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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.

Back to the 1980s at Bennelong

Bennelong restaurant, 1985

Bennelong restaurant, 1985

Crimson carpets cover the floor and walls. Mahogany leather couches, ferns and street-style lamps line the restaurant. Where are you? A Paris bistro? Hogwarts? No. This is Bennelong circa 1985.

This photo of Bennelong 30 years ago is part of a curated online collection put together by the Sydney Opera House in collaboration with the Google Cultural Institute. The collection documents the Opera House's life since its opening in October 1973 and features over a thousand vintage and modern artefacts, such as architectural drawings, interviews, photography and a 360-degree Opera House experience (an immersive short film taking you through the building from dawn to dusk).

One of the 50 exhibits that make up the collection is Food as Culture, which follows the Opera House's edible history. As well as vintage photography of Bennelong restaurant, the exhibit includes video footage of presentations by chefs such as Yotam Ottolenghi and Nigella Lawson, plus original menus.

A catering menu from a 1976 brochure entitled "Convention Centre of the Century" proffers options ranging from $1.50 - $4.75 per person, with dishes such as oyster and chicken vol au vents, "party titbits" (cubed cheese and olives) and prunes and bacon. Or, if you wanted to splash out at $7.50 a head there was a buffet option including Tasmanian scallops au whisky.

The collection was curated by creative director and writer Sam Doust. "The Opera House has become an extraordinary focal point of Australia's cultural history," Doust explains. "No other institution produces so much creative power."

Doust sourced the artefacts from multiple locations, including the Opera House's own Wolanski Collections, the State Library and private collections, as well as photographs and animations that Doust himself created.

Doust explains how Bennelong restaurant is intertwined with the building's architectural history, as it's the only place where you can see the underside of the famous shells. Food has also gained a particular significance to the location, evolving into part of the culture, "the character of Bennelong Point is as much about food as it is about performance." 

See the whole  Food as Culture collection here.

 

 

 

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