Christmas celebrations are the order of the day and I had a rollicking dinner at Smith and Daughters on Tuesday night catching up with the fabulous Mo Wyse in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy where she treated us to a couple of special things including their vegan take on an arancini ball as well as a bombe Alaska dessert. It was great to see her again after the sell out Bold Thinking Series veganism lecture held in April.
I’ve also had the pleasure of twice visiting Heide Museum of Modern Art in Bulleen this week. Cafe Heide replaced Cafe Vue a while ago – the food there is still very good, and the service much better. There was one occasion I waited an hour for my lunch which was the last time I visited the cafe in its previous incarnation. Despite being fully booked inside, the meals for the dozen or so in my team came out quickly this week and I am thankful that I was able to get a booking so close to Christmas for that amount of people.
I was there again today and despite the rain, it was bustling with people in the cafe, people there to take in the Mirka Mora show and people like me buying gifts in the Heide Store (pictured above) I hadn’t been there for a while but did not come out empty-handed! It was great to get some small things for family that have more of an artistic bent.
Perhaps I will next week and by then it will be a third of the year done and dusted! It’s flying by for me and I’m sure if you’re local, you’re looking forward to the roads being less fraught and construction completed although I daresay this will continue to be a work in progress given the slow rate at which infrastructure is going up around the place.
I had my sold out veganism lecture at The Sofitel on Wednesday night for over 300 people – while the format is generally the same – it’s a different experience every time we move to a new venue and this one wasn’t without its hiccups with last minute access to wifi, trialling of Facebook Live with limited success and the just in time arrival of panelist Dr Joanna McMillan who got there 5 minutes before we had to start. Sometimes you need nerves of steel working in events and as much as I have a crack team working for me, there are always surprises.
It was indeed a bold conversation with some left wing animal rights protestors in the audience who called out during the lecture about the fact that bobby calves are taken away from their mothers as part of the milking process. While the discussion was more about diet and identity, it was hard not to be drawn into the ethics of eating meat. Both Joanna McMillan and Richard Cornish grew up on farms as children so had different perspectives about being carnivores (or omnivores). Practising vegans Dr Matthew Ruby and Mo Wyse also brought interesting elements to the table (excuse the pun) with Mo talking about food at her Fitzroy restaurant, Smith & Daughters, being all about the taste in terms of persuading people to eat more plants rather than appealing to their sense of ethics. Mo also brought some street credibility to the whole night as a customer facing business owner, who was also a lot of fun!
For me the biggest take out of the night was that only 7% of Australians eat enough plant food and irrespective of whether you eat meat or not, we all need to be eating more fruit, vegetables and grains as evidenced by those who live in blue zones like Greece or Japan where locals are some of the longest living people in the world. I think for those who choose to eat meat and seafood, it’s also incumbent upon us to know how our meat has been farmed, how it’s treated and where it comes from. And rather than setting up division between vegans and non-vegans, it’s better to find the middle ground given global concerns about unsustainable population growth and feeding the planet.
The Ivanhoe Makers Market at the Livingstone Centre in Ivanhoe is on tomorrow as well as Markit and Bake on Sunday at Fed Square in the city. Anzac Day is also upon us next week and locally, you may be interested in attending the Homefront public art launch and unveiling of four new sculptures at the Greensborough War Memorial Park on Sunday.
…and indeed it will be. Details for my food lecture – Diet and Identity: the rise of Veganism – are now online if you’re interested in booking a ticket to this event on Wednesday 18 April at the Sofitel. I have a number of friends and family who are vegan, and while I’ve always considered it at the more extreme end of the diet spectrum, as someone who tries to eat more vegetarian food these days, I can definitely understand why people choose vegan for ethical reasons.