I don’t like to make a big deal about it but I am periodically called up to serve my country. And by ‘serve my country’ I mean sit in my suburban, air-conditioned office and get paid good coin to churn out copy on Aussie success stories for Austrade’s Australia Unlimited (www.australiaunlimited.com). In the lead up to the nationalistic frenzy that is Australia Day, the good people at Austrade asked me to write profiles of Curtis Stone and David Blackmore.
I interviewed Curtis (well, read some answers he’d provided to emailed questions at least) and churned out this (http://www.australiaunlimited.com/food/surfing-wave-success) about the business school drop-out who learnt his trade a the feet of Marco Pierre White then won over Oprah, Ellen and even Donald Trump with his surfer boy good looks and Antipodean charm.
Interesting as writing about Australian cuisine’s contribution to the ranks of celebrity chefs was, I must say interviewing David Blackmore (who I did actually get to have a long conversation with) about his part in transforming wagyu from an obscure Japanese delicacy to something found on Subway sandwiches was truly fascinating. Funnily enough, neither Blackmore nor I eat wagyu; I gave up consuming animals before the marbled meat craze hit and he’s got a medical condition that makes it hard for his body to process iron-rich foods. Nonetheless, the story of how a maverick Japanese cattle farmer defied the wishes of his peers and made genetic material available to the world in the late 1980s and how a fifth-generation Victorian cattle farmer then developed a form a wagyu that’s got the thumbs up from Heston Blumenthal and Thomas Keller (as well as the Japanese themselves) is well worth a read (http://www.australiaunlimited.com/food/australias-wagyu-shogun) even if I do say so myself.