Xanadu

People of a certain age will remember the film Xanadu, or at least the soundtrack, featuring Australian singer Olivia Newton-John and if you are a fan of old school roller skating you might be interested in the Collingwood Underground Roller Disco being held this Saturday from 3 – 10pm at 44 Harmsworth Street in Collingwood.  If you are hanging around for the Australia Day long weekend, this child-friendly event (kids under 14 are free but all children must be supervised by adults) sounds like a lot of fun.

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Shane Delia image via SBS

When I worked with chef Shane Delia last year he mentioned an SBS documentary he was filming at the time, which has actually been screening on Thursday nights called Shane Delia’s Recipe for Life.  I’m yet to watch it but it’s now on my list as well as having dinner at some stage at his restaurant Maha.  I’m in the middle of cobbling together another Bold Thinking Series lecture on Food later this year but this one will have a different flavour (pun intended!).

I hope you are staying cool this Summer – for me the year doesn’t really begin until after this upcoming Australia Day long weekend when everyone is back at work and reality, and routine, set in.  Interesting too the ongoing debate about Australia Day and the date on which it’s celebrated.  I had coffee last week with Darebin Councillor Susanne Newton where we discussed the topic at a bit more length but it’s definitely a larger conversation that’s happening around the place.

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Cooking up a storm

My Food, Mood & Diet – Myth versus Science lecture with chef Shane Delia and charismatic ABC National broadcaster Dr Norman Swan was held last night to a packed audience at the State Library Theatrette, including a number of my La Trobe colleagues who had to stand at the back. There’s a certain level of skill involved in making sure everyone’s properly briefed, prepared and comfortable with the format for the evening but it’s always an interesting exercise seeing how the panel (who are often meeting each other for the first time) come together and do their thing on stage.  Our MC Francis Leach always makes it look easy but I sometimes think he’s got the toughest job of all trying to guide the conversation and give all the speakers a turn to shine on stage.

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L-R: Shane Delia, Catherine Itsiopoulos, Antigone Kouris, Francis Leach, Antigone Kouris & Norman Swan

 

 

It was a very entertaining conversation last night with Scottish-born Norman Swan saying a few naughty words and cheeky comments.  Shane Delia was also a very natural panelist sharing his perspectives and food journey as a chef, including mentioning that he suffers from ADHD which is something he shares in common with fellow chef Heston Blumenthal.  We are all human at the end of the day but it’s very courageous to be so open in a public forum and it was lovely to hear him speak about his passion for food, inherited from cooking rituals he enjoyed as a young boy with his grandparents, which led him down the food path.  He is also a very busy man who works 14 hour days – he had two other gigs to go to after our lecture finished last night and Dr Swan had also jetted in that afternoon and was flying out again this morning.https3a2f2fcdn-evbuc-com2fimages2f321479182f1087472139252f12foriginal

It was also fascinating for me to listen to La Trobe’s two health sciences academics Catherine Itsiopoulos and Antigone Kouris explain why the Mediterranean Diet in particular is so good for you health-wise (including evidence-based data to support longevity and anti-ageing).  I will be doing a lot more slow cooking, braising and casseroles after finding out it’s a much healthier process than caramelising, barbecuing and roasting as well as eating more plant-based foods especially leafy greens, nuts, legumes and olives and extra virgin olive oil.the-mediterranean-diet-cookbook

The lecture touched on the fact that more educated and affluent people have the knowledge and access to healthier food including fresh fruit and vegetables and I will be interested to watch Shane Delia’s upcoming SBS documentary on better access for children at poorer schools in Melbourne’s growth corridors – he was horrified to drive past at least 14 McDonalds outlets on the way from his home to Tarneit in Melbourne’s outer west while filming the series.  I get just as cross about gambling outlets and sports betting targeting the less educated and more vulnerable people in our society but don’t get me started…

Have a wonderful weekend and I am looking forward to the last month of Winter, which starts next week.

Mind over madness

Yoga in Times Square, New York to celebrate the summer solstice and International Yoga Day is something I’ve not yet made it to, but it’s on my bucket list. Every year at this time, I start dreaming of holidays in sunnier places and this one fits the bill.  If you’re a yogi, you may be interested in some of the winter workshops being held at Clifton Hill Yoga School.

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Image via Yoga Flava Facebook page

I’ve been busy organising my next Bold Thinking Series lecture on Thursday 27 July at the State Library and wanted to give you advance notice if you’d like to book tickets to Food, Mood & Diet – Myth versus Science where my two La Trobe health sciences academics Catherine Itsiopoulos and Antigone Kouris will be joined by Maha Restaurant Owner and Chef Shane Delia and Dr Norman Swan, host of ABC Radio National’s The Health Report.  Tickets can be purchased here and we’ll start officially promoting via Facebook next week.

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I’m a big fan of Shane Delia’s Spice Journey program on SBS so looking forward to working with him on this lecture and his middle Eastern Maha Restaurant in the city, where a couple of my best friends have dined, has been on my radar for a while as much as some of my male work colleagues are fans of his kebabs at the more lo-fi Biggie Smalls in Collingwood.  I also think his related cookbook below would have some great recipes if you’re wanting to experiment over the winter.

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Image via Murdoch Books

I was reflecting the other day with Mr Rosanna that it’s been an interesting professional journey for me working mainly with men at La Trobe.  Public Relations tends to be female-dominated as well as many of the industries I’ve worked in such as fashion, beauty, retail and the visual arts.  It’s been refreshing to work with guys this time around from my two bosses, to my colleagues who help coordinate the advertising, event management and livestream filming.  Have a great weekend and enjoy the sunshine today.