Another chance at a fresher start

Larissa Dubecki
Cartoon by Matt Golding.
Cartoon by Matt Golding. Photo:

It was the pagans, I believe, who were the first to embrace the new year as a time of reflection, renewal and deep self-loathing. Little has changed in the intervening millenniums. No statistics exist recording how many chefs ticked the box marked "pagan" in the census, but our shamans of gluttony are more than usually susceptible to grand avowals of change. In a time-poor industry, spending time with family is rating pretty highly as the clock ticks forward to 2013. So is pruning the excess – getting fit and taking off the kilograms that mysteriously crept on the waistline in the past 12 months. Sensible stuff. Rounding out the trifecta is the foodist equivalent of bling: the fantastical, once-in-a-lifetime adventures in indulgence. Just take it as a given that everyone wants to eat at Noma. Or Mugaritz. Or "insert name of gastro-temple here".

But let's face it, no one keeps New Year's resolutions – except David Chang, of course, who made like a right smarty-pants by declaring to Zagat in 2011 his resolution was not to make resolutions. Clever man.

New Year's resolutions

Take up smoking. Meat, fish, yoghurt, you name it. The old fridge in the shed should be just the ticket.

More dumplings, less pork belly - a food writer's resolutions for 2013
More dumplings, less pork belly - a food writer's resolutions for 2013 Photo: Reuters

Stop drinking takeaway coffee like an overgrown toddler with a sippy cup. If there's no time to sit down in a cafe, there's no time for coffee.

Eat mindfully. At the table, not in front of the TV, preferably with the whole family, and with a sense of ceremony even when alone. Thoughtlessly stuffing food down at my computer will be a thing of the past.

Stop being such a superfood victim. Goji berries and chia seeds are not going to change my life.

Pork belly. Just say no.

More dumplings.

Commit the plethora of Chinese greens to memory. Be able to identify the pak choy from the ong choy and the choy sum at 20 paces.


Shop only with a list in hand.

Only organic when possible. Most definitely for the kids.

Go natural cleaning the kitchen . Bicarb, baking soda and vinegar. And elbow grease.

Give up processed sugar. Go for rapadura or honey, or go cold turkey.

Make gnocchi with the mouli Santa brought me for Christmas.

Eat at Noma. Failing Denmark, a few days in Hong Kong or Singapore would be pretty good.

Cook a souffle.

Buy only ethical meat and less of it. Opt for quality over quantity.

Master the Thermomix. It's not just an expensive sorbet maker, you know.

Find new ways of using eggs. There are only so many omelets a gal can eat.

Build a proper spit.

Redo the pantry. Out with the grotty, sticky old half-finished bottles at the back of the cupboard and the 10-year-old dried chickpeas – in with the quality ingredients (Ortiz anchovies! David Thompson's fish sauce!)

Commit the sustainable fish species guidelines to memory.

Try jellyfish.

Cook my way through Giorgio Locatelli's Made in Italy. But don't blog about it.

Pioneer a quadruple-cooked chip.

Make jam from the backyard figs and blood plums.

Figure out what to do with the persimmons.

Be diligent about labelling food in the freezer. No more "Is it lamb ragout or chicken cacciatore?"

Keep the knives sharpened.

Stop using a scourer on the non-stick pans and Le Creuset pots then lying to my husband about it. Ditto to sticking the knives in the dishwasher.

Go meatless on Monday.

Eat until three-quarters full. And then stop.

Get up in time to hit the farmers' markets before everyone is packing up. And remember the trolley.

Tend the vegie patch. The weeds need weeding, the plants need feeding; I will aim to be a better, timelier pruner and an heirloom warrior. And I will not let the chickens or the rabbit destroy the tomato crop like last year.

Wangle an invitation to a taping of Heston's Feasts. There, I will engage meaningfully with the food and engage Kathy Lette in a drunken battle of food-related quips.

Clean the oven. And keep it clean.

And from food industry identities . . .

Ian Curley, executive chef, The European (Melbourne)
My resolution in 2013 is to get back in shape and live longer for my kids. I need to stop going out so much – I will become the boring old fuddy-duddy that I swore I would never become. My other resolution is to grow a magnificent herb garden (half-way there already) and cook more at home.

Paul Wilson, executive chef Melbourne Pub Group
Encourage my chefs to use more native ingredients.Ian Curley, executive chef, The European (Melbourne)

Joanna Savill, co-editor Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide and director of Crave Sydney food festival I resolve to be more proactive on how I shop and how we reuse (leftovers etc). Breadcrumbs made from Iggy's sourdough are such a good way to use leftover bread. The compost worms are already fat in our garden but I will be making more sauces, soups and preserves with fading veg. And under- rather than over-shopping.

Pierre Roelofs, dessert maestro I would definitely like to reduce the amount of salt I use when cooking at home. I have developed a real chef's palate over the years, one that craves full-on seasoning. More tamari for 2013!

Elvis Abrahanowicz, Porteno and Bodega Try not to drink as much during the week.

Ben Milgate, Porteno and Bodega Eat less pig from the asador.

Neil Perry, owner-executive chef Rockpool, Spice Temple and Rosetta I could say stop drinking and exercise, but that never works. Instead, I think, run each of the restaurants better and more consistently.

Tony Tan, food writer, teacher and consultant Eat less roast pork belly, as I'm turning into a dumpling! Travel to the source of each cuisine so I can understand it more, and support more ethnic eateries for them to really showcase their best, rather than dumbing it down to survive.