Last drinks

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.

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Mirka retail display – Heide Store

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.

Heide is also holding carols there tomorrow night in the sculpture park outside with the Australian Girls Choir while the Banyule Carols by Candlelight (and Boulevard Lights) is on as well in Ivanhoe. Montsalvat in Eltham is holding its carols event on Sunday.  The Rose Street Christmas Night Market is on tonight, the Ivanhoe Makers Market is on tomorrow and the Kris Kringle Night Markets have also started at the Northcote Town Hall. Deck those halls…

Waiting to exhale

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.

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L-R: Dr Matt Ruby, Mo Wyse, Francis Leach, Dr Joanna McMillan & Richard Cornish

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.

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Mo Wyse and me – The Sofitel

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.

The Atomic Age

Australian furniture designer Grant Featherston produced some pretty remarkable pieces in the 1950s if you are lucky enough to have any originals at home.  Featherston by aficionado Geoff Isaac was published over a year ago after Isaac crowd funded on Kickstarter and I’ve also seen copies of the book for sale at Andrew’s Bookshop in Ivanhoe.

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Image via Kickstarter

Featherston’s wife Mary is actually giving a free talk at the Ivanhoe Uniting Church next Tuesday night at 8pm, brought to us by the Heidelberg Historical Society and if I didn’t have such a packed calendar this month, I would be going to this.

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Image via Booktopia

I’ve not been reading anything non-work related but had seen this book Enlightenment Now by Steve Pinker recommended by Readings and it’s on my list as well as social researcher Hugh McKay‘s new book, which I believe is going to be called The Good Society.

Enjoying a team lunch!
Image via Bold Thinking Series website

I’ve been busy this week promoting my next Bold Thinking Series lecture on veganism, which is highly topical at the moment and as someone who works more behind the scenes, I’ve got a lot of respect for public speakers and broadcast journalists.  While preparation is key, the ability to think on your feet and then eloquently make a meaningful statement that can be easily followed is another skill.  Speaking of which, I did want to share the Banyule Women in Business 2018 Highlights video link where you’ll see a snippet of me speaking but some other women who I think did a better job of preparing themselves and working out what they wanted to say.  Oh well Miss Rosanna, next time!

A most excellent lecture…

…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.

Enjoying a team lunch!
Image via Bold Thinking Series website

On the panel will be two of La Trobe’s academics, high profile food presenter Dr Joanna McMillan and psychologist and vegan Dr Matt Ruby.  Joining them will be Mo Wyse from inner north vegan bar and eatery Smith & Daughters as well as food writer Richard Cornish who has written a book called, My Year Without Meat.  Timely too in that the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival has just opened and on the flip side if you are a carnivore, I believe Sideshow Burgers in Rosanna will shortly be opening.

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Dr Joanna McMillan image via Bold Thinking Series website

Lots on this weekend including the award-winning Banyule Festival – Twilight Sounds live music concert tomorrow night at Sills Bend in the Warringal Parklands and the Kids Arty Farty Fest and Grand Parade on Sunday morning.  The Ivanhoe Makers Market at the Livingstone Centre is on tomorrow while the Wild About Melbourne pop up makers market is on Sunday at the Thornbury Bowl Club.  Bundoora Homestead Art Centre also has not one but two contemporary art exhibition openings for We and Accession on tomorrow afternoon.  I’ll be back next week with more including a new local profile, as it’s been a while!

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Mo Wyse image via Bold Thinking Series