I am trying to remember the first time I knew that food was special. It has always been something that I have enjoyed, there is no doubt about that: chocolate milkshakes after dance class on Lygon Street with toasted ham sandwiches on the side were always a pleasure I looked forward to. Fish and chips by the beach with seagulls and greasy fingers also stand out as an early childhood memory. And of course nightly dinners around the table are a familiar family event. Yet when was it that for the first time I saw how this thing that we consume every day, this thing that without it we couldn’t physically survive, could change people, transform them, affect them? I think, perhaps, that it has always been that way. My history of jobs have also brought me into close contact with the culinary world – waitressing, bar-tending, catering - there has been a direct link between my everyday living and food. And it has also been through these jobs that friends have arisen and common ground is formed. So my automatic linkage of food and people has naturally grown as I have. In fact, I would almost state, that one is no good without the other.
Both my parents can cook. They are both good cooks too. So it is no wonder that food when growing up was a pleasure and not a pain. No doubt I was fussy like any other young palate developing, tantruming if there was parsley on my spaghetti Bolognese and screaming that they remove it immediately, making life for the chefs and the waitress serving us that bit more difficult. But I was lucky to be exposed to all sorts of flavours as a kid and so was able to appreciate the spice of a curry or the tenderness of a steak. All sub-consciously of course. But it isn’t just taste appreciation that my love of food comes from. It is the events that surround the act of eating, the variation, the fact that in all situations food seems to find a place, that causes me to admire and want to discover it.
And so it is with this admiration and also playfulness of food that I venture to start a fortnightly celebration of food’s place in this world, and to bring people together alongside it. We all know it can be difficult to catch up with people as often as desired, despite our best intentions. So I offer an environment where one can come, relax, dabble in a tasty meal, and enjoy the company that they are in. All that matters is the open table and it’s guests. There are no obligations. The only thing I ask is that you come hungry. I will try to make each dish unique week by week, and aim to prepare most items by hand, or home-made I should say (one cannot deny that sometimes a packet ingredient just does have its place...).
So come along whenever you like. And give a learning cook some tips. I won’t be offended, I promise!