Three decades ago in Adelaide, a pioneering group of chefs, cooks and restaurateurs came together to eat, drink, philosophise, and question their assumptions about food and gastronomy in Australia.
Chefs such as Gay Bilson, Phillip Searle, Stephanie Alexander and Duré Dara joined forces with writers Marion Halligan and Alan Davidson, winemaker Max Lake, food scholars Barbara Santich and Michael Symons and even a politician, Don Dunstan, to create the first Symposium of Australian Gastronomy in 1984, their hope to change how we think about food in Australia. Since then, the Symposia have shaped a dynamic community of local and international food scholars, designers, farmers, chefs, artisans and passionate eaters.
The 21st Symposium in Melbourne this year is a chance to reflect on changes past, present and future. For four days, those who build their lives around food come together and discuss what gastronomy as an ethic for living and eating well means for our professions and our food future. And for the first time ever, busy hospitality practitioners can take advantage of a two-day registration for a concentrated burst of gastronomic discussion.
Bringing utopian appetites to the table
The 21st Symposium of Australian Gastronomy will be celebrated in Melbourne, Australia, from Friday 2 to Monday 5 December 2016. Friday and Saturday sessions are at the University of Melbourne and Sunday and Monday sessions at the William Angliss Institute, with intriguing expeditions elsewhere.
At this coming-of-age gathering of gastronomic scholars, writers and practitioners, we are looking with hope towards bright food futures, with our guiding theme Utopian Appetites also marking the quincentennial of Thomas More’s Utopia (1516). With its founding principles of desire, order, justice and hope, utopia offers a framework to think about gastronomy as both an imaginary ideal and a realisable goal for the future.
In true Symposium tradition, chefs and cooks, writers, sommeliers, winemakers, artists and scholars gather to explore the real, ideal and imagined contexts of utopian appetites – considered from historical, cultural, aesthetic, political, ideological, social, nutritional, environmental, religious, agricultural and philosophical perspectives. Register now to join us in considering the question: what’s your gastronomic utopia?