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Food

Adam Liaw asks are we really what we eat?

In his new book, Destination flavour Adam Liaw examines the many cuisines of the world, so who better to ask, ‘what is  Australia’s food identity?’

The discussion on Australia’s food identity in this country might be the longest conversation we’ve ever had with the fewest words spoken. There’s no doubt we love our food, but we also find it difficult to put our finger on exactly what it is. 

Have you ever been asked by somebody abroad about Australian food, only to mumble something like “Oh, we eat all kinds of stuff…” and change the subject? How can we describe the taste of home?

The Pros

There are, of course, things we do very well. Our diversity of cuisine is the best in the world. We might assume the rest of the world eats as widely and as well as we do, but they don’t even come close. Our cuisine has drawn from all over for centuries, and we flit from one inspiration to the next with barely a thought. 

A chiko roll and a couple of dim sims might not seem the most exciting example of Australian food, but in the 1980s, for the descendants of Irish stew and siu mai respectively to sit together so comfortably and mainstream? It wouldn’t be possible in any other country.

Others may match us for British, American and European influence, but nowhere covers the breadth of Asian cuisines as well as we do, and that includes the countries of Asia. 

The overall quality of our produce is also truly impressive. There are many countries with greater biodiversity and where many ingredients surpass our quality, but as a complete package, if I could visit one good greengrocer, butcher and fishmonger in any country to make a meal, I’d do that right here at home.

For the full story and recipes from Adam, pickup a copy of the Sept/Oct 2018 Selector issue from all good newsagents, subscribe or look inside your next Wine Selectors delivery.

OUT NOW: Destination Flavour People and Places by Adam Liaw (Hardie Grant, RRP $50). 

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Alla Wolf-Tasker: Lakehouse Legend
Words by Mark Hughes on 3 Jul 2018
Along with her loving family, Alla Wolf-Tasker transformed a downtrodden country town into a thriving culinary community. Alla Wolf-Tasker’s Lake House story is the stuff of legend and has been told many times. And while the Lake House is recognised around the world as one of this country’s great restaurants, the impact Alla, and the venue, have had on creating a culinary community will be seen as perhaps her greatest legacy. It is a true pleasure speaking with Alla. She’s friendly and knowledgeable, eloquent and assured, and so very passionate about all things food. The reason for our chat is to discuss the release of her latest book, Three Decades On – Lake House and Daylesford. Like everything Alla does, it is beautifully presented with gorgeous lush photography, delicious recipes and engaging editorial that updates the Lake House story. At its heart is a strong sense of community.
Dream A Little Dream As a young chef, Alla travelled to France, spending her time working in some of its iconic provincial restaurants. When she returned, Alla dreamed of creating one of her own in Australia. She instinctively chose Daylesford, a small village about 90 minutes north-west of Melbourne. It was where she had spent time as a child, as her Russian-immigrant parents owned a small summer house there, a place where they grew their own produce. In 1979, Alla and her husband Allan, bought what she describes as a ‘blackberry-covered car-wreck-strewn paddock’ and set about building the country restaurant of her dreams. “I came back from France with stars in my eyes and with this notion that the restaurants that really resonated for me were regional restaurants because they had this growing sense of place around them,” recounts Alla. “They actually grew a community around them. A community of growers and suppliers and producers and also a community of doers, people that would fix things and were part of the business. Someone like the florist who supplies the flowers, the carpenter builds the chairs and tables – that sort of real community enterprise that I saw overseas. That’s what I fell in love with.”
For the full story and recipes from Alla, pickup a copy of Selector from all good newsagents,  subscribe  or look inside your next Wine Selectors delivery.  
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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