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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.

The six golden rules of an all-you-can-eat buffet

Dress for action. Assess the target. Launch a measured attack. Seasoned trencherperson Kelly Eng serves up the buffet's rules of engagement.

The most attractive aspect of a buffet - that of indulging unparalleled greed - often blinds people to the numerous threats. Heartburn, humiliation and injury are just the tip of the iceberg. Yet, with some simple preparation, it's possible to emerge from a buffet suave and sated. Here's my game plan, wrought from many a year in the all-you-can-eat trencherman trenches.

Dress to ingest. No corsets, shapewear, pencil skirts, belts or any garment that restricts expansion or movement. A tight, structured shirt will prevent nimble and rapid canapé retrieval, while a pencil skirt or, for the gents, a kilt will impede long strides to and around the buffet table.

Follow the smorga sutra. Pace is everything. It's not a sprint, it's an ultra-marathon. Whatever you may tell yourself, there's a finite amount of gastrointestinal tract and, in order to digest enough sashimi to feed a small village, you will need to drip-feed it over the course of up to several hours. To avoid system overload, try the art of tantric gluttony whereby a single olive can be the object of 30 minutes' contemplative reverie instead of a one-second feeding frenzy: admire the glint of its lustrous skin, its yum-yum curves and almond-stuffed orifice.

Reconnaissance is vital. Adopt a demure expression and casually survey the offerings. Betray no emotion while you identify the buffet's high-value targets (typically proteins including ocean molluscs and large crustaceans). A dozen oysters cost $12, a dozen bread rolls $2. It doesn't take Stephen Hawking to work out which to prey upon. Take your priority targets and conduct a rigorous SWOT analysis on the merits of, say, grilled scampi versus sachertorte or lamb rack versus Peking duck. Calculate the net worth (weight of food x quantity of food ÷ actual capacity) and draw your conclusions: sachertorte and lamb rack not feasible. Dang. Grieve. Move on.

Exhibit dominant body language. The buffet line is fraught with potential conflict - people pushing dinner plates into your back and queue jumpers wielding steak knives - the threat of carnage ever close. Exhibiting subtle yet dominant body language will help convey the "don't mess with me" message. Stand erect with your hands on your hips, legs akimbo and keep your eyes on the pies. Occupy space both horizontally and vertically - consider a top hat, foot stool or shoulder pads for added height and width.

Take a pit stop. Five plates in and you're flagging. A well-timed trip to the bathroom to refocus (perhaps through a micro-sleep or five minutes' meditation atop the cistern) may just prompt the internal reshuffle needed for one last selection of your greatest hits.

Takeaway. You've come this far - to the victor the spoils. It is your buffet-given right to smuggle out food that you neither need nor want. Study magicians' misdirection techniques: pulling a white dove from a waiter's ear can distract them while a whole wheel of brie goes in your pocket.

On Sunday morning you jolt into consciousness. "Please, god, let it have been just a dream."

Dear god, no it wasn't. You really did do all that, and at your in-laws' wedding anniversary bash, too. Oh, the shame. If only you'd followed these six guiding principles. Unfortunately, you had to learn the hard way.

While "Flight of the Bumblebee" blared frenziedly in your head, you kneed your mother-in-law for the last prawn vol-au-vent, brandished a breadstick threateningly at a child and toppled backwards into the chocolate fountain. As security escorted you out, you declared, "Je ne regrette rien!" and shook your chocolate-covered fist at a roomful of traumatised diners. The restaurant issued you with a restraining order. They didn't appreciate you running back inside to sweep a Cupid statuette into the maw of your sports bag.

If it's any comfort, you're far from the first person whose Mr or Mrs Hyde has been unleashed by unlimited self-service.

It is better to have nibbled than to have gnashed. But now you know better: it's not the last supper.

The impulsive maggot of gluttony has metamorphosed into a buffet-fly.

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