What the Good Food team loved and loathed in 2020 (and look forward to in 2021)

Making good sourdough - one of Myffy's achievements of 2020.
Making good sourdough - one of Myffy's achievements of 2020. Photo: Supplied

The Good Food team took a moment to reflect on the highs and lows of 2020 - and the good things to come in 2021. 

WHAT WE LOVED 

  • Forced captivity Saturday nights when three daughters had no choice but to stay home and the best way to keep this interesting was 'international theme nights'. Japanese night, which involved making sushi and okonomiyaki (yeah, there were costumes) was my favourite. I preserved (beetroot chutney and kasoundi were the best) and ate a waistline-altering amount of home-made pizza because making dough was soothing. Ardyn Bernoth
  • Becoming a better seafood cook, especially with all the top quality Australian fish rarely seen on the retail market. Callan Boys
     
  • Finally commandeering a patch of sun on the roof (sorry neighbours) and growing my own veg. Nothing has died yet, including me. Gemima Cody
     
  • Taking hands-on cooking and cocktail-making classes via Zoom, including a potato gnocchi interactive with Katrina Pizzini, of A Tavola cooking school. Roslyn Grundy
     
  • The community spirit, bushwalks and waterfalls, learning the dark art of making croissants, and putting those latent gardening skills to work by planting a tiny, thrilling vegie patch with the kids. Megan Johnston
     
    Eloise Basuki's MasterChef recaps kept Andrea laughing through lockdwon.

    Eloise Basuki's MasterChef recaps kept Andrea laughing through lockdwon. Photo: NETWORK TEN

  • Life changes I wouldn't have made without being locked down. I rented and worked from a cut-price Airbnb in Daylesford for six months, got that puppy I could never previously commit to, and subscribed to a weekly veg box. I hate the word 'pivot' but I was in awe of the ways restaurants, cafes and pubs did it. Brilliant concepts/websites like Providoor and Co-Lab Pantry meant we could order in or cook restaurant quality food at home whenever we felt like it. Also, the rise of new talent like Nat's What I Reckon and ABC's Sammy J and our own Eloise Basuki's MasterChef recaps - such great, funny company during those dark days and nights. Andrea McGinniss
  • Learning how to make properly excellent sourdough after months of horrible, disgusting bread. Myffy Rigby
     
    Windsor Hotel's chef Khanh Nguyen  incredible decorated pastry-coated meat dishes (lamb) during the COVID lockdown time. 9 September 2020. The Age Goodfood. Photo: Eddie Jim.

    Chef Khanh Nguyen with his incredible decorated pastry-coated lamb. Photo: Eddie Jim

  • The proper-pastry resurgence, from Sunda chef Khanh Nguyen's shortcrust-wrapped creations (a rack of lamb; a whole chicken!), to the French classic pâté en croute becoming A Thing and London-based the Pie Room chef Calum Franklin's very particular odes to ye olde English techniques. I've finally got my hands on Franklin's cookbook and will attempt to bake a Gala pie (a decorative loaf-shaped pork pie with a hidden procession of jammy soft-boiled eggs). It's the ultimate picnic power move. Annabel Smith 

WHAT WE LOATHED 

  • The desperate situation a lot of restaurateurs, chefs and hospo staff were in because they could not do what they do best, make us insanely happy in their beautiful restaurants. AB
  • Hearing about 20 tonne of Australian lobster dying on the tarmac at a Shanghai airport in November due to trade disputes with China. CB
  • The first four minutes of Emily in Paris. That was as far as I got. I stand by it. GC
     
    A lone pedestrian crosses an empty Bourke Street in the Melbourne CBD during lockdown.

    A lone pedestrian crosses an empty Bourke Street in the Melbourne CBD during lockdown. Photo: Wayne Taylor

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  • The one time I walked through Melbourne city during winter, and everything was closed and run down. I found an open gozleme van in deserted Federation Square and got swooped by hungry seagulls. My heart literally hurt and the tears rolled freely, not (just) for the lost gozleme but for the buzzy city I loved so much looking so down and out. Thankfully it's getting its mojo back but it'll be a while before the magic returns. AM 
     
  • Doing anything else on Zoom. RG
     
  • Personally? Home schooling. 'Nuff said. MJ
     
  • Aside from the general awfulness of COVID, I didn't loathe much. If anything, I really learned a lot about myself including slowing down and appreciating the small things. MR
     
  • Having to go back into lockdown a week early because of my Melbourne postcode. AS


WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO 

  • Eating out way more in those beautiful restaurants in 2021. AB
     
  • Visiting NSW's Sapphire Coast post-bushfires for a week of oysters, bowling clubs, schooners and surf. CB
Chef Ben Shewry at his new venue, Attica Summer Camp in Seville

Chef Ben Shewry at his new venue, Attica Summer Camp in Seville Photo: Eddie Jim

  • ​Locally, there are some amazing chef pop-ups happening at wineries around Victoria - Thi Le at Sutton Grange, the Attica Summer Camp in the Yarra Valley and Jerry Mai's barbecue sessions at Ocean Eight on the Mornington Peninsula. I'm also bee-lining for the Mona Foma festival in Tasmania for weird art and Tassie restaurants. GC
     
  • Watching Melbourne (and Australia) respond to the COVID challenge: more outdoor dining and drinking, the creative use of unlikely spaces, less pretension and more travel to the regions and (hopefully) beyond. AM
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

    A post shared by Roslyn Grundy (@onetui)


     
  • Home-grown fruit and veg from the patch I've fostered during lockdown, exploring regional Victoria, and enrolling in more cooking classes – the enforced stay-at-home regime has rekindled my interest in the kitchen. RG
     
  • Bring on that vaccine. MJ
     
  • Travelling more around Australia and spending all my money interstate. MR
     
  • Revisiting Lakes Entrance. Businesses in my hometown rely heavily on summer holiday trade, which vanished when the East Gippsland region was hit by devastating bushfires earlier this year, plus the double-whammy of the coronavirus pandemic. I am excited to pop into the fishing village's summer pop-up at the Slipway for a Sailor's Grave tinnie, hyper-local seafood and creamy Gippsland Jersey soft-serve; and enjoy a spritz and fish and chips on the upper deck of floating restaurant Sodafish, now headed up by homecoming king and ex-The Atlantic at Crown chef Nick Mahlook. AS