Darwin Blog


Gay Bilson
Sunday, 2 September, 2007, 1:40 am
Filed under: Observations

One of the events I attended out of the Festival of Darwin program was a “chat” with Gay Bilson.  This event was possible due to the assistance of the NT Writer’s Centre, the Slow Food Group and Charles Darwin University.

I knew Gay Bilson was an accomplished restuarantuer and has quite a profile in Sydney for the amazing food she produces, but apart from that I must admit that I Googled her to find out more.  My search resulted in some very interesting reading material and also included some reviews of her book Plenty.  As a result, I really. really did want to hear the woman speak.

Prior to the event and after reading about her online, I really wanted to purchase her book to read prior to the event.  Funny that, as I went to a number of bookshops it appear that I could not get the book.

So my girlfriend and I attended the Bakery at the Charles Darwin University Palmerston campus on the Friday night not really sure what to expect.  The University students were busy baking fresh bread, making pate, frying cheese and chorizo and many other delectable goodies, as well as serving some great wines.

Local ABC radio dj, Annie Gastin was conducting the “chat” with Gay Bilson and David Taylor (Daisy amongst friends) was the emcee.  The chat was interesting, but way too short and perhaps lacked some sort of structure, because I do not think it was revealing enough.  Annie invited questions from the floor and they were not very forthcoming, in fact it would be fair to say that we were there to hear Gay talk about herself and her experiences rather than answer our questions, which would probably have had even less structure that the “chat” presently in front of us.  It was an opportunity that was a little wasted.

An audience member did ask Gay what she thought of the new trend of fusion cooking and whilst she was diplomatic in her response – I do agree with her when she says that there are just some ingredients that are not to be melded together, no matter how ground btreaking or new age the crusine is and there is a reason for that.  Neil Perry take note!

With the lack of ability to purchase her book and with some in the audience advising her so, the Manager of the CDU Bookshop, who was present, advised she had copies available, but guess what, as only can happen in Darwin, she didn’t bring any with her to sell and for us to have autographed!  How frustrating and the lack of taking up on opportunity to promote the diversity of your business, make some money and to be accessible.  This so does not surprise me when it comes to Darwin.

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