Iâ€™m finally back in London after a crazy monthâ€™s travelling: first to Sydney for its International Food Festival, then to Singapore for a food and wine conference, then to Hong Kong and, at the end, Barcelona!
The Sydney food festival was a gathering of chefs and food-writers from all over Australia, Asia, and further afield, including Tetsuya Wakuda, Peter Gordon, David Thomson, Kylie Kwong, Neil Perry and Alvin Leung. The photograph on the left, taken at the opening night of the World Chef’s Showcase, was taken by Marco del Grande of the Sydney Morning Herald.
I was in Sydney to give a couple of presentations at the festival, one on my own (Sichuanese home cooking and a slide show of Chinese food images), and then one with the brilliant Chengdu chef Yu Bo, who you can read about in the â€˜rubber factorâ€™ chapter of my Sharkâ€™s Fin book. Yu Bo and his wife Dai Shuang wowed the audience, as I knew they would, with a display of their incredible Sichuanese delicacies. You can see a video of Dai Shuang making tiny hedgehog buns here â€“ each quill is cut with nail scissors, and each hedgehog has about 137 quills!
I was amused to find myself speaking almost as much Mandarin in Sydney as I did English â€“ partly with Yu Bo and Dai Shuang, and partly because the city seemed to be full of Chinese people, driving taxis, working in shops and hotels and restaurants. Of course the Chinese and broader Asian influence has a profound influence on the local food culture. Iâ€™ll be writing something about this, so do watch this spaceâ€¦