The most surprising thing about the Espy Kitchen isn't how busy it is, though it is the ever-thrumming engine room of a revivified landmark licensed for an epic 1700 souls. The astonishing thing is how good the food is.
I am a contributor to Good Weekend magazine's beloved Two of Us column, in which two people talk about their relationship. In this case, it was Melbourne painter Vincent Fantauzzo (left), 41, and Sydney chef Matt Moran, 49. They met in a bar, hit it off instantly and now have a long-distance friendship based on honesty, vulnerability and a shared love of fast cars.
There is always so much to learn when it comes to food, so I was grateful for the opportunity to dive into Korean food at a cooking class and lecture in Melbourne last week. The guest of honour was Buddhist monk Seonjae, who is also a chef and the President of the Korean Food Promotion Institute.
Collaborating with Curtis Stone on a cooking class and degustation dinner at his restaurant Gwen in LA was always going to be fun...but when we decided to theme our event around unique Australian ingredients, things got even more interesting!
When I travel, I always head straight for the produce markets. It's because I love seeing what's growing, what people are eating, and I also love the buzz and bustle of market life. Mexican markets are so incredibly energetic: noisy, busy, fragrant, intense!
Dainty bites, fresh flavours and dishes that don't mind being moved from kitchen to hamper to blanket, or being passed around on a tray at a stand-up gathering...That's what's on my mind with these picnic and party favourites. Rustle up some of these beauties at your Melbourne Cup Day party, spring luncheon or pool-deck gathering.
The best thing about eating out in Melbourne isn't finding things that taste great, it's connecting with cultures all around the world without leaving the city. And, if I can assume that you, gentle reader, are not one of the 70,000 Chinese students living among us, then you – like me – will find David's Hotpot an energising, spicy adventure.