Thursday, 14 December 2006

Thank You Guys Down Under There

The Australian FlagI've wanted to post this big "thankyou" note for a few days and this is just the right time to do it. Up to now it's been a bit hard for a Pom to shower thanks on a bunch of Aussies for obvious reasons. And I expect that shortly after we resume at the crease later on tonight it will become impossible once again.

But this is the ideal window, thanks to Monty Panesar...

Back in early November I posted a piece about my Australian gastronomy project. In late November, after a lot of research, I followed this up with an initial menu. Part of the project briefing was to investigate how the national cuisine has been modernised in recent years and how it can be modernised and developed further. I appealed on my blog for help, with a nod and wink at the wonderful antipodean food blogger Haalo: "So do write to me, please. I'll try anything once, as they say." And Haalo graciously obliged, giving me some great pointers to top Australian hotel restaurants, which taught me a lot about the influence of modern European cooking on Australian gastronomy.

The Flag of Aboriginal AustraliaWhat I wanted next was to get a better understanding of more traditional Australian cooking - indigenous produce and spices and Aborinal cooking methods.

So I was thrilled and amazed when I received helpful and supportive communications from two particular Australians, both of whom had found my blog on the internet and taken the time to respond.

Sibylla Hess-Buschmann is Managing Director of Australian Rainforest Products Pty Ltd, a company that specialises in growing, processing and marketing of native Australian foods, herbs, spices, fruits and essential oils. She was a founding member of the Australian Rainforest Bushfood Industry Association, serving as Secretary and later as President. She has been actively involved in the selection and promotion of native species for commercial production for almost two decades and is recognised across Australia as a leading expert in indigenous produce.

Vic Cherikoff is a legend in Australia. Widely regarded as a visionary in the culinary field, Vic has spent 25 years researching and promoting traditional Aboriginal food as the basis of an authentic Australian cuisine. He has taken many native foods and re-engineered them into contemporary cooking ingredients. Vic hosts a TV cooking show called "Dining Downunder", in which unsung heroes of relatively unknown restaurant kitchens around Australia showcase their offerings. He has written two landmark books on Australian foods: "The Bushfood Handbook" and "Uniquely Australian, A Wild Food Cookbook" and more recently co-authored "The Dining Downunder Cookbook" with Benjamin Christie. A man who hits my button by describing himself as "a global citizen", Cherikoff has been nominated through the Australia Day Council as 2007 Australian of the Year.

The fact that you guys down under took the time and gave the effort to help point a teenage trainee chef on the other side of the planet in the right direction is nothing short of humbling. Thank you. And try not to overdo the celebrations when the ashes return.

US FlagPS. To my readers in N.Y. and L.A. - Vic Cherikoff and Benjamin Christie are looking for a Manager to take on day-to-day business and development duties for their TV cooking shows, "Dining Downunder" and "Upside Down Kitchen", which will begin broadcasting to 44 million households in the US from February 2007. Fancy the job, or know anyone who might fancy it?

3 comments:

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

This is slightly off topic - but it appears as if your email address is not working? I keep getting "mail returned"

Trig said...

OK I'll check it. But it's

aidan.brooks@blueyonder.co.uk

Trig

Trig said...

I wrote it in the template using the ascii character trick so it could not be read back by anything automated.


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