Interview with 730 ABC

Now I’m not exactly a shrinking violet or a wall flower (as many of my friends will attest) but it was with a little trepidation recently, that I agreed to be interviewed for a story on food blogging to be screened ON TV. What to wear ? How do I do my hair ? How to stop from sounding like an idiot or offending someone ? It was a tricky prospect.

Of course I’ve always got plenty to say when it comes to food blogging and media, and the changing face of the industry in our fair little city of Perth, so It really didn’t take long to settle into the swing of things.

The piece was put together by Claire Nichols for the ABC’s WA edition of 730, and she did a great job. Along with myself she talked to Mei of Libertine Eats and Liz from Breakfast in Perth about their food blogging endeavours and experiences, and how they got into this crazy game. She also got some mainstream media opinion from Rob Broadfield who was actually rather friendly for once (I’m looking forward to reading his future blog).

He talked about the need for transparency in blogging and his dislike for anonymous bloggers who have nobody to hold them to account. I tend to agree with him on certain points. Good content comes from being informed and doing your research. Uninformed opinion is a slap in the face to restauranteurs and the industry and doesn’t do your reputation or your readers any good. Having said that though, the gist of his comments were towards things said on Urbanspoon, whose “reviews” at times, can be about as helpful as reading the comments on an Andrew Bolt article when it comes to informed and reasonable opinion.

I’d also take issue with his remarks that restauranteurs hate bloggers. I’ve always had rather positive experiences when I’ve chatted to restauranteurs and most of them have been very appreciative of the exposure they’ve had online. Smart owners and chefs should realise that bloggers can be very good for business when dealt with properly (which does not include banning photos or writing spiteful comments in response to unfavourable reviews). I’m also going to take a stab and say that in terms of popularity – the owners of places he’s panned in the past aren’t going to be sending him Christmas cards anytime soon.

In the end I think good content is good content. I’m just as happy to get my information from a blogger I trust, as I am a well known newspaper or magazine critic. If someone makes the effort to know their stuff, has a love of food and a way with words, that’s all I really need. That I write a blog is simply the medium I most often choose to get my words out there, and the one that suits me the best.

And what can I say, blogging has been very good to me. It’s given me the opportunity to write for professional publications, it’s led to my photography appearing in exhibitions and magazines, and it inadvertently led me to meet my wife, which are all what I’d call fairly significantly moments.

So here’s the interview, I hope you enjoy it, and keep your eye out for a quick glimpse of the wonderful Jerry Fraser who joined Marcela and I for a quick lunch at the excellent Five Bar in Mt Lawley (post on them coming soon).

The Ellington

A good start

The Ellington Jazz Club is arguably the best thing to happen to Perth since Daylight Savings reared its delightful head.

Those in the know will tell you that Perth is no slouch when it comes to the jazz scene. Perth has one of the most respected jazz programs in the country at WAAPA, which draws students from across Australia and indeed the world. We also have local artists like Troy Roberts, Jamie Oehlers, Ali Bodycoat, Russell Holmes, Daniel Susnjar, and of course Graham Wood, who rate up there as some of the best in their given fields.

It might then come as bit of a surprise that until recently Perth had not one club dedicated specifically to Jazz. Which is why there’s been such a ground swell of appreciation that Bernard Kong and Graham Wood have finally gotten The Ellington out of their heads and into reality. Not that it was easy mind you. The guys fought long and hard to be able to open the club, obtaining the first new liquor license in Northbridge in 8 years… incidentally which was finalised literally half an hour before the launch night.

Now I am certainly no jazz expert. In fact if it hadn’t been for my good friend Alex Millier inviting me along on a number of occasions I could very well have completely missed the point. Fortunately he persevered though, because it doesn’t take long before the intimate ensembles bring you in. The bass, the piano, the drums, the sax, the trumpet. All melding into pieces both abstract and harmonious. There’s something distant yet inviting about jazz, there’s a certain uniqueness about how each performer approaches a piece, which means there’s always something different to appreciate. And with a line up of fantastic local and international acts performing every night of the week, there’s a real sense of community happening around the club.

It also doesn’t hurt that The Ellington is a beautiful space. Low slung lighting, a big brass polished bar, separate lounge with a live feed from the stage upstairs (for those that like to talk during a performance), a solid wine list and some very generous serves of food. They’ve also created a very savvy website and online identity. Reaching fans and locals through facebook and twitter to great effect. Add that to the fact that it’s walking distance from my house and the door staff are lovely, and you can see why I love it so much :)

Potential for greatnessJamie Oehlers quartetJamie Oehlers : sax masterTiltLoneliness is an empty glassLukeBucket of joyAngelyneA good startLindaJazz WhispersThe ring leaderAlexGeorgiaA whole lotta bassAli Bodybag

If you live in Perth, and you haven’t been in to check it out yet, I’d highly recommend you do.

The Ellington Jazz Club
191 Beaufort St, Perth


Menu For Hope


Menu for Hope is an annual fundraising campaign hosted by well known food blogger Pim of Chez Pim and a revolving group of food bloggers around the world. Five years ago, the devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia inspired Pim to find a way to help, and the very first Menu for Hope was born. The campaign has since become a yearly affair, raising funds to support worthy causes worldwide. In 2007, Menu for Hope raised nearly $100K to help the UN World Food Programme feed the hungry.

I’ve always been a bit blasé about getting involved in causes. I like the idea of helping, but I’m generally happy for someone else to do it. Of course, that’s entirely the wrong attitude to have. For anything to get changed and make a difference, it takes the efforts of lots of people. So this year I’ve decided to get involved and offer a prize, and am pleased to announce Fiori Coffee have kindly donated a great prize, consisting of a barista training course and a gourmet coffee hamper !

Fiori Coffee

The prize pack includes a 2.5 hour professional barista training course for 1 person and a hamper consisting of 6 x 250 gram bags of fresh roasted coffee, 1 bag of chai, 1 bag of hot chocolate and a stovetop espresso maker (moka pot). All up valued at $250.

If you’re a coffee fanatic and that sounds like something you’d like to win (and you live in Perth, Western Australia), then please follow the instructions below in order to purchase some raffle tickets, which put you in the running to win.

My good mate Ed from Tomatom is coordinating the Asia Pacific entries, so please head over to his site to view the rest of the prizes on offer. And if you like mine, then remember to quote reference number AP14 when you buy your tickets.

Donation Instructions:

  1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope at
  2. Go to the donation site at and make a donation.
  3. Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. Please specify which prize you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form when confirming your donation. You must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code.
    For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02. Please write 2xEU01, 3xEU02
  4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.
  5. Please allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

A summer wedding

The cut

Another quick one, just to proudly announce the marriage of my brother Francis to his beautiful new bride Joelle. They were married this past weekend here in Perth. It was a wonderfully unique ceremony (they both work in media, so there was plenty of music and videos playing throughout), an excellent reception lunch (organised by Mum with the help of a small army of volunteers), and some eloquent, funny and emotional toasting (accompanied by a pleasant Australian sparkling sourced by yours truly).


The moment says it all really.

Touch ups

The only problem was that it was so hot (41 C in Perth that day, with little to no breeze), that the makeup artist (aka the lovely Sharon) had a hard time making sure the sweat from the grooms face didn’t wipe off all of her hard work…


Still, nothing that a refreshing minty mojito couldn’t fix.

It was a great day and night, and I wish them all the best for their new life together.

Soppy post over… be assured, this blog will return to it’s usual sarcastic self shortly.

Poker & Cigars

No food here, so run away now if that’s all you’re after… And if you’re reading this post through a feed reader like bloglines or google reader, or something obscure I don’t know about, then do yourself a favour and head on over to the site to witness the grainy beauty that is a bunch of guys smoking cigars and playing poker, in full lightbox hipness…

Incidentally, we started night off with a thai beef salad and a warm kipfler potato salad and a feisty Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon… so… you know… relax. This gourmet does not take a night off.

Mr Barista This is how you light it. DTM Some chumpThe Flop Smoke master

Somewhere around midnight, things got hazy Gav

Congratulations to dtm for the comeback of the century to kick all of our arses, and for bringing over some damn fine Mexican Maragogype coffee that along with the cigars, and wine, kept us upping and downing all night.

For the aficionados out there, the list of cigars we had was:

Me: Montechristo Petit Tubos (courtesy of Cin)
DTM: Montechristo No. 2
Mr Barista: Cuesta Rey robusto No. 5 maduro
Gav the cigar virgin: H.D.M Epicure No. 2
Smoke Master: H.D.M Epicure No. 2 and a Padron 1926 series No 2. maduro