7 episodes

The Culinary Archive Podcast is a series from the Powerhouse with food journalist Lee Tran Lam exploring Australia’s foodways: from First Nations food knowledge to new interpretations of museum collection objects, scientific innovation, migration, and the diversity of Australian food.

Contributing editor Lee Tran Lam is a freelance journalist who has worked with The Sydney Morning Herald, Gourmet Traveller, The Guardian, SBS Food, FBi, ABC, Australian Financial Review, Rolling Stone and Turkish Vogue. She hosts The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry podcast— which has been recommended by Bon Appétit, Broadsheet, Concrete Playground and chosen to be archived by the National Library; co-founded Diversity In Food Media Australia; and has edited the "New Voices On Food" book, showcasing emerging creators from under-represented communities and their food stories. She was named a Future Shaper by Time Out Sydney. 

CULINARY ARCHIVE PODCAST Powerhouse

    • Arts
    • 4.7 • 14 Ratings

The Culinary Archive Podcast is a series from the Powerhouse with food journalist Lee Tran Lam exploring Australia’s foodways: from First Nations food knowledge to new interpretations of museum collection objects, scientific innovation, migration, and the diversity of Australian food.

Contributing editor Lee Tran Lam is a freelance journalist who has worked with The Sydney Morning Herald, Gourmet Traveller, The Guardian, SBS Food, FBi, ABC, Australian Financial Review, Rolling Stone and Turkish Vogue. She hosts The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry podcast— which has been recommended by Bon Appétit, Broadsheet, Concrete Playground and chosen to be archived by the National Library; co-founded Diversity In Food Media Australia; and has edited the "New Voices On Food" book, showcasing emerging creators from under-represented communities and their food stories. She was named a Future Shaper by Time Out Sydney. 

    SOYBEANS

    SOYBEANS

    In 1770, naturalists Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander reportedly saw wild soybeans in Botany Bay. The following century, the Japanese government sent soybeans to Australia as a gift. Thanks to Chinese miners in the 1800s, tofu was most probably part of gold rush diets, but it wasn’t until just a few decades ago – with the growing vegetarian movement, waves of migration and people asking for soy in their coffee – that the soybean became part of everyday lives. Cult tofu shops, local brewers making soy sauce, artisan tempeh makers and the blockbuster growth of meat substitutes reflect the changing fortunes of the soybean; a versatile ingredient that has also been used in plastics and cars. 

    This episode features Darwin Su, chef and founder of Ferments Lab; Shannon Martinez, chef and owner of Smith & Daughters and Smith & Deli; Sava Goto, chef and owner of Tofu Shoten; and Topher Boehm, brewer and co-founder at Wildflower Beer. 

    Image by Alana Dimou.

    • 34 min
    TOMATOES

    TOMATOES

    The tomato was dismissed as poison for 200 years in Italy, though it’s now celebrated as a staple of its cuisine. Italian migration to Australia helped make the tomato a mainstream ingredient here. Learn about the people who grow it, preserve it or cook it — whether it’s Italian Australians bottling passata in their ‘second kitchen’ (garage) in Sydney, the Cambodian refugee family growing heirloom tomatoes on a former zoo, or the Indigenous café owner serving bush tomatoes on her menu.

    This episode features Sharon Winsor, Ngemba Weilwan woman and founder of Indigiearth and Warakirri Dining; Dr Cecilia Leong-Salobir, food historian and author; Joseph Vargetto, chef and owner of Mister Bianco; and Leakkhena Ma, farmer at Goldenfield. The Looking for Alibrandi footage was generously provided by Robyn Kershaw Productions.

    Image by Alana Dimou.

    • 31 min
    COFFEE

    COFFEE

    Australia is famous for its coffee culture, but it didn’t begin with Italian post-war migration. There was the rise of coffee palaces during the 19th century temperance movement and the influential Depression-era coffee shops run by Russian migrant Ivan Repin (who offered fresh-roasted beans when stale, day-old coffee was standard). The impact of Italian-Australian migration on our espresso obsession can’t be denied though: it's paved the way for an inclusive coffee culture that includes Ethiopian coffee ceremonies and Indigenous business owners presenting native ingredients and reconciliation in a cup. 

    This episode features Paul van Reyk, author of True to the Land: A History of Food in Australia; Tinsae Elsdon, owner of Djebena Coffees; Nick Repin, grandson of Ivan Repin; Peter Patisteas and Shawn Andrews, co-owners of DHUWA Coffee; Sharon Winsor, Ngemba Weilwan woman and founder of Indigiearth and Warakirri Dining; and Leonard Janiszewski, co-author of In Their Own Image: Greek Australians.  

    Image by Alana Dimou. 

    • 30 min
    BEER + VEGEMITE

    BEER + VEGEMITE

    Australian colonial history begins with beer: the Endeavour left England with 250 barrels on board. The drink reflects the changing fortunes of women, from Australia’s first female licensee to the 1960s feminist fight to allow women into public bars. Beer has always bubbled over into politics, with Reschs’ owner, Edmund Resch, thrown into a local internment camp when WWI broke — punished for his German roots, despite living here since age 16. Politicians love to be associated with beer: Prime Minister Bob Hawke set an ale-drinking world record in 1954 and has a craft beer named after him. Beer has given us a national icon – Vegemite. Now, brewers like Wildflower in Sydney are doing fascinating experiments with beer using native grains, wild yeasts and local flowers — showing how far the drink has evolved since its initial arrival into Sydney. 

    This episode features Professor Clare Wright OAM, historian, author, broadcaster and public commentator; Alice Resch Le Cras, great-granddaughter of Edmund Resch and host of the Edmund Resch Series podcast; Karli Small, Head Brewer at The Grifter Brewing Co.; Topher Boehm, brewer and co-founder at Wildflower Beer; Claudia Moodoonuthi, Kaiadilt woman and artist; and Paul van Reyk, author of True to the Land: A History of Food in Australia. 

    Image by Alana Dimou. 

    • 39 min
    GRAINS

    GRAINS

    Long before local authorities tried to ban sliced bread, Australia was home to the world’s first bakers. Grindstones, some 65,000 years old, suggest Indigenous communities have been baking for millennia and there’s an amazing effort to bring back this cultural knowledge and revive Indigenous grains. While Australia has had a fraught relationship with locally grown wheat, there’s a growing movement to embrace Australian heritage grains, backed by open-minded chefs who want to knead such enduring flour into ultra-local pasta, pizza and bread. 

    This episode features Jacob Birch, Gamilaraay mari and researcher; Aunty Bernadette Duncan, Kamilaroy woman and coordinator of the Garragal Women's Language and Culture Network; Dr Angela Pattison, lead researcher on Indigenous Grasslands for Grains; Kerrie Saunders, Gomeroi woman and technician on Indigenous Grasslands for Grains; Paul Farag, executive chef of Nour and AALIA; Luke Finlay, Operations Manager of  Wholegrain Milling Co; and Paul van Reyk, author of True to the Land: A History of Food in Australia. 

    Image by Alana Dimou.

    • 39 min
    OYSTERS

    OYSTERS

    The history of Australia can be told in an oyster shell. For thousands of years, First Nations communities feasted on these mollusks and collected them in middens – a millennia old example of sustainability. Sydney was literally constructed from oysters. Our roads were paved with them because the shellfish was so abundant, and the crushed-up shells were used in buildings. Oysters also tell a story about migration (thanks to oyster saloons run by Greek migrants) and our ecological future with oysters being used to repair reef damage and revive coastline. 

    Featuring Chris Jordan, Indigenous chef and owner of Three Little Birds; Leonard Janiszewski and Effy Alexakis, co-authors of In Their Own Image: Greek Australians; Jody Orcher, Ualarai Barkandji woman and bush foods educator; Alex Goad, industrial designer and founder of Reef Design Lab; and Dr Chris Gilles, marine biologist and at the time of recording, program director of The Nature Conservancy (Chris is currently the managing director of SeaGen Aquaculture). 

    Join us on September 29th for the launch of the podcast at the Powerhouse Late. Image by Alana Dimou.

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
14 Ratings

14 Ratings

colindigs ,

So enlightening and so engaging!

wow such a knowledgeable and thoughtful and just interesting look at history through the lens of food. Absolutely incredible research and so much craft and skill in this. Big ups Lee Tran Lam and the team for this! It bears repeating - its so interesting and brings so many angles to it... and often untold or overlooked ones too!

Lilly85Pilly ,

Obsessed!

I read about this podcast in the Gourmet Traveller mag and I’m so happy to have given it a listen! The historical journey you are taken on in each episode is educational, enjoyable and would appeal to any age group. Thank you for making this !

Journalist Hamish ,

Culinary Review

Very well researched. Skillfully written. It brings history ALIVE in a simple yet powerful and timeless way. Much like the subject being described. I love it.

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