- Letho started 2017 on the right foot with a little look at the value of the café/restaurant interaction. “That $4 coffee: rent, wages, glassware, a subscription to the daily papers, yadayadayada. How far do you reckon it goes towards leasing a $25,000 espresso machine, paying the landlord and the barista, insuring the premises.” Of course he’s right, you can’t put a value on the importance of those little sliding doors moments in public eating (or drinking) houses. That’s why we do it.
Pat also had a little something to say on the topic: “I don't want to get all David Chang on you about this … but complaining about the dumplings costing four bucks each at Queen Chow seems a little ridiculous, given how much skill they take to make, and if they were bruschetta or a tartine you'd probably cough up the equivalent cash without batting an eyelid. The cost of food in restaurants in Sydney is high, it’s true, but it hasn't gone up nearly so quickly in the last 20 years as just about everything else. If you pick your restaurants with care, you get what you pay for.”
- Dimmi held their hospo game changers event on Monday. I watched a little online and chuckled at a question thrown to Myffy, Pat and Georgia (from Broadsheet), suggesting that new reviews for stalwart restaurants only come when you move location or change your name (or indeed burn to the ground). It’s a fair point, one I have discussed quite a lot of late. I am not suggesting these things are done for the media attention, rather questioning the (rather predictable) reviewing choices.
- Those chefs (and there are a few of you) ageing their fish may want to read this article about Chef Eiji Ichimura in NYC. Or, if you’re heading to Japan, you may like this little list of the five places to seek out at the Tsukiji Fish Markets (before they are moved).
- To other produce news, Coles have announced they’ve stopped waxing apples. However, AFSA are calling this greenwash and say they are simply replacing the wax with “Smart Fresh” gas, so they can still be available year round. Come on people.
- Meanwhile, in equally frustrating produce news, Science journal (in the US) this week published an article celebrating a genetic fix to put the taste back into tomatoes. That would be the very flavour found in heirloom and wild varieties they bred out in the first place (in efforts to make them suitable for life on trucks and supermarket shelves).
At the bottom of the NY Times article looking at the study: “In the tasting panels, there were noticeable differences in preferences: between men and women, between foodies and nonfoodies, and, perhaps most interesting, between older people and younger people. He recalled one of the students working in his laboratory picking out the supermarket tomato as her favorite in one of the taste tests.”
That's both fascinating and kind of terrifying. That last point is completely terrifying. A friend recently wrote to tell me of the insipid nature of the produce he tasted while on holidays in America. It's a fight we need to win.
- In other things we should fight for, the lovely Maria and her wonderful Parabere Forum have announced their March line-up. This year they look at redefining sustainability for the kitchen, the planet and our working lives. If you are anywhere near Barcelona on 5 - 6 March, you should get there.
- Among the speakers is recently announced “world’s best female chef” Ana Ros. Don’t start me on the female chef of the year thing, instead read this great article by Jill or watch her story on Netflix. And, if you still don’t think the industry has a problem on that front, check out the line-up for Taste, or read this article in Eater.
- A quick, random side bar for wine friends – this week applications opened for the 2017 Master Sommsprogram.
- And, finally, to my buddies in Adelaide. Could one of you please find Ray and take him fishing? The below was posted on Gumtree, with a selfie.
“My name is Ray Johnstone, Australian. I’m a widowed pensioner who is looking for a fishing mate. My previous fishing mate is now deceased. I am a land based fisherman I have all the gear for all types of fish that is required for land based fishing what I want is a fishing mate in a similar position to myself who also wants someone to go fishing with …” Go Ray.