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Cruise control: Captain Kent of the Emerald Princess

We caught up with Princess Cruises’ Captain William Kent to talk life on deck, sailing the Red Sea and how to spend 24 hours in Venice.

Midnight in Melbourne style

After-dark glamour calls for monochrome elegance with accents of red and the glimmer of bling. Martinis await.

Recipes by David Thompson

Thai food maestro David Thompson returns to the Sydney restaurant scene with the opening of Long Chim, a standard-bearer for Thailand’s robust street food. Fiery som dtum is just the beginning.

Reader dinner: Quay, Sydney

Join us at Quay for a specially designed dinner by Peter Gilmore to celebrate the launch of the new Gourmet Traveller cookbook.

GT's party hamper

We’ve partnered again with our friends at Snowgoose to bring you the ultimate party hamper. With each item selected by the Gourmet Traveller team, it’s all killer and no filler.

Aerin Lauder’s Morocco

Meet Aerin Lauder; creative director, lifestyle mogul, mother and global traveller. Here she shares her musings on Morocco, the exotic catalyst for her latest collection.

A hotel dedicated to gin is opening in London

A modern-day gin palace, The Distillery, is set to open in the middle of London’s Portobello Market this year.

Dan Hong's salt and pepper calamari with lime aioli

The executive chef shares his salt and pepper squid recipe, including his secret for a crisp, light batter.

Richard Cornish’s year without meat

Bacon by Voodoo bacon

Bacon by Voodoo bacon

Two years ago, food journalist (and GT contributor) Richard Cornish realised he had a problem. Driving home from a friend's house with a plate of still-warm roast lamb in the passenger's seat, he found himself pulling over, unable to wait.

When a school bus drove by, Cornish realised how he looked from the pupils' viewpoint: a man hunched over the back of a ute, tearing lamb apart with his hands on the side of a dirt road. Possibly dribbling. The moment inspired Cornish's "gonzo-style leap" into vegetarianism, and then a book: My Year without Meat.

"There's no Betty Ford clinic for meat addiction," he says, "so I just went cold turkey."

It wasn't an easy year. Beyond missing meat, Cornish spent the year playing defence as friends and chefs alike struggled to understand why he was going without. Australia, after all, is a country of meat-eaters - on average, Cornish says, an Australian consumes 33 kilograms of beef each year. And if we include pork, chicken, game, and fish, we're each eating 110 kilos of meat annually. Historically, this level of consumption is unheard of.

"The great civilisations around the world historically have always had diets based upon whole grains and pulses," he says. "The Aztecs' diet centred on corn and beans; India's, rice and lentils; China's, rice and soy. Complete foods, but we see them as lesser."

During his year without meat, Cornish cherry-picked recipes from across civilisations and cultures to find the right balance of nourishment and flavour. He includes his favourite tips and tricks in My Year without Meat: roasting vegetables in miso butter or sprinkling Spanish migas onto broad bean, asparagus and pea pasta.

Try our meat-free pasta recipes.

He argues that the supermarket-driven industrialisation of farming, with its associated ethical issues of GMO-packed feed and cramped conditions for animals, has changed our relationship with meat, particularly chicken.

"A generation back, chicken was definitely a special meal. For most of Australia's history it was something to be cherished," he says. "Now, we can stuff it down our faces at $4 a kilo. If meat is cheap, there's a reason, and it's not a good one."

In My Year without Meat, Cornish contends that Australia has become too reliant on meat, both at home and in restaurants. Cornish believes some of the country's best cooking is vegetarian, citing David Green's meat-free tasting-menu option at Daylesford's Lake House and Brent Savage's cooking at Potts Point restaurant Yellow as his favourites.

Just shy of a year without meat, Cornish travelled to Andalucía in Spain for work, and temptation overwhelmed him.

"I was considering getting jamón patches for the trip," he says. "I should have."

A single piece of aged jamón Ibérico shattered his resolve: "In a rapid piece of self-reconciliation I knew that my time of self-imposed penance and reflection was over," he writes. "That jamón was a work of art."

He's no longer vegetarian, but you won't find Cornish getting handsy with roast lamb by the side of the road again any time soon. There are fewer impromptu feasts now, he says, as he considers more thoughtfully where his meals come from.

My Year without Meat by Richard Cornish is published by Melbourne University Press, $29.99.


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