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Jess Ho: Raised by Wolves

‘Who are you feeding? Who is your audience? Is it the one percent of the one percent and that is what’s so beautiful and amazing and artistic or do you want to feed a community?’ – Jess Ho

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Jess Ho is one of the most influential voices in Australia’s bar and restaurant scene, well known for their searingly honest opinions on the hospitality industry.

Growing up confronting racism in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, Ho’s family’s traditional Cantonese cooking was both a comfort and a source of shame. As the Australian restaurant scene boomed, they embarked on a career in food writing at a time when the once ‘embarrassing’ foods of immigrant childhoods were quickly becoming commodified trends.

In their new memoir, Raised by Wolves, Ho weaves a coming-of-age story into an exploration of the industry they love, revealing the truths – both ugly and inspiring – behind Australia’s fine-dining obsession.

For this episode, Jess Ho spoke with host Clem Bastow about the role of food in their upbringing and offer a peek behind the kitchen door with their fierce, funny and razor-sharp lens.

This podcast was recorded on Thursday 28 July 2022 as part of Melbourne City Reads, a series generously supported by George and Rosa Morstyn.

Featured music is ‘Believe Me When I Say It’ by Matt Large.

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.