Intelligence Squared Debate: Our Food Obsession Has Gone Too Far

Intelligence Squared Debate: Our Food Obsession Has Gone Too Far

We live in the foodie age – where celebrity chefs are the new rock stars. But while organic food is a must-have fashion accessory, obesity and food intolerances are on the rise.

But there are good things on the boil in the world of food too – for instance, fair trade and carbon footprints are increasingly considered when making our food purchasing decisions.

Has our food obsession gone too far? Or can food become a vehicle to drive social change? Watch the debate and explore the issues.

For the proposition:

  • Matthew Evans – former chef and food critic turned Tasmanian smallholder
  • Katy Barfield – former CEO, SecondBite
  • Wendy Harmer – comedian, journalist, author and 2009 Celebrity Masterchef contestant

Against the proposition:

  • Alla Wolf-Tasker – executive chef and co-owner of the acclaimed Lake House restaurant
  • Richard Cornish – food writer and commentator focussed on sustainability
  • Fuchsia Dunlop – British food writer and chef specialising in Chinese cuisine


Portrait of Katy Barfield

Katy Barfield

Katy led SecondBite as CEO from 2006 to 2012. Together with founders Ian and Simone Carson, Katy led SecondBite through a period of intense growth and expansion on an unprecedented scale, from collecting around 600kg of fresh produce in 2005 to redistributing over two million kilograms in 2012 to 400+ community food programs in Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, WA and NSW.

Portrait of Richard Cornish

Richard Cornish

Richard Cornish is an award-winning food writer who penned the much loved and irreverent Fairfax Media column Brain Food for more than seven years. He has co-authored the bestselling MoVida cookbooks with Frank Camorra, and Phillippa’s Home Baking with Phillippa Grogan. My Year Without Meat was published by MUP in 2016.

Portrait of Fuchsia Dunlop

Fuchsia Dunlop

Fuchsia Dunlop was the first Westerner to train at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, and has been travelling around China collecting recipes for nearly two decades.

Portrait of Matthew Evans

Matthew Evans

Matthew Evans is a former chef and food critic turned Tasmanian smallholder. He fattens pigs, milks a cow, tends a garden and writes about food from his office atop his cottage on Puggle Farm, in the gorgeous Huon Valley. He is also the author of nine books on food, including the authoritative Real Food Companion, his autobiography Never Order Chicken on a Monday, and the recently co-authored Gourmet Farmer Deli Book.

Portrait of Wendy Harmer

Wendy Harmer

Wendy Harmer is one of Australia’s most versatile entertainers – broadcaster, author, journalist and stage performer – and is the editor-in-chief of The Hoopla, a daily online news and magazine website. She was a contestant in Celebrity Masterchef in 2009.

Portrait of Alla Wolf-Tasker

Alla Wolf-Tasker

Alla Wolf-Tasker is the executive chef and co-proprietor of Daylesford dining stalwart Lake House. In 2007, she was named a Member of the Order of Australia for her service to Tourism and Hospitality.