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The benefits of live yoghurt
23.03.2017

Step away from the “dessert yoghurt", writes Will Studd. The real unadulterated thing is much more rewarding.

All-Star Yum Cha
22.03.2017

What happens the morning after the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards? We treat the chefs to a world-beating yum cha session, as Dani Valent discovers.

Honey Fingers, Melbourne's inner-city beekeepers
22.03.2017

Single-source honey putting community and sustainability next to sweetness.

Vermouth is having a moment
21.03.2017

More and more adventurous local winemakers are embracing Vermouth's botanicals, writes Max Allen.

Exploring Indonesia's Komodo National Park
21.03.2017

Indonesia's Komodo National Park is home to staggering scenery and biodiversity. Michael Harden sets sail in a handcrafted yacht to explore its remote islands in pared-back luxury.

The new cruises on the horizon in 2017
21.03.2017

Cue the Champagne.

Seven recipes that shaped 1980s fine dining
21.03.2017

Australia saw some bold moves in the ’80s, and we’re not just talking hairstyles. Greater cultural references started peppering the menus of our restaurants, and home-grown ingredients won a new appreciation. The dining scene was coming of age and a new band of pioneers led the charge.

Where Melbourne's finest will take the World's Best Chefs
20.03.2017

Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

Meet your maker: Maka leather goods

Eight-pocket knife roll from Maka, Handmade knives from Skate Shank.

Eight-pocket knife roll from Maka, Handmade knives from Skate Shank.

Jock Zonfrillo, Matt Stone and Ben Turner all store their knives in a Maka.

Mick "Maka" Kerkham didn't learn to sew until he was 39. Now, at 51, the self-taught designer can't get enough of it: he spends his days in his back-garden shed in Sorell, 30 kilometres north-east of Hobart, sewing classic leather knife rolls and sheaths as well as toolbelts for some of the country's best chefs and makers.

What do people want in a knife roll, Mick?

Sometimes they want something to match their knives (black and silver, say) and sometimes it's to match their personality. A lot of the chefs are going for that retro or vintage look at the moment. I don't skimp on expense; I use quality brass buckles, which age softly with the leather. I have a laser engraver, too, so can put people's names on the rolls. I've had parents buying them for their kids when they've finished their apprenticeships. People are really embracing that aspect.

What do you look for when sourcing your leathers?

We're losing a lot of our tanneries in Australia. It's a hard industry, but if we don't use it, we'll lose it. I always source Australian leathers when I can, but otherwise they come from New Zealand. I use full-grain cow and upper leathers and also an oxblood leather from Tasmania. These are the best cuts. I love leaving branding marks and interesting imperfections (as long as it doesn't make weakness) and always try to incorporate them into my work.

Maka leather goods, from $270 for an eight-pocket knife roll, available on commission, 0438 591 631, maka.com.au.

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