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Intelligence Squared Debates

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at Melbourne Town Hall

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?

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:

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

Tweet at this event: #iq2oz

Intelligence Squared Debates

The Wheeler Centre and St James Ethics Centre combine again in 2013 to bring you a brand new series of Intelligence Squared debates. Established in 2002, IQ2 has spread across the globe, bringing the traditional form of Cambridge and Oxford Unions-style debating – with two sides proposing and opposing a sharply formed motion – to Melbourne Town Hall.


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 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 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 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.

Portrait of Simon Longstaff

Simon Longstaff

Dr Simon Longstaff is Executive Director of St James Ethics Centre and chairs the Intelligence Squared debates in Sydney and Melbourne.

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 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.

Intelligence Squared Debates

The Intelligence Squared debates rage on in 2014 with a whole new range of topics as compelling as they are polarising. In these highly participatory debates, once both sides have had their say, the decision as to who emerges victor lies entirely in your hands.


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