Monday, January 26, 2015

Intercontinental Sydney Double Bay Stockroom

A noticeable trend is happening in Sydney. No longer are hotel restaurants mere afterthoughts and as places for guests to dine because they prefer the proximity of a hotel bar or restaurant to their beds. New fine quality establishments contained within a hotel are capable of standing on their own. These establishments have their own presence, people and character that can receive as much publicity as the hotel themselves and are very much open to the public, whether or not you are hotel guest. In the past few months, I’ve made more visits to Double Bay in Sydney’s lucrative eastern suburbs than I have over the past few years, a sure sign that a long overdue makeover to Double Bay is happening.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Creating Connections: Food Photography with Sydney Chefs

“Dario meet Kumar from Aki’s Restaurant.” “Kumar meet Dario from Milano Torino.” I spent the half day with Kumar and Dario in a private food photography session run by Chef, Owner and keen Food Photographer, Dario Milano at his restaurant, Milano Torino in Rosebery. Before today’s meeting Dario and Kumar had not met before and I was only too happy to introduce the two to each other.

Through my travels as a blogger, and food blogging being a key aspect of this, I have got to know many restauranteurs and chefs and was pleased I could assist someone else to leverage from my connections of people I’ve got to know from some of Sydney’s finest restaurants. These people, including myself, connect because of a passion for one thing … food. In this case, all three of us connected today because of a passion for food and photography … the process of ensuring what is cooked and prepared on a plate is captured beautifully in a photo, another form of art using a camera lens.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Penguins of Madagascar | Film Review

I went to see Penguins of Madagascar 3D at the IMAX today and you will leave the film with a smile. This animated film is the spinoff of the ‘Madagascar’ trilogy centred around four wisecracking penguins and delivers a fast paced humour to delight not only children but also adults…yes there were a group of adults in the cinema without children watching this film.

I took along two clever little girls who were See.Taste.Do’s mini guest bloggers for the day, ‘Jas and Juls’ to offer an 8 and 7 year olds’ perspective on the film.

Here is my interview with Jas and Juls after the film:

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Chuck Close: Print, Process and Collaboration Exhibition

The Chuck Close 'Print, Process and Collaboration' exhibition now showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia is incredible and a real treat for Sydneysiders. Chuck Close is an artist based in New York who is noted for his highly inventive techniques used to depict the human face, best known for his large scale photo based portrait paintings. I was at the exhibition on the weekend. 

What I'm looking at below is not a photograph but a painting. This one is called 'Bob (1970)', which you may have seen distinctly displayed in the front of the brochures and also a print hanging outside the MCA. This particular painting is from the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra. On the guided tour over the weekend I learnt the process of creating each painting is a rigorous process of creating and editing a series of abstract marks that coalesce into a coherent representational image. This process grew out of Close's engagement with the art of printmaking and it reinforces how he builds his images layer by layer. Highly recommend you see this well curated exhibition. Amazing! 

Bit about the Artist…

Chuck Close (b. 1940, Monroe, WA) is renowned for his highly inventive techniques of painting the human face, and is best known for his large-scale, photo-based portrait paintings. In 1988, Close was paralyzed following a rare spinal artery collapse; he continues to paint using a brush-holding device strapped to his wrist and forearm. His practice extends beyond painting to encompass printmaking, photography, and, most recently, tapestries based on Polaroids.

In 2000, Close was presented with the prestigious National Medal of Arts by President Clinton. Close is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, has served on the board of many arts organizations, and was recently appointed by President Obama to serve on The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

Bit about the Exhibition…

Chuck Close: Prints, Process and Collaboration encompasses the entire span of Close’s artistic output in printmaking, so key to this creative process, starting with the large-scale mezzotint print Keith (1972), Close’s first master print as a professional artist, and ending with recent, monumental watercolour digital prints, and spectacular jacquard tapestries. Consulting curator Glenn Barkley has worked with the exhibition curator Terry Sultan to include the painting Bob (1970) and a series of progressive proofs to Keith/Mezzotint (1972) also held in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia.

MCA Café: New York Pop Up Menu

To complement your trip when you see the Chuck Close exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia you should also try the New York Pop Up Menu at the MCA cafe for breakfast, brunch, or lunch before or after a 45 mins guided tour of the Chuck Close exhibition. This is the New York burger, American Cheese, Mole Verde and Fries...with a Hendricks Gin & Tonic in the background (ok maybe not for breakfast) The menu is inspired by the iconic food of New York City, where the artist Chuck Close is based. It's a truly great day out and I noticed from comments in one of my Instagram posts ( some of you have already seen it and thoroughly enjoyed it too. Here are some comments from my followers:

A amazing show very unexpected - @craigioscott

It's a fantastic exhibition. I really enjoyed it. - @rana26

I've seen his work in NYC. It's just unforgettable. The intensity...the humour...the genius...@mudnymphpottery

Well done MCA for putting on this brilliant exhibition. So different from the norm.

I also interviewed Keith Higginson, Executive Chef, Fresh Catering Venues who curated the New York Pop Up Menu at the MCA.

#1 How would you describe cuisine of New York?

New York is one of the two food capitals of the world (the other being London) the big apple’s one big melting pot of people and cuisines, which makes for a great place for new ideas and techniques. The back bone of the food industry in New York is the Mexican and other Latino workers in the kitchens, they’re cultural connection to food and hard working nature makes them invaluable to the industry.

#2 How did you come up with the dishes in the NY Pop Up menu for this event?

The menu pays playful homage to Close’s home base in New York, we undertook research into ‘on-trend’ food in New York’s casual dining space to develop MCA’s menu for Chuck Close and present our diners with an authentic taste of what’s happening now. We’re thrilled to be able to play a role in giving MCA patrons an even more immersive experience and a richer engagement with the art and artist. Having spent much time in New York, I took a few ideas from eating out in the local haunts, with friends that live there.

#3 What is your favourite dish and matching wine on the pop up menu?

I'm a bit partial to a Rueben and a glass of Rosso Fresco Merlot Syrah petit verdot

#4 What are popular vegetarian & gluten free options?

By far our biggest sellers are the salads, which are gluten free and a good healthy option, but Manhattan Mac and cheese has been very popular, as it’s good comfort food and probably brings back a few childhood memories for some.

#5 What’s your ideal food day from the start to the end?

In Sydney it would be breakfast at Lock Stock in Bondi, Lunch at The Governor’s Table in the city and dinner at Momofuku at Star.

Where: Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 140 George Street, The Rocks NSW
When: On now until 15 March 2015
New York Pop Up menu

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cocoon Floatation: Why you should float

When I first heard about ‘Cocoon Floatation’, images flashed before me of my childhood memories of the 1985 Oscar winning fantasy film ‘Cocoon’ directed by Ron Howard and starring the memorable Policy Academy’s Steven Guttenberg. For those of you not familiar with the plot, the story in ‘Cocoon’ is about residents of a retirement home in Florida who get a new lease of life when they stumble across an alien ‘fountain of youth’ in a disused holiday home. What they didn’t know was that aliens have been using the swimming pool, charged with a ‘life force’, in the house to store their cocoon brethren, giving the pool waters a more powerful and rejuvenating quality. My imagination of what Cocoon Floatation was all about wasn’t far off. In fact after trying it a few weeks ago, I felt like was reborn again…