In Italy, Milan is known for fashion. In Australia, Milan is synonymous with Lyndey – a well loved and recognised Australian media personality, both on TV and in print, whose passion and expertise is in food.
Lyndey is one busy lady! Last year Lyndey’s most recent book, A Taste of Australia, was released with the upcoming screening of the accompanying TV series due to hit our screens later this month. Lyndey & Herbie’s Moveable Feast recently aired on 7TWO, following off the back of the success of Lyndey and Blair’s Taste of Greece and the more recent Lyndey Milan’s Taste of Ireland. And now, amongst many other activities, she’s preparing to host a Gourmet Mediterranean Cruise with Lyndey Milan.
Here’s what Lyndey had to say when we interviewed her recently.
What drives your passion for food and in particular, cooking?
Food is the basis of all life. Without it we die – but it’s much more than that for me. I think so much good can be done AROUND food. Cooking together, then sitting at the table, talking, eating and sharing the hospitality of the table. This is what drives me plus my enormous regard for the people who produce the food. Agriculture is tough in the Australian climate and what our farmers and viticulturalists do is just extraordinary. Then cooking their amazing produce is a wonderful relaxant and antidote to the stress of modern life. How could I not love food and cooking?
What were some of the highlights during the writing of Taste of Australia?
Some? There were so many! Dragon Boat racing on Lake Burley Griffin, milked a goat and rode a brumby in the Snowy Mountains, went boot scootin’ at Tamworth festival, was surrounded by a school of dolphins at Huskisson, went foraging in the water in front of Bannisters with Rick Stein, had afternoon tea with Maggie & Saskia Beer at the Pheasant Farm, cooked with my old co-host Pete Evans in an organic school, got Neil Perry out of the kitchen for a BBQ on the edge of Sydney Harbour, panned for gold in the middle of winter in Orange, chopped wood at the Sydney Royal Easter show, went on a balloon ride at sunrise in Canowindra, suited up and learnt beekeeping at Goldfields Inn, caught up with Tetsuya Wakuda and Heston Blumenthal in the Margaret River, attended the polo on Cable Beach, went mud-crabbing with an indigenous Australian south of Broome, and mustered 2000 cattle in Kununurra.
We are particularly interested in artisans and your description of so many of them in your recent book, Taste of Australia, resonated clearly with our thirst for meeting them and understanding their crafts. Can you share some of your favourite artisan encounters?
I have the greatest respect for artisans who are driven by their love of, and commitment to their craft, whatever they may be. Those who spring immediately to mind: Josh Bahen from Bahen Chocolates in the Margaret River. He uses ehtically sourced cocoa beans, helps the farmers in countries where they are grown and has sourced old machinery to process it. The end result is astounding. Vanya Cullen took an already great winery, Cullens Wines, turned it bio-dynamic and made it even greater. Her love and regard for the soil is palpable. There are so many dairies and cheesemakers. Jack Holman, the cheesemaker from Yarra Valley Dairy springs to mind – artisinal but consistent in what he produces. Then there is Maggie Beer of course. Milly Hill Lamb have a feeding regime which ensures a fantastic end product. Melanda Park grow beautiful free range pigs on the banks of the Hawkesbury River. We are so spoiled for choice.
You are hosting what sounds to be an extremely exciting Mediterranean Cruise in September. Can you describe what tour patrons should expect whilst in Italy with you?
Who doesn’t love Italian food and culture – and Italians! I am thrilled to be taking people to not only the well-known locations, but also some known only by foodie insiders. Think Rome, Taormina, the Amalfi Coast, finishing with 4 days of exploration and cooking classes in Tuscany.
We can hardly wait to see the TV series reflecting your Taste of Australia book. Can you please tell us a little about it?
The 16 part TV series, Taste of Australia screens on LifeStyle FOOD from 19 April this year including two previously unseen episodes in Western Australia. You can see all the artisans, producers and recipes, engage with the characters and travel this great land of ours.
Thank you kindly for your time and answers, Lyndey. We look forward to enjoying the TV series and hearing all about your Gourmet Mediterranean Cruise when you return!