As access to exotic ingredients broadens our palates and seemingly distinct culinary cultures become fused, we are often still drawn to dishes that are personally meaningful – that draw on memory, ritual and a sense of place.
For Marcel Proust, a single bite of madeleine cake was enough to unlock thousands of pages of memories. So what histories exist on the plates of Australia’s most celebrated chefs? Does our place of birth or upbringing dictate our cooking style or our taste preferences?
What are the virtues of adopting other culinary cultures? How do we resolve the ethics of fusion cooking – and the politics of writing about cuisines not our own?
Join Larissa Dubecki, in conversation with George Calombaris, Rosa Mitchell and Elizabeth Chong, as they explore their own culinary heritage and Australia’s diverse food culture.
Larissa Dubecki is a writer and restaurant critic who began as a news reporter at the Age in 2000 before realising life would be cheaper and more rewarding if she was paid to eat in restaurants.
From 2009 to 2014 she was the Good Food Guide’s chief critic; currently she reviews restaurants for Time Out and contributes to Australian Gourmet Traveller and the Guardian, among others. A cultural refugee from Heidelberg, in Melbourne’s north-east, she completed a combined arts/law degree from the University of Melbourne, but still has no idea what the Torrens Land System involves.
George Calombaris was voted one of the 'Top 40 chefs of Influence in the World' in 2004 by The Global Food and Wine Magazine, and he continues to live up to this acclaim. He owns seven restaurants in Melbourne – The Press Club, Maha, Hellenic Republic, P M 24, Little Press & Cellar, St Katherine's and Mama Baba – as well as consulting for The Belvedere Club restaurant in Mykonos, Greece.
George is the co-author of Your Place or Mine? and Cook with Us, and author of Greek Cookery from the Hellenic Heart and The Press Club: Modern Greek Cookery. He is also a judge on MasterChef Australia and Junior MasterChef Australia.
Elizabeth Chong is a chef, teacher, author and presenter. Since she opened her first cooking school in 1961 she has introduced her family’s Chinese recipes to the Australian public.
Rosa was given free rein, winning hearts and stomachs alike, at Journal Canteen in Flinders Lane. After a 12 month hiatus, Rosa then found the perfect space for her next venture; at 22 Punch Lane, Rosa’s Kitchen was born. Two and a half years later, content with the success of Rosa’s Kitchen, Rosa embarked on a broader journey of Italian cuisine with the downtown Rosa’s Canteen opening in March of 2015.