Wednesday, 19 September 2012

'The Changing Menu' panel and visiting 'Gusto! A Culinary History of Victoria'

Hihou. *swoon*

A quick bit of self-promotion: next Thursday I'm speaking on a panel that Hilary McNevin has convened and will be chairing, entitled The Changing Menu, discussing Victoria's diverse dining scene. The other panellists will be The Age senior food writer Richard Cornish and restaurateurs Simon Denton (Izakaya Den, Nama Nama and my new favourite bar in Melbourne, Hihou) and Dan Wilson (Huxtable, Huxtaburger - and Huxtaburger II opening soon in the CBD!).

The Changing Menu panel is on Thursday 27 September, 6:00-7:15pm at the State Library of Victoria (see SLV page for full details). The panel is FREE, but booking is strongly advised, as seats are filling fast.

Alain Chapel, Jacques Reymond, Mietta O'Donnell (Rennie Ellis, gelatin silver photograph, 1987)

The panel has been organised as a side event by the State Library of Victoria in honour of their exhibition Gusto! A Culinary History of Victoria. Exhibition blurb:
Savour the rich culinary history of Victoria in this free exhibition, featuring gastronomic treasures from our collections – from the first Australian cookbook, published in 1864, to an actual World War I army biscuit.
Gusto! explores Victoria's historic and contemporary culinary landscape, covering subjects such as the history of viticulture, Indigenous foods, sustainable food practices, fine dining and food rationing, and also features the fascinating stories of significant Victorian culinary figures including Jacques Reymond, Rita Erlich, Guy Grossi and Stephanie Alexander.

I went on a tour of the exhibition last week with curator Tracey Judd Iva and Melbourne food legend Rita Erlich, and absolutely loved it (yes it includes an actual army biscuit from 1914!). I particularly loved seeing the 70s and 80s menus of Melbourne fine dining restaurants, donated from Rita Erlich's own collection - the version of the Florentino menu without prices (ie, the menu "for ladies") was a particular eye-opener. I also loved that the exhibition includes both the Peter Wegner portrait of Jacques Reymond (a finalist in the 2004 Archibald Prize) and the knife bag that belonged to Jacques' grandfather and which features prominently in the portrait.

The exhibition is also FREE and on until April 2013, so go see it!

Booze: the shadow over our land (Melbourne, Victorian Prohibition League, c 1930)

Inspired by the exhibition, I went to the Hill of Content and bought a copy of Rita's new book Melbourne by Menu: A memoir of Melbourne's restaurant revolution through the 1980s, which I am currently working my way through. Loving it so far.

Victoria Market, Melbourne (Ruth Maddison, gelatin silver photograph, 1984)

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