One of the highlights of the 2016 Truffle Festival Canberra Region is a Food & Words event, featuring a stellar lineup of speakers - including chef Rodney Dunn from The Agrarian Kitchen; food writer Barbara Sweeney; and academic and baker Dr Roger Haden - accompanied by a truffle-inspired lunch prepared by Canberra's own Sean McConnell, executive chef of Monster Kitchen & Bar at Hotel Hotel.
I'm truly excited about this one, because I don't think that my home town has nearly enough food events with a literary theme. Sure, there's a sprinkling of them, but please sir/madame, may I have some more?
Truffles: Scents and Sensibilities is an event that brings together a chef, an academic and a writer to unearth the mysteries of the truffle, dig up the dirt on common myths that surround them, and sniff out the olfactory allure of this subterranean fungus fruit. Delicious!
Cookery-school and poster-boy, Rodney Dunn, from The Agrarian Kitchen in Tasmania, whose latest offering, The Truffle Cookbook, has just been released by Penguin, is the special guest. Joining him on stage are food writer Barbara Sweeney, from Food & Words and Talking Cookbook, along with Le Cordon Bleu Academic Director, Dr. Roger Haden. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr Haden in Adelaide recently.
This is the first Food & Words event in to be held in Canberra and the organisers are proud to be one of the many truffle events listed in the The Truffle Festival program. (Times like this I wish I still had my cooking school).
Introducing the speakers - my kind of people...
Dr Roger Haden
Roger is Academic Director with the iconic international culinary arts educator Le Cordon Bleu, where he develops higher education programs including the Bachelor of Business in Food Entrepreneurship and the online Master of Gastronomic Tourism (in which he also teaches Aesthetics of Food and Wine). He taught gastronomy and directed The Research Centre for The History of Food and Drink at The University of Adelaide for five years, where he also wrote Food Culture in the Pacific Islands and hosted several international conferences. He continues to research and write on sensory taste, the subject of his PhD thesis. Roger also writes occasional food-related pieces for The Adelaide Review and is chair of judges for the bakery competition at the Sydney Royal Fine Food Show. A professional chef until the mid-90s, his interest in foraging for fungi is longstanding.
Chef, owner of The Agrarian Kitchen and author of The Truffle Cookbook, Rodney Dunn worked under Tetsuya Wakuda at Sydney restaurant Tetsuya’s before moving into food media, working as a food researcher for the Better Homes and Gardens television program, and the food editor of Australian Gourmet Traveller. To indulge his passion for growing fruit and vegetables, raising pigs, milking goats and keeping bees, Rodney, with his wife Séverine Demanet, opened the farm-based cooking school The Agrarian Kitchen in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley in 2008. Rodney has recently followed up his first cookbook, The Agrarian Kitchen (Penguin) with The Truffle Cookbook (Penguin), a beautiful exploration of the wondrous truffle and your go-to truffle bible.
Cook, collector of cookbooks, director of Food & Words and food writer, Barbara Sweeney writes about Australian regional food producers and produce for a variety of publications, including Country Style, and has had the privilege of visiting and interviewing farmers who have embarked on the great Australian truffle-growing enterprise. She combines her on-the-ground experiences with a love of cookbooks to tell stories about food as the Talking Cookbook at Carriageworks Farmers’ Market in Sydney and also at Food & Words, the food writers’ festival that she started in 2012. Barbara is Chief Judge of the Royal Agriculture Society NSW Regional Fine Food Show and a judge at The National Honey Show.
Photos: Lean Timms @leanandmeadow
To book for the event...
Truffles: Scents and Sensibilities will be held at Hotel Hotel, New Acton Nishi, 25 Edinburgh Avenue in Canberra on Sunday, 31 July. Bookings are essential. The ticket cost is $255, which includes the talks, chef Sean McConnell's truffle lunch with wine and refreshments, AND the added bonus of a signed copy of Rodney Dunn’s The Truffle Cookbook (Penguin), valued at $59.99.
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NB: I use Australian standard measuring cups and spoons in my recipes.