Danish pastry. Croc fat and ants, anyone?


Copenhagen chef Rene Redzepi, reputedly the world’s best – and whose Noma is four-time winner of the San Pellegrino best restaurant – has brought his Danish retinue of over 100 (staffers, spouses and children) to open a pop-up restaurant in Sydney. The result: degustation gone mad. Within four minutes, the 5,500 places, at $485 a pop, were sold out, with a wait-list of 27,000.

Redzepi is a “forager” who started out wandering the outskirts of Copenhagen collecting bark, pine needles and weeds to take back to his kitchen. Among the distinctive Australian ingredients and items tested for the menu are a wattle seed porridge, marinated fresh fruit sprinkled with fresh ants (apparently the most tasty part is the abdomen) and he’s used crocodile fat, Kakadu plum dust and magpie goose mince.

With (politically correct) thanks to the Aboriginal Australian owners of the land where his pop-up is cited, Redzepi, who has a partnership with the Yale Sustainable Food Program, says the Australian exercise is “a team building and staff retaining” opportunity. But one can only wonder how sustainable schlepping all these people and accoutrements across the world is – and whether the Gadigal people could ever have afforded his prices.

Rene Redzepi

In other PC food-related news, at last count, almost 11,000 people had signed Maisie Beveridge’s petition for a Masterchef Aboriginal week. The rationale: “First Nations People” are often negatively reported on in the mainstream media and an Aboriginal Week could not only teach people to find food in the bush and use more than 50,000 years of cooking skill and knowledge to cook beautiful foods using native ingredients, but would help reduce prejudice and provide a starting point for friendly conversations between Aussies and First Nations People.

Another online petition resulted in the removal from the iTunes App Store of a game requiring players/invaders to bludgeon or shoot to death Aboriginal Australians to gain points. Survival Island 3: Australian Story 3D tells white men to “beware of Aborigines”, and Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane said it promoted violence and hatred. Petitioners described as “absolutely abhorrent”, “abominable” and “beyond racist”. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Apple would only confirm that the app is not available in its App Store, while Google declined to comment.

Sydney is debating whether to introduce “managed alcohol” at its shelters for the chronically homeless – by serving drinks on the hour to those with alcohol dependency. The thinking is that it will reduce the incentive to binge-drink on deadline before hostels close their doors for the night and that, freed from the stress of having to search for a bed, the homeless will drink less.

One of the contenders for the Australian of the Year has criticised the choice of winner, retired Chief of Army Lieutenant-General David Morrison, as being “weak and conventional”. Transgender military officer, Group Captain Catherine McGregor, complained that Australia had not had the courage to go with an LGBT person. Previously, as Morrison’s speech writer, she authored an infamous 2013 address in which Morrison told sexist soldiers to get out of the army after revelations of a sex scandal. McGregor has apologised.

In a landmark case, the high court has upheld Australia’s right to detain asylum seekers in foreign countries. PM Malcolm Turnbull who has declared a “steadfast” resolve to prevent people smugglers “prevailing over our sovereignty”, now has the legal right to send to the Micronesian island of Nauru 267 people, including 37 babies born in Australia and dozens more children.

But does Turnbull have the moral right? The Nauru detention centre was declared not safe for children by a senate committee which recommended last year that the government speed up the removal of all asylum-seeker children already there, and called for a “full audit” of allegations of sexual abuse, child abuse and other criminal conduct.

The government continues to paint the matter as an issue about people smugglers and the loss of life at sea – in case refugees are incentivised by the belief that there’s a safe haven at the other end. But now that both major political parties agree on the fundamentals, it’s becoming clearer that their  agenda is about keeping these desperate people out.

Meanwhile discussion around surf helmets has resurfaced after a Queensland coroner recommended their mandatory use for younger competitors in surf life-saving competitions following an inquiry into the death in 2012 of a teen surf lifesaver.

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