going to try and explain it. Watch it, watch it all. (Particularly the mussel and the mouth … sensual, evocative, incredible.)
(Another) postcard from Adelaide:
Hmm, Adelaide. I have slept on it (granted, it was some much needed sleep) and have woken to find myself even more enamoured. 

Occasionally, I think, serendipity reaches out and bestows a place with a particularly special combination of people and talent - a perfect storm of creativity. Adelaide, somewhere between a town and a city, famously had one such moment in the 1980s.

The food scene of that era became the zeitgeist for the decade(s) that followed: think Maggie, Cheong, Phillip Searle, Cath Kerry in the kitchens; plus an academic movement that took food seriously (Symons had just published One Continuous Picnic, a book that remains the preeminent study on Australian culinary culture, The Symposium of Food was created in the backstreets of Adelaide in ‘84); and a wine scene that was hitting its straps, not just locally but internationally. A plethora of Australia’s culinary patrons converging on one rather small city. How excellent. 
Without getting too dramatic, it appears Adelaide is again at the coalface: their culinary landscape continues to blossom – a veritable melting pot of restaurants taking in all different genres, cuisines and price points – I think they’re punching well above their weight. Add to that many of Australia’s most established and acclaimed wineries now nestled alongside some of our most interesting and progressive regions; natural meets conventional, old-world meets new-world.
Of course, this scene of collaboration between soil and plate is an easy one in Adelaide, the ocean is 20 minutes in one direction, the hills 20 minutes in the other. But it was the spirit of conversation and shared interest that intrigued me most: wine makers, chefs, restaurateurs, artists, designers, musicians all working shoulder to shoulder ... sharing ideas, talking.
Take for example Africola, a perennial favourite, where this year the food and the restaurant’s design were flipped on their head - those beautiful cane lampshades replaced by golden orbs and the food of the south replaced by that of the Maghreb. I was intrigued not just for the beauty and bravery of the shift, but for the conversation it inspired amongst everyone and anyone while I was there. Alternatively, look at Summertown Aristologist (the aristologist name, previously belonging to Symons and Hillier, now in the hands of wine makers Anton van Klopper and Jasper Button) where they're serving beautiful food with excellent service and one of the most serious natural cellars in SA, and yet it's relaxed to the point you can rock up without your shoes on - as it is at Lost in a Forest. Is this cellar door 2.0?? 

Whatever the catalyst or the cause, there is a natural conviviality, an easy sharing of ideas and conversation that extends beyond the mundane or the individual's metier that I enjoyed and admired greatly – it felt a little like France and made me very happy. Thanks for having me kids.