113 episodes

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry: Lee Tran Lam quizzes chefs, critics, bar staff and other people from the food world about their dining habits, war stories and favourite places to eat and drink in Sydney.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry Lee Tran Lam

    • Food
    • 4.3, 6 Ratings

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry: Lee Tran Lam quizzes chefs, critics, bar staff and other people from the food world about their dining habits, war stories and favourite places to eat and drink in Sydney.

    Natalie Paull – Beatrix and "Beatrix Bakes"

    Natalie Paull – Beatrix and "Beatrix Bakes"

    Natalie Paull once pointed a brûlée torch flame in the wrong direction – and accidentally set a whole docket rail of dessert orders on fire. She's endured brownie explosions and baking disasters, too. But people rightly associate Natalie with oven-baked triumphs – like the brilliant sweets from her popular Beatrix bakery in Melbourne. Think passionfruit cloud chiffon cakes, Tart-A-Misu, Moroccan Snickers tarts, cinnamon-glazed apple fry pies (without the fryer’s remorse!) and more. Her sugar-laced cakes have a transformative power – even for people who've undergone heartbreak and tragedy. Natalie has received letters of appreciation that have made her cry.

    Because Natalie is a big believer in "cake for breakfast", we talk a lot about desserts – from the blockbuster "floating" cake she made for own wedding, to the four-hour spiced quinces from her Beatrix Bakes cookbook, which have the most surprising story behind them. She also recalls her days working with chef Greg Malouf (after his heart transplant), Maggie Beer, Cath Claringbold and more.
    We also cover some of the "all-time favourite cakes" she's ever eaten around the world, from Kanazawa to Barcelona and beyond (including the "most perfect bite of cheesecake" in Tokyo)!

    • 43 min
    Shinobu Namae – L’Effervescence, Bricolage Bread & Co.

    Shinobu Namae – L’Effervescence, Bricolage Bread & Co.

    Shinobu Namae runs one of Tokyo's best restaurants: L'Effervescence. It has two Michelin stars and is known for its sustainable focus (nearly everything served to diners comes from Japan, even the cheese) and the menu is inspired by everything from McDonald's fried apple pie to world peace. Even the dish names are memorable (you can order something called 'Hurrah')!
    Namae-san has worked for Michel Bras in Hokkaido (the story behind this proves that overeating in New York is always a good thing to do) and he was Heston Blumenthal's sous-chef at The Fat Duck. Even though Namae-san grew up with an American-influenced diet, the chef has devoted his career to showcasing Japanese ingredients, from the artisanal wheat in the oven-baked goods at his cafe, Bricolage Bread & Co., to the menu at L'Effervescence. (The story behind the Japanese cheeses at the restaurant is pretty surprising.)

    He also talks about some of the memorable food he's had around the world – including his experience at Alice Waters' Chez Panisse, which he calls one of the best meals of his life. (He also has a sandwich inspired by her on his menu at Bricolage.)

    This episode was recorded when the chef was here last year, for Tasting Australia. 

    • 41 min
    Charlotte Ree – "Just Desserts"

    Charlotte Ree – "Just Desserts"

    Charlotte Ree once ate 30 different kinds of croissants during a trip to France – then got a croissant tattoo afterwards. She's so dedicated to pastries that she'll stay up until 5:30am to finish a baking marathon. Pulling 120 cakes out of the oven during the hours people reserve for sleeping – and then going to work the next day, as communications manager for Pan Macmillan (the publisher of Hetty McKinnon's cookbooks) – well, that's just a normal whirlwind day for Charlotte.
    Charlotte's love of all things sweet is clear on every page of Just Desserts, her latest cookbook. It features recipes for Nutella thumbprint cookies, peach and raspberry tray cake, tiramisu swiss rolls and chocolate ganache Bundt (Charlotte likes big Bundts and she can not lie). Just Desserts also includes "a nod to the king of biscuits" and is laced and frosted with a good dose of puns (sieve the day)!

    Charlotte talks about how to land a cookbook deal (when you're not a celebrity chef), being on the publicity trail with Hetty McKinnon, as well as Charlotte's personal baking triumphs, fails and memorable moments. Plus, we take an express trip to her favourite patisseries around the world (I've saved her Tokyo recommendations for my next trip)!

    Note: this was recorded a few months ago, before the current pandemic and lockdown hit. So, social distancing is paramount, but please take note of eateries you can still responsibly support as they need the help right now. And there's plenty in the podcast archive (the Christina Tosi episode, the one with Lune Croissanterie's Kate Reid!) if you're keen for a self-isolation soundtrack or audio company during this unprecedented time.

    • 46 min
    Angie Prendergast-Sceats – Angie's Food, Two Good

    Angie Prendergast-Sceats – Angie's Food, Two Good

    Angie Prendergast-Sceats once was an olive oil judge, where she had to watch out for vintages that tasted like "rancid feet" and "baby vomit" (such references really did appear on the flavour chart that's deployed in these contests).
    But for the last three years, she's been the culinary director and head chef of Two Good, which used recipes by top chefs (Peter Gilmore, Christine Manfield, Ben Shewry) to create soups and salads that would be sent to women in domestic violence shelters. You'd order two soups: keep one and the other would be donated to someone in a refuge. The food was cooked by women from shelters, who were paid above-award wages to do so. In her role, Angie would oversee this work – and there some memorable/hilarious times when they did their cooking in a nightclub's not-so-conventional kitchen – and she also ran Two Good's Work Work program, training long-term unemployed women, refugees and disenfranchised people to help them get jobs. It was far from the aggressive stereotype of a kitchen where you could yell at someone to hurry up with the carrots; in working with people who might not know how to hold a knife or are still dealing with trauma, cooking 1000 meals a week is a different kind of challenge.

    We also talk about Angie's recipes – which appear in the new Two Good cookbook, her memorable trips to Japan (where she had nine bowls of ramen in five hours and visited a 1000-year-old miso shop) and what she's doing next with her Angie's Food enterprise.

    • 1 hr 12 min
    Monty Koludrovic – The Dolphin, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar

    Monty Koludrovic – The Dolphin, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar

    “I was the guy who had the cream gun explode, trying to top the iced coffee.” Monty Koludrovic's early days in hospitality were "pretty calamitous", but one triumph was ending up in the kitchen of The Boathouse at Blackwattle Bay. It was a meal there, at age 12 (that he can still recap with incredible accuracy), that inspired him to pursue a career in restaurants.
    Since 2014, Monty Koludrovic has overseen dishes at Icebergs Dining Room and he later became executive chef of Maurice Terzini's other venues: The Dolphin, Scout, Bondi Beach Public Bar and Ciccia Bella. Besides introducing excellent dishes (like the Tokyo 7/11 sandwich at The Dolphin), he's also played a role in the restaurant group's collaborative events, like Aperitivo Hour, where Luke Burgess might turn The Dolphin's wine room into a falafel house or Ben Shewry might DJ in a safari suit as his Attica team lay down snacks from his award-winning restaurant. There was also the pizzeria pop-up by Joe Beddia (who makes the best pizza in America, according to Bon Appétit magazine) at the Bondi Beach Public Bar and, most memorably,  $1000 dinners for Good Food Month featuring Hiroyuki Sato, whose Hakkoku sushi restaurant in Tokyo has a six-month waiting list. (Despite the hefty pricetag, all six sessions sold out.) The Icebergs team built two custom sushi counters for the events and the restaurant's seafood supplier said of the beachside location: “When you’re eating fish and you look at the fish’s home, the fish tastes alive.” Monty says, “We billed it as the world’s best sushi restaurant that day.”
    Monty also recaps his memorable (and hilarious) time eating at the OG Hakkoku in Tokyo, which also involved an encounter with attendees of the vampire-themed bar nearby. We talk about why the quality of food in Japan is so exceptional (“You’ve got 70-year-old sous-chefs over there and they’ll never be head chef unless their dad retires”). 
    We also discuss what's next for Monty, now that he's leaving the Icebergs group after six years, as well as his final Aperitivo Hour at The Dolphin which is on this Sunday, December 1: it's Monty's Last Supper, featuring Clayton Wells, Dan Hong, O Tama Carey, Mat Lindsay and The Venezuelans (who are  copywriters and baristas who were such regulars that they ended up doing their own Aperitivo Hour after the Attica guest slot). It's on from 5-10pm, see you there!

    • 38 min
    Josh Niland – Saint Peter, Fish Butchery

    Josh Niland – Saint Peter, Fish Butchery

    Josh Niland can make fish scales taste like sugary cereal and fish eyeballs resemble prawn crackers. In his hands, seafood can become Christmas ham, mortadella and caramel slice. He can even turn calamari sperm into something you'd want to eat (no really)! His creative, waste-free approach to using every fin and scale is a response to the typical method of ditching 60 per cent of everything caught from the sea (“How is that 40 per cent of a fish is getting all the credit?”) and his innovative thinking is showcased at his acclaimed Saint Peter restaurant, Fish Butchery shop, and within the pages of his new publication, The Whole Fish Cookbook.
    Niland's interest in food started not long after he was diagnosed with cancer at age eight. His mum's chicken pie and the excitement of food media offered comfort after intense chemotherapy treatment – he even pinned pictures of chefs he admired on his bedroom wall. These well-known figures later ended up applauding him when he won Best New Restaurant for Saint Peter at the first national Good Food awards.
    Before opening Saint Peter with his wife Julie Niland (“Julie and I thought about this restaurant for so long – in every single meal that we ate together"), Josh worked at Est., Glass and Fish Face and shares the many "hectic stories" of his culinary education. A crab-eating competition, funnily enough, led him to being mentored by Fish Face's Steve Hodges, and ultimately inspired him to open Saint Peter (which landed Niland multiple Best Chef honours and a World Restaurant Award nomination alongside Massimo Bottura and Dan Barber).

    It's fascinating to talk to Josh about everything from the Starlight Foundation wish he was granted as a kid to all the unending possibilities he sees in every scrap of seafood (from cultivating single-origin bottarga to using fish fat like butter in desserts). Many of these ideas are featured in his book, which René Redzepi calls, "an inspiring read, something to return to again and again", and are compelling even if you don't eat fish. (That said, I'm hoping Josh can be convinced to bring back his self-saucing potato scallop one day.)

    • 1 hr 14 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
6 Ratings

6 Ratings

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