I’m a journalist, travel writer, editor and copywriter based in Melbourne, Australia. I write pacy travel features, edit edifying websites and fashion flamboyant copy. My articles and photographs have appeared in publications worldwide, from inflight to interior design: I’ve visited every continent, and have lived in three. Want to work together? Drop me a line… 



The dish we missed: chefs name their most delicious travel memories

After two years of lockdown here in Australia, where we couldn’t leave our country, what’s the dish you missed the most? I chatted to 10 of Sydney and Melbourne’s top chefs about those delicious travel memories they hold dear, and where they’re heading when they’re back on a plane this year.

I reckon I’m booking a ticket to Spain to take Brigitte Hafner’s recommendation for slow-cooked lamb in Rioja. Or maybe I need to go back to Turkey for Iskander kebab, which Paul Farag reminded me of. Or snapper cerviche on a beach in Lima, Peru.

If you’re not heading overseas, chefs including Shannon Martinez, Christine Manfield and Scott Pickett also shared some favourite dishes closer to home, within Australia, from dumplings at Supernormal in Melbourne to arkhe in Adelaide, for the Parfait Tartlet a la Burnt Ends.

Click here to read the story, published in the Traveller section of The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald newspapers.


A city sleeps: Melbourne moves into Lockdown #6

Last night, I walked through the heart of Melbourne as we went into our sixth lockdown.

The city’s laneways rang with the sound of shutters going down as the city locked itself up.

It was a pretty crazy time to be editing a guidebook for the city. But there I found myself, sitting in little Shandong Mama Mini, eating its fabulous mackerel dumplings with manager Gin, taking notes and talking optimistically about when New Yorkers are going to roam freely through our little laneways once again…maybe next June.

Walking the darkening streets, I saw a woman at the gates of Gucci, pleading, pleading to make a last purchase before lockdown – only to be turned away by staff. The cash registers are closed, she was told, night is falling and lockdown looms.

The doorman at Society, the hottest new restaurant in town, told me all the late bookings had been shunted into earlier time slots, with diners ushered back onto the streets before the stroke of 8pm.

A cheery Big Issue seller chatted about his business model falling apart: with few office workers and less city dwellers, his magazines remain unsold. But he was fully vaccinated, he told me. Was I?

“These lockdowns are killing us,” said the waiter in Pellegrini where, for the first time in living memory, I could get a seat at the bar and a chat with the black apron clad waiters. Snapping a photo of the luscious cakes of the Hopetoun Tea Rooms in the glittering Block Arcade – normally a false hope due to the hordes of drooling instagrammers – was but a cinch, and the Royal Arcade remains empty of its traditional shoppers, down on a day trip from the country.

Street cafes were being packed up, outdoor furniture stacked away, kitchen staff clearing the benches, glass of wine in hand. Music played in empty hotel lobbies, with no-one to listen to it.

The streets emptied so completely they could double as a setting for an apocalyptic zombie movie.

Food delivery drivers tore down empty footpaths on their scooters with impunity.

Traffic lights clicked uselessly as an ambulance careened unimpeded through a red light – lights flashing but the sirens silent in the darkening night.

Ingineous: testing Bass & Flinders’ at-home custom gin blends

What do Ginona Ryder, Jusgin Beiber and Osama Gin Laden have in common? They’re all custom gins blended at kitchen tables around Australia, with a little hand-holding by Bass & Flinders’ master distiller, Holly Klintworth.

During Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdowns, some of us cuddled up to a packet of Tim Tams and Netflix, others re-tuned themselves into uber-athletes (ok, so not that many, but enough to make it a think on social media), and others had the local boozer on speed-dial. Mornington Peninsula distillery Bass & Flinders put its creativity hat on, and released an at-home custom gin blending kit for housebound gin drinkers to turn to. The clincher here was that all the botanicals supplied are native to Australia – think strawberry gum, wattleseed and – my favourite – native lemongrass.

Following an easy-to-watch video tutorial by Holly, I blended my own gin, which I named Lockdown’s Gindolence. Is it going to take the gin world by storm? Honestly, maybe not. I’ll leave that to Holly and her brace of beautiful gins, available at the distillery in Habitat, the artisan precinct in Victoria’s Dromana Industrial Estate, which I’ve written about here in the past. Click here to read my story for Essentials magazine.



Roadtest: Bass & Flinders’ at-home gin masterclass kit

The Fullerton Sydney Hotel: the best high tea in Sydney?

Don your smartest, stretchiest pants and get ready for a truly extravagant afternoon tea.

As one who has devoured afternoon and high teas from London to Luxor, I can confidently report The Fullerton Hotel Sydney’s tiered tower shames most comers.

The two-tiered tower needed to be super sturdy, laden as it was with duck rillettes, white truffle egg mayonnaise sandwiches, layered smoked salmon mille-feuille topped with caviar, and lobster cosied up in a Boston Cornet a l’Oriental. It paraded a profusion of mini bagels and perfectly cut sandwich squares, and a pretty green pandan kaya lamington in a Sydney-Singapore mash-up.

Click here to read more about how to get a Singapore tang into your Sydney-bound life.

Industrial Revolution on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, Australia

In this age of uncertainty, we’re staying local, so here’s another story from my heartland, the Mornington Peninsula.

As I noted in the story, we go to the peninsula for the sandy beaches, for the restaurants and wineries, for the feeling that industry and grind is behind us. So it might seem a little odd to be recommending an industrial estate as THE place to visit, but stay with me here!

There are so many great things in this little snarl of streets: between heavy machinery workshops you’ll find a gluten-free brewery, behind a storage centre, a vegan dairy. And the best little rum bar I’ve been to. Good on you, Jimmy Rum.

To read more about what I’m dubbing the new Industrial Revolution, click here for the story that ran in the Traveller section of the Sydney Morning Herald, and The Age newspapers.


Travel at high altitudes: tips from Chile’s Atacama Desert

Don’t eat the guanaco and go easy on the merlot: two pieces of advice that seem counterproductive to a trip through Chile. However, when you’re staying more than 2.4km above sea level, I advise soaking up all the tricks and tips to avoiding altitude sickness.

Recently, I chatted with Max Vera, the grandly titled Chief of Excursions at luxury lodge Tierra Atacama, about travelling at high altitudes. Based in San Pedro de Atacama, a village in Chile’s Atacama Desert, he helped me acclimatise with short, scenic walks and horse rides through landscapes that have been movie stand-ins for the moon, before I pushed up to the Geysers del Tatio, at 4.3km. To put that all into perspective, Latin America’s most visited site, Machu Picchu, in neighboring Peru, is the same altitude as San Pedro, at 2.4km.

Click here to read the full story, which appeared in the Traveller section in the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers.

See tierrahotels.com




Eating in Lake Como, Italy

Photo: Belle Jackson – instagram @global_salsa

“So,” says Gianni, taking my arm. “Do you like to eat?”

only one response, when the food and beverage director of an Italian
five-star hotel has you in their grip. “Si,” I reply. And again, con
. “Si!”

inhales deeply, drawing himself up to his full height which, like me,
is an imposing 163 centimetres, and we sweep into the breakfast room of
the Grand Hotel Tremezzo.

Italy’s luxury goes up a notch when you’re on Lake Como, where I managed to fit in three decadent meals a day, capped by rizo, oro e zafferano (rosotto with gold and saffron).I even have the certificate that authenticates the dish (#100624), conceived in 1981 and considered the genesis of Italian haute cuisine.

certified by Italy’s first three-Michelin starred chef, Gualtiero
Marchesi, whose dishes are presented at the packed La Terrazza each
night by the hotel’s executive chef Osvaldo Presazzi.
This story was published in the Traveller section of the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers. To read it in full (a calorie-free option), click here 

Seven dishes you must try on the Sunshine Coast


Koji creme caramel, Spicers Tamarind

The path to the Sunshine Coast beach town of Noosa is a well-worn path for southerns. However, chef Cameron Matthews’ recommendations of what to eat will send you up into the cool hinterlands to try Asian-inspired creme caramel, wash-rind cheeses and fresh feijoas.

You can find out what his seven must-eat dishes are by clicking here

This article appears on the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age‘s Traveller website.

Where to eat in Washington DC

Chef Eric

Erik Bruner-Yang, Washington DC

A couple of months ago, I met Washington chef-entrepreneur Erik Bruner-Yang at the glamorous Waldorf Astoria Shanghai, China, where he was part of a competition to create new iconic dishes for the hotel chain, which lays rightful claim to the Waldorf salad (amongst many others).

When he wasn’t cooking or overseeing dumpling creations by ham-fisted journalists, he was powering through the city streets,  discovering the food scene. We had a chat about where to eat in his hometown, and the influences of his own Taiwanese-Belgian background upon his food.

He tipped Filipino cuisine as the next big thing in the USA, recommends his favourite traditional Japanese restaurant and also shares a hot tip on the best customised pizza in Washington DC – it’s a pretty eclectic food safari.

You can read his hot tips in this short piece for the Traveller section of the Sydney Morning Herald/ The Age newspapers.

Australia on a plate

http://www.traveller.com.au/top-chefs-showcase-best-of-australian-dinning-at-exclusive-world-gala-102n22Australia on a plate
It might be the greatest
three-course meal in Australian history but the public won’t get a
taste. Three of Australia’s top chefs, Neil Perry, Peter Gilmore and Ben
Shewry, have been charged with creating our finest menu for a gala
dinner in November to showcase Australian dining. The ‘‘Invite the World
to Dinner’’ event, at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Tasmania,
will bring in 80 guests from around the world, including influential
food and wine writers, critics, chefs and celebrities, from Australia’s
key tourism markets. The event is part of Tourism Australia’s new global
campaign ‘‘Restaurant Australia’’ – the latest part of the ‘‘There’s
nothing like Australia’’ campaign launched in 2010. The three chefs have
outstanding credentials, with Perry’s Rockpool, in Sydney, and Quay,
where Gilmore is executive chef, receiving three hats in the 2014 Good
Food Awards. Shewry’s Attica, in the Melbourne suburb of Ripponlea, was
named restaurant of the year at the Melbourne awards. ‘‘This dinner is
saying to the world here is Australian cuisine, we have amazing produce,
diverse cultural influences and through our cooking we bring a certain
spirit of openness, adventure and freedom,’’ said Gilmore.
– Craig Platt
World at your feet
your heels and find yourself wherever in the world you want to be, with
the cutest women’s shoes from Venezuelan brand Hot Chocolate. Imprinted
with an old-school map of the world, they have a rubber sole for
comfortable strolling and the soft polyester upper makes them easy to
clean. Flip the buckle and they’re an ideal inflight shoe, but if you’re
not travelling anywhere soon, just look down, map out your route and
daydream. Bon voyage shoes, $75. 0499 116 659, see pimposaustralia.com.
Taming travel with tots
new travel website devised by mother-of-two, Ingrid Huitema, is
dedicated to journeys with babies. The site takes the grunt out of
travelling with young children and give parents time to reconnect.
“Taking a few hours each day to eat lunch uninterrupted, walk on the
beach or try a surf lesson usually doesn’t happen on holidays with
babies,” says Huitema. “We want to change all of that.” Packages in
baby-friendly Bali comprise villas tailored for children, with pick-up
at Denpasar airport, car seats and nannies. A five-night stay in
Seminyak starts at $1895, with four days’ nanny service. 0408 112 728,
see babyandtoddlertravel.com.au.
Bespoke beauty
the bellwether, the pack leader, the one who swims against the masses,
and you’re demanding a hotel room decorated with street art. You’re the
epitome of the new traveller. “Curation is the future of online travel,”
says Mat Lewis, of new boutique accommodation booker View Retreats.
Travellers are seeking architectural statements for eye-popping travel
snaps. “Our most-viewed property is the Wollemi Wilderness Treehouse in
the Blue Mountains, followed by Campbell Point House on Victoria’s
Bellarine Peninsula and Alkira Resort House and Rainforest Retreat in
the Daintree.” Romantic cocoons are the top request. See


Fabric of life
Weave through India’s exotic Rajasthan,
with Christina Sumner, OAM, former principal curator at Sydney’s The
Powerhouse Museum and Indian textiles aficionado. You will watch silk
and cotton weaving in women’s charities, learn about ancient tribal
dyeing techniques and block-printing, and visit renowned ateliers during
this new 15-day textiles tour. Other highlights include the 1st-century
Buddhist caves of Ajanta, sufi concerts, village visits and the
photogenic Rajasthani cities of Jaipur and Jaisalmer. Accommodation
includes Jodhpur’s Ajit Bhawan Palace and Samode Haveli in Jaipur. The
Threads of Rajasthan tour numbers are capped at 12, departing on
February 7, 2015. Costs from $11,500 a person, twin share, including
flights ex-Sydney, meals and guides. Phone 1300 130 218, see
Case closed
Choose zingy
tangerine or strawberry and you can bet your bottom dollar you won’t
miss your luggage on the carousel amid a sea of boring black. Online
retailer Kogan’s new budget-friendly three-piece luggage sets are
lightweight with a hard-side shell, and sit sturdily on four
multi-directional spinner wheels. The set has two suitcases, 100-litre
(4.2 kilogram) and 65-litre (3.5 kilogram), and a 40-litre (2.6
kilogram) cabin bag, with TSA-approved locks and a one-year warranty.
Colour challenged? Available also in charcoal. Kogan Hardside Spinner
luggage set, $159, three pieces. Phone 1300 304 292, see kogan.com.au.

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