Dani Valent – Writer. Eater. Traveller. Cook.


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Hospo Resources for COVID-19

This page is to assist hospo businesses and workers with resources that might be useful as we all try to navigate a COVID-19 worldscape. Inclusion does not necessarily equal endorsement. If you are looking for something that’s not here, please ask.


Nicole from Mangan Yuk :)

Visa Holder Hustles

Everyone is doing it tough in hospo but temporary visa holders have a particularly hard road because they have no access to JobKeeper or JobSeeker, and many of them are restricted in the kind of work they can do. Basically, it sucks.
However, some of them (like Nicole from Mangan Yuk) have started micro-businesses to get them through to COVID-normal. If you can, support them!


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OS Workers Resources

This page is to assist overseas workers in Australia on working visas who have lost jobs or reduced hours due to COVID-19. I am a food writer who cares about your plight. I am not qualified to give you legal advice. Please use this page as a starting place. I can take no responsibility for your actions or the consequences that may arise from them. I wish you all the best and I want you to know that many people care about your situation!


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Uttapam, idli and dosa are south Indian breads and pancakes made with the same fermented batter, most commonly made with a mixture of rice and lentils. Dosa are thin crepes, idli are steamed savoury cakes and uttapam are thicker savoury hotcakes. In south Indian households, they are each made with multiple variations. I find them extremely fun to play around with but I have to admit that I don’t often serve them traditionally.

Cooks and Chefs Series

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If you’re a chef and you get cancer, you worry about dying, sure, but you also worry about your tastebuds. “My palate has changed completely,” @shannon_martinez tells me. “You would not want to eat the tomato sandwich I just made. I was sprinkling on salt like you’d put parmesan on pasta and I could still barely taste it. Everything is super bland.”

My interview with Shannon is up at @broadsheet_melb. Link in bio.

What can I say about this pic @kristofferpaulsen 🙌🖤

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One more day to order this duck and kimchi hotpot, part of a one-night-only collab with @thefermentary ❣️ delivering to your place this Saturday 😃 We've crafted three menus that showcase the use of fermented foods. This rich and rounded braise of twice-cooked @greatoceanducks is seasoned with kimchi and roasted chilli oil and also comes with pickled daikon, extra kimchi and mustard greens. There's a prawn salad with tangled herbs, shaved kale and a kimchi coconut dressing - have that as an entree or alongside. Check out this duck dinner and the other menus via link in bio.

This meal is part of my Cooks & Chef Series, bringing favourite cookbooks to life. Couldn't do it without @cookaborough @cookes_food @sharon__flynn 🙌🙌🙌 #greatduckproject

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When we heard today of Victoria's slow, tenuous, conditional path to reopening, my whole body closed in around a heart-plummeting "oh no".

It's a very tough road - and I'm thinking particularly of hospitality but there are so many other industries and professions that are devastated as well.

Resources - financial, mental, emotional, physical - are depleted. Energy is low. It's a grind. No matter how far we stretch out our hands, they still don't reach the light at the end of the tunnel.

It is there though. We will get to it, I still believe that, though my dumb optimism isn't to diminish anyone's battles or strife or despondence.

My "oh no" is also for the temporary visa holders. Everyone is doing it tough in hospo but visa workers have a particularly hard road because they have no access to JobKeeper or JobSeeker, and many of them are restricted in the kind of work they can do. Basically, it sucks.

Some of them (like Nicole from @manganyuk.au) have started micro-businesses to get them through to COVID-normal. I just made a listings page danivalent.com/news/visaholderhustles and via link in bio. If you can, support them!

Also - tell me who I should add. So far @vicwillits_7

#savehospo #visaholders

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Melbourne hospitality not opening until October 26, subject to fewer than 5 new cases a day for previous 14 days.

Then it will be 10 person *CORRECTION: group* limits (total number limits not yet announced), mostly outdoors.

Regional sooner, no date.

Indoor seated service from November 23, subject to no new cases for 14 days.

This is so tough but modelling shows that opening sooner will lead to 3rd wave :((

Premier Dan Andrews: "There's no point having venues open if we can't allow customers to move freely to go to those venues. We can't have people moving freely to go to a restaurant or pub. If we do that we don't do it for long until we have to shut down again."


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I spoke to six leaders in the Melbourne hospitality industry asking them to share thoughts on recovery - looking beyond clinging on to reopening and forward to surviving and thriving in a COVID-normal Victoria. There was a lot to say and a longer piece is coming but in the meantime it's great to keep the positive ideas and conversations going. LINK IN BIO.

In March, Shane Delia was a chef and restaurateur. Now he's a tech entrepreneur too, having launched premium delivery platform @providoor in June. 

"I started cooking to be a cook," he says. "I never thought I'd be running a web company. It's the furthest thing from cooking." 

Like many Melbourne restaurateurs, Delia is desperate to open when it's safe to do so. In the meantime, hospitality professionals are developing constructive ideas to ensure their businesses can rebuild and thrive in a COVID-safe Victoria.

"The 'woe is me' attitude does my head in," says Delia. "Don't wait for people to do things for you. Do it for yourself. Evolve your thinking."

Even with the best restaurant business plans, Delia says government support will still be vital for Victoria's hospitality industry to survive the pandemic. He's calling for tax changes, industrial reform and direct relief, including the extension of JobKeeper. 

Read full story via link in bio.

Feat. @shanedelia @bardistasio @distasiocitta @jason_chang_calia @caliacollective @hannahjosephinegreen @etta_melbourne @mrchrislucas @chinchin @australianvenueco @theaustralianvenueco_ceo

@goodfoodau @theageaustralia

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This is one of the meals we're delivering next Saturday 12th in our @thefermentary-to-you event.🐟🍞 It's a wildly fun and tasty house-smoked local flathead chowder which you pour into a bread 'bowl' using a @falcobakery cob loaf made especially for us. It goes with a frisky dill kraut. Alongside, there's a charred cos salad with anchovy crumbs and smoky jalapeno kraut. This menu also comes with @sailorsgravebrewing's Crystal Healing gose ale. It's all a little bit retro, 100% tasty and a lot fermento-fun. Order this menu and more via link in bio.

Our partners are @cookes_food @cookaborough and a trusty crew of legends. Pic @kateshanasy

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It's live! 💥 We are sending @thefermentary dinners to your place! LINK IN BIO

Following our launch event with the fabulous @juliaostro, our second dose of amazing is a collaboration with The Fermentary’s @sharon__flynn and Roger Fowler. We are also proud and excited to be working with @cookes_food and some of our favourite Victorian producers.

This menu is SO delicious and fun! It also teaches you about incorporating fermented goodness into your everyday life.

The Fermentary has done a great job of teaching Australia about the wonders, wherefores and how-tos of fermented foods, both through the products they sell around town and through Sharon’s game-changing #FermentforGood book. But even if you love kimchi and kraut and kefir, even if you make them yourself, you might not always be sure how to get those flavoursome beauties into your meals.

This Cooks and Chefs event does it for you! We’ve constructed three complete multi-element meals for you to choose from: there’s a Dosa Dinner, Duck and Kimchi Hotpot Banquet and Smoked Seafood Chowder in a Cob Loaf Feast. Buy one, two or all three. We also have fermented desserts.

We’re happy for you to think of this event in any or all of the following ways:

a yummy meal

a lesson in fermento code-cracking, showing you how fermented foods can be part of delicious meals

a showcase of great Victorian producers, makers and doers including @greatoceanducks, @falcobakery @sailorsgravebrewing, @pastrybypatersons and @burgershurgerelsternwick

a stage 4 sign-off - SEEYA!!!

a collective celebration of marvellous masked Melbourne and our bloody legendary status in getting through this 💪🤪❣️


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This was so good! Nasi campur ayam betutu by @jaenjumah.melb, a Balinese cookery student whose job in a city Indonesian restaurant was corona'd. Ida launched Jaen Jumah to keep himself afloat and share some food from home, cooking FAB renditions of dishes a lot of Aussies would be eating in Bali over the next little while, if only we were allowed to travel.

Ida told me, "My brand name is Jaen Jumah which means 'it is good to stay at home' in Balinese language. I want to encourage people even at this time, when people usually able to go to Bali to escape winter, I can bring Bali to them from my take of authentic Balinese dishes. Spread the positivity instead of negativity." 💓💓💓

I went to Bali last year and became obsessed with ayam betutu, a spiced chicken dish that is served in roadside warungs, humble cafes and resort restaurants - everyone has a different version so it was a very fun research project for me. Along the way I learnt the hard way what 'extra pedas' means (blow-your-head-off spicy 😂💥).

Ida makes the chicken and serves it with rice, crisp chicken crackling and chicken-and-spiced-coconut floss. You mix it all up and get transported to Bali.

Whether you're into supporting visa holders, yum food or both, it's wins all round.

By the way, I interviewed a Balinese cafe owner on my podcast last week - check it out via link in bio 🎙️🎧🌍

#savehospo #balinesefood #visaholders #melbournefood #melbournelockdown #clickforvic

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For the past three weeks, @dirtylinenpodcast has been travelling the world, finding out how chefs, restaurateurs and food people are going in these challenging times. This week we went to Mumbai to chat to @prateeksadhu from @masquerestaurant, Singapore to chat to @fat_fuku, Italy to interview @cereae from 3-star @davittorioristorante, Tokyo to talk to @isanasushi's @junichi72 and Bali to hear from @littletalksubud. Can't travel, can chat! 🎙️👂🌍🎧

Monday is episode 50 & it's a cracker!

Thanks @foodwinedine @deepintheweedspodcast @huckstergram

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Babka is having a moment. I chatted to babka microbakers for a story in today's @theageaustralia @goodfoodau. This sourdough babka is by @maaryasha, a community-supported baker who sells mostly to the Orthodox Jewish community. She's so great in that special underslept obsessive artisan baker way. I love her actually!! Sourdough bakers are the best kind of crazy.

Yesterday Maaryasha had 12 or so babka experiments on the go, including a version of her grandmother's cinnamon classic. She's there tasting, testing, squishing dough, creating lockdown joy...

Babka is a staple in the Jewish world but it's fair to say that a lot of them aren't that brilliant - kosher restrictions around mixing meat and dairy mean margarine has often been a feature, though milchig (butter) babkas aren't unknown.

Anyway, it's exciting to see Jewish staples made with the quality baking principles that are almost a standard now in the broader landscape of Melbourne baking. And that includes great vegan baking - Maaryasha makes a vegan babka that is very good.

Yay to babka bakers including @babka_boi @by_bupkis @spitzs.bakehouse and @maaryasha plus babka cheerleaders @gemimacody and @aliceinframes ❣️More babka love is always good.

Gorgeous pic @dsimages

Story via link in bio.

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This miso-rubbed beef rib noodle bowl recipe is from The Ethical Omnivore by @featherandboneprovidore's Laura Dalrymple and Grant Hilliard. Their beautiful, radical and inspiring new book proposes a better way of thinking about meat - basically from the soil up. The recipes in the book are from the community that has sprung up around their Sydney whole-animal butchery - this one's from Ben and Reagan Wareing. I can’t recommend the book more highly and the recipe is easy, fun, flexible and super tasty. What doesn't miso make better, hey? They've kindly allowed me to share the recipe on my site too - it's up today 😋 ...

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© Dani Valent 2020