Subtitled Favourite restaurants & bars in Melbourne’s laneways & rooftops, Jonette George and Daniele Wilton’s latest celebration of all things food in Australia is a worthy recipient of its recent bronze medal at the Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPY) in New York. Flavours of Melbourne is a stunning coffee table book that is also filled with recipes and reviews, art and photography, and a sizeable chunk of history on the complex laneway system that is at the heart of Melbourne.
When asked what the award meant to her Wilton said “Taking out bronze at the IPPY awards means a lot – it means our small, family business has received a lot of recognition out there and not only in the publishing industry – in the food industry as well. It is a really big achievement and I am so proud of our team!”
Anyone who loves food, wine and street art will want to work their way through each and every one of the rooftop cinemas, underground bars, back street restaurants, and hidden hotels. Not to mention the clubs, coffee houses and tea rooms. Half the fun will just be finding, and losing, your way. This is no doubt that this book will become a definitive reference guide to eating out in one of our most multicultural cities. My only concern is that it is a bit of a tome so don’t expect to cart it around in the glove box.
The book opens with an introduction by renowned food author Rita Erlich and goes on to honour Australia’s tribal ancestors and explore their traditional cooking methods. This is followed by a historical timeline of Melbourne, as well as a feature on the food charity Streat which aims to stop homelessness in “the delicious way”. All of this is not what you would expect from a standard recipe and review compendium. But anyone who has come to know George and Wilton’s work will tell you there is nothing standard in the high level publishing that they produce.
Flavours of Melbourne concludes with a section of signature recipes taken from the head chefs in the restaurants featured. It is a great tribute to the culinary characters who feed the locals of, and visitors to, Melbourne each day. And for people like me, it is an opportunity to taste what is waiting when I next step foot in the food capital of Australia.
My rating: ★★★★