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Food

Jamie Oliver - cooking up a revolution

Jamie Oliver admits he questions reality when he is centre stage at places like the World Health Assembly giving a speech on global nutrition or in the inner sanctum of British Parliament planning the obesity strategy with the Prime Minister.

“It’s absolutely nuts,” he tells me down the phoneline from the UK. “To make it even worse, everyone listens, but I still feel like the naked chef."

It is admirable, but why him? Why has Jamie felt the need to change the way we eat? Why has he became the flag bearer for the food revolution? Responsibility and right place, right time is only part of it.

Happily married, he and wife Jools have recently welcomed their fifth child, River, into their lives. “It is brilliant and amazing and we are very thankful,” he says of his newborn son. “Sunday, I looked around the table and everyone was around it and I just went, ‘Bloody hell, how did this happen?’ I know how it happened...but you know…”

And there’s the answer. Every parent knows, as does any responsible adult. For Jamie, it's about giving children the nutrition they need to be the best they can be. All this starts with education. Kids, adults, governments; everyone.

Life Changes to Eating

Australia and Britain are up there with the USA in adult obesity rates. How has this happened in just three short decades? “People always find a way to shortcut,” reasons Jamie. “And the minute they find a way to make time on a job, they fill it up with other stuff. Technology has really added to that. Everyone is juggling more things, more money and more responsibilities – life has just changed. “The reality of it is 56% of Aussies are overweight or obese and health problems are shooting through the roof because of it. And this is at the same time we have more knowledge and beautiful produce. But it comes down to two things: knowing how to cook and access to good food.”

Jamie’s plethora of cookbooks and cooking shows is helping solve the first issue. But he’s gone above that, setting up initiatives such as The Ministry of Food, a hands-on community cooking school, The Kitchen Garden Project to introduce growing food and cooking into schools, as well as being part of The Obesity Strategy, Sugar Smart UK, and the list goes on.

Look at What you Serve

The second part of the solution – access to good food – is getting people to look at the produce they eat. In short, it’s about more fruit, veg, nuts, seeds and beans. “I just spent two years going around the world to where people live the longest,” says Jamie. “These places are not rich, they are not scientists or nutritionists – they just happen to be good at cooking food that is delicious and really good for you. And it is pretty much vegetarian. They eat meat and fish, but really only twice a week. “Take Korea, for instance. I sat down at a table where there were 10 plates of noodles, heaps of veg – steamed, stir-fried, pickled, fermented – colour everywhere, and then a plate of meat. By default, that is super balanced, super healthy.”

The thing is, Jamie knows his stuff. Alongside over two decades of cooking, he has been studying nutrition for the past four years. A full diploma. As a consequence, each recipe in his most recent cookbooks has nutritional information such as calories, fats, protein and carbs, plus special sections offering healthy tips and ways to balance your meals. “Nutrition can be very technical, very scientific,” says Jamie. “So I have tried hard to build bridges between science and understanding it in the real world.”

Still the Same Guy

All of this seems far removed from the knockabout chef that burst onto our TV screens all those years ago.“I often think the Naked Chef did well in Aussie because, back in the day, my attitude was all about having a laugh and using food to make cool memories and I think that’s very Australian. To a certain degree, nothing has changed. I am inspired by the same things. The food that made me tick, still makes me tick.

“But I have always been driven by what people want and these days people ask, what is balance? What does ‘good food’ look like? So the point of books like Super Food Family Classics is to create something where every choice is a good choice.

“It isn’t about getting it right all the time. Personally, I try to eat to the principles of the book, Monday to Friday lunch. That’s how I do it. And then, guess what? Friday night, I don’t even think about it – the whisky is out, I am planning the weekend, I am getting amongst it. Everyone will find their own pattern, but that generally puts me in a good place.”

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Gourmet Destinations - Cantonese
Words by Jackie Macdonald on 4 Sep 2018
Chef Philip Chun talks through the traditions of cantonese cuisine and the challenge of shaping its identity in an australian context. When Hong Kong-born chef Philip Chun finally settled in Australia in 2010, it was the latest in a long list of countries where he’d plied his trade. Having started as a kitchen hand on Hong Kong Island in the early 1980s, he went on to work in Taiwan, China, the Philippines and Indonesia, rising to the position of executive chef along the way.  Today, he’s head chef and owner of North Sydney’s Greenwood Chinese Restaurant, where the focus is on Cantonese cuisine.  As he describes, “The backbone of Greenwood is the three main streams of Cantonese food, including barbeque, yum cha dim sum and Cantonese cuisine dinner.  “To date, Cantonese food has been very limited in Australia,” he adds, “and while we strive to maintain the traditions at Greenwood, we think outside the square to bring some new lights to Cantonese food.”   This creative thinking is also borne of a need to adapt to local ingredients.  When he arrived in Australia, Philip says, “Asian groceries were already available, therefore dry goods were not hugely impacted.  “However, live seafood and fresh vegetable options were limited and this is still the case today. To adapt, I worked on alternate methods of cooking to accompany the ingredients.”
Cantonese characters When it comes to tradition, Philip explains, Cantonese food has always been famous for being, “Light, flavourful and fresh. The focus is on bringing out the true flavour of the ingredients, while also looking after health and well-being.” For example, he says, “Soup normally contains some general health-benefitting herbal ingredients.” Another Cantonese essential is stir-fry, and the technique used can reveal the level of a chef’s experience. And there is a special exclamation used when stir-fry is mastered.  “It is very hard to explain in words, it is the experience,” Philip describes. “But when all ingredients are cooked perfectly, a special heat and aroma presents and we say, ‘wok hey!’”  For Australian diners, typical Cantonese favourites are sweet and sour pork, Mongolian lamb, spring rolls and fried rice, he says. But, Philip adds, “With more exposure, there is more knowledge of different cuisines and more willingness to try different types of food.”  Perfect motivation for Philip and his team to keep evolving our experience of Cantonese cuisine!    Speaking of experiencing Philip’s food, the Greenwood restaurant will reveal an exciting new renovation in September. Or if you can’t make it to North Sydney, Philip presents some of his favourite recipes here for you to recreate in your own kitchen. Who knows, you might even elicit your own cries of ‘wok hey!’
Philip talks food Pork, prawn and cabbage rolls with crab roe sauce   This dish has been developed using a traditional method and it requires more time and more skills. It contains a lighter flavour and has a finer touch, focusing on bringing out the true flavours of the ingredients.  Grilled whole squid brushed in sweet soy sauce on stir-fried glutinous rice Glutinous fried rice is a very traditional dish and nothing has been changed in this recipe, including flavour, ingredients and texture. The squid gives a more Australian touch, with the seafood and the grill plate coming into play.   Chilli plum fried chicken with mixed nuts This dish was created with the thinking that it would suit Australian tastebuds. The method originated from sweet and sour pork, then I added a personal touch with the light chilli.  Grilled beef tenderloin fillet dressed in bitter melon and black bean sauce The idea for this dish comes from typical Cantonese stir-fry beef with black bean sauce. However, I decided to add a personal touch, swapping beef strips for fillets, which means I can control how long the fillet is cooked. Bitter melon is one of my favourite melons and it goes extremely well with black bean sauce. 
Food
Sweet Creator: Anna Polyviou
Words by Jackie MacDonald on 8 Mar 2018
To be a successful pastry chef, it pays to follow the rules. Except if you’re Anna Polyviou. Then you take the rules, stick them in a blender and dye them pink. Vanilla is not a word you’d associate with Anna Polyviou. Far from ordinary, Sydney’s punk of pastry with her pink mohawk and facial piercings is a self-dubbed ‘sweet creator’ making a colourful impression.  In actual fact, vanilla is her favourite ingredient and while it might not be an in-your-face element, it’s fundamental to so many classic desserts. And that’s where it all begins when you become a pastry chef. You have to learn the classics to be able to build on them.  For Anna, the classics are those of her Greek heritage. One of her favourites is Loukoumades, Greek donuts, which, Anna describes, were a staple of her childhood church, where they were served fresh to the hungry congregation. “The old ladies would be pushing them through their hand and flipping them over and frying them and they were always perfectly round,” she recalls. “I used to go there just to eat, Mum would be like ‘Where is she? Why isn’t she in church?’ and I’m out there eating!”
While Anna always had a sweet tooth, the fact that she became a pastry chef was, she says, “a mistake.” She started out as an apprentice kitchen chef, but, she describes, “I was a bit of a wild child, all those nerdy chefs were sitting there really paying attention and I was out partying and having a great time.”  On the verge of losing her apprenticeship, Anna was thrown a lifeline by way of the chance to participate in a cooking competition with a team of four apprentices. Her role: pastry.  “I had no idea about pastry, so I went in every single day to learn,” she says.  When the big day arrived, though, her hard work went unrecognised.  “I lost that competition,” she recalls, “but I had given so much of my time and energy and I remember crying in the corner and saying to Mum, ‘I don’t understand, I did so well and my dessert was honestly better than everyone else’s.’ That’s how I saw it.”  But like most sensible mums, Anna’s saw the valuable lesson in the loss.  “She was like, ‘My daughter really needs to know how to lose before she learns to win.’” 
For the full story and recipes from Anna, pickup a copy of Selector  from all good newsagents, subscribe or look inside your next Wine Selectors delivery.
Food
The art of Italian
Words by Mark Hughes on 2 Jul 2015
When Lucio Galletto opened up a restaurant in the Sydney suburb of Paddington he didn’t truly envisage that it would become a cultural icon, as much an art gallery as an Italian trattoria. But due to the warm generosity of the restaurateur and clientele, this is exactly what has happened. Adorning the restaurant’s walls are works by some of the biggest names in Australian art such as Sidney Nolan, John Olsen and Garry Shead, to name but a few. The story of how this all came about and how it has helped develop his food is detailed in Lucio’s latest book, The Art of Traditional Italian. Childhood memories Lucio has always been surrounded by food, and by art. He grew up in a village on the Ligurian coast of Italy where his parents had a restaurant. He recalls the fun and convivial nature of his parents serving both friends and strangers. Almost as vividly, he recalls being mesmerised by the ornate and detailed sculptures, paintings and architecture of his poor, but culturally rich, local church. The combination has had a long and lasting affect on Lucio. So when it came to be that he opened the doors of Lucio’s in 1981 he was determined to extend the same welcoming nature that his parents had shown at their restaurant. By chance, Paddington was home to an artists’ studio, which many of Sydney’s up and coming painters and sculptures used as their creative centre, and for many of these, Lucio’s became their second home. The art evolves “Artists started to come in and some started giving me their work because they found out that I had a love of art, and so it happened,” recalls Lucio. “We didn’t plan this, we didn’t say ‘let’s make an art restaurant’, it just happened over years. “It all started with Sidney Nolan. He was involved with the movie Burke and Wills as an advisor. When they finished filming each day he would come in to eat. One time he drew a little artwork on a napkin and left it behind. I was really taken with it. You know, beautiful gold leaf – I put it up on the wall. “Well, that was the first piece of art on the wall. And when Sidney came back he looked up and saw his art and he was really taken with the fact I had given it so much love. After that he gave me some more drawings and the other art pieces. I think from that, the artists understood that I love art and artists, I look after their work. I am really honoured that they put their work up on the walls of my restaurant. It’s a great honour for me… and it all turned up by chance. “I have some great artists that come to the restaurant and they draw on napkins, plates, or in the oyster shells. They feel really at home and comfortable, and it makes me feel good that I have created this feeling, to be able to collaborate, because of the hospitality, the conviviality of my restaurant.” The Art of Traditional Italian by Lucio Galletto with photography by Ben Dearnley (Penguin) RRP $59.99
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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