Management training meets the kitchen

25 August, 2008

Yeah, I know, I’m not a very handsome bloke.

Still, I fancy myself as an amateur chef, which is why I enjoyed the opportunity I had recently to cook in a commercial kitchen as part of a team-building exercise we did at the Valley.

I wrote an article on my experiences, Management training meets the kitchen which was published in the latest edition of the Australian Institute of Training & Development journal. Looks pretty good, huh?

Thanks to Vin Lowe for his great photos.


A great start (not)

1 November, 2007


Seeing as I’ve just clocked up an unwanted Personal Best in the body weight department, I thought it was time I gave Wakes’ personal trainer a try.

This morning was my first full session and I was pleased to get through the whole hour alive. Just.

For the rest of the day I felt like I’d spent last night alone in a cell with a guy called ‘Bubba’.

Part of the PT routine is to keep a daily food diary, and I was determined to be on my best behaviour. Surely I could go at least one day without falling off the wagon?

Well, the good intentions lasted about one hour. As soon as I got to work we had a management meeting, mainly to pat each other on the back for last Saturday’s brilliant Cox Plate. At the end of the meeting, the boss insisted we crack open a few bottles of champagne to celebrate our success. And insisted each of us join in.

So there you go – just about the first entry in my food diary is a 10.30am glass of champagne.


Grill’d steps up to the plate

3 September, 2007


A few weeks ago I wrote about our trip to Greasy Joe’s and my son’s experience with the brilliantly named Fat Bastard burger.

After that visit, I thought Greasy Joe’s was the be-all-and-end-all of Melbourne burgers.

That was until Saturday night, when Wakes, myself and the Jones kiddies, well lubricated after a massive binge at the Caulfield races, decided we were ‘starving’ and that a burger was in order. And pronto. Things got off on the right foot when we snagged an executive car spot right out the front of Grill’d’s Brunswick Street branch. And they got even better when I checked out the menu.

I settled on a Mighty Melbourne burger, (grilled 100% lean beef, tasty cheese, crispy trim bacon, free range egg, a couple of slices of beetroot, with salad, relish and herbed mayo, a bargain at $10.50). Plus a serve of fries. Of course. All those Crownies at the races are bound to make you a little more peckish than normal. Wakes must have had a few drinks as well; her order was the same as mine.

Anyway, from what I remember, it was bloody fantastic. And when I wore the same suit to work today, there was not a drop of spillage in sight.

Changing of the guard

23 August, 2007

Restaurant Review:
Greasy Joe’s, 64 Acland Street, St Kilda

Fat Bastard Burger

In his seminal book on being a man (cleverly titled Manhood), Steve Biddulph talks about the need for there to be a changing of the guard in family dynamics; a time where the patriarch of the family can sit back, take a deep breath, and notionally hand over responsibility for the ongoing wellbeing of his family to the next generation.

Personally, I had imagined that the time for me to hand the reins over to young Timothy Michael Watson Clarke would be years away. He’s only in first form after all.

A recent trip to Greasy Joe’s in St Kilda has forced me to rethink my horizons.

Young TMWC took one look at the trendy menu and proclaimed, ‘I’m having the Fat Bastard Burger.’

For the uninitiated, the Greasy Joe’s Fat Bastard Burger comprises triple beef, triple cheese, triple bacon, mustard, mayo, onions and NO SALAD. Plus fries or wedges (of course). And all for a very reasonable $18.50. Those who know me will appreciate that I am pretty handy on the fang, but the thought of a GJFBB was just too much for me to contemplate. And I didn’t even have a hangover.

So I let young TMWC steal the glory, all the time thinking there was no way he’d get through all of that food. Teach the young bloke a lesson and all that. I ordered myself a more sedate Chili Burger (grilled beef, diced jalapeno chilli, salsa and melted cheese , $11.80) and a Cooper’s Pale Ale, and sat back and waited smugly in the winter sun.

Greasy Joe’s is a Melbourne institution. The staff are efficient, friendly and hip, and the speakers belt out some excellent tunes. If you’re trying to impress visitors, the outdoor tables have views of Luna Park, and classic green trams rattle past frequently – you can’t get any more Melbourne than that. The menu informs you that you are on St Kilda time, so relax, great food takes time. Relax we did, enjoying the constant stream of human traffic, some specimens looking very much worse the wear on this Sunday lunchtime.

‘Fat Bastard!’ announced the waitress as she slammed the massive burger down in front of the lad. (‘If not now, he will be soon’, I thought). Tim’s eyes lit up and he instantly went to work.

For the record, my chili burger was magnificent, the chunky and flavoursome meat pattie perfectly complemented by the sharp jalapenos and tangy relish.

Meanwhile the boy ploughed through his meal, amazing all around him with his eating prowess. In between mouthfuls, he proclaimed the burger to be ‘excellent’, or at least I think that’s what he said. After an eternity, he pushed the plate away, apologised for leaving two small wedges, and proclaimed himself ready for dessert.

Luckily for us, the cake shops of Acland Street were just around the corner . . .

Next time, Tim has his heart set on the Triple Bypass Breakfast – three eggs, three sausages, three rashers of bacon, three hash browns, onion rings and porterhouse steak ($23.50). I wonder if I’ll be up to the challenge?

Happy Birthday Tim!

You meet all sorts . . .

10 August, 2007

I’m standing at that little kiosk on Platform 5 at Flinders St Station, minding my own business (salting my potato cakes, if you must know), when I hear a voice right behind me.

“Are sausages healthy?”

I turned to see a normal looking man in his 20s.


“Are sausages healthy?”

“No mate, sausages aren’t healthy” (especially those greasy, thick jobs they sell at the kiosk in question).

“Oh . . . Well, how about fish? Is that healthy?” he says, pointing at a piece of greasy fried fish in the window.

“Fish is healthy mate, but not when it’s fried.” (or when it’s been sitting lukewarm in that window for 5 hours).

“Oh”, he says thoughtfully, staring into the distance at nothing in particular. I take my chance to escape his weird interrogation.

As I hurry off along the platform, I hear him calling after me. “How about curried sausages? Are they healthy?”

Sort of a culinary version of Turet’s Syndrome by the sound of it

Breakfast Blog

2 July, 2007

Thanks to Malcolm for this guest post.

One of the pleasures in life I insist on every weekend, once, if not twice, is breakfast out. Nothing better than to have generous plate of scrambled eggs and whatever else, a couple of coffees and catch up on what’s happening in the world with a thorough read of the paper. I have my preferred cafes of course but my most-favoured is Mario’s on Brunswick St, Fitzroy. Here’s what I had last Saturday.


But it’s important to keep up to date with new cafes around Melbourne, and for that I recommend the second best blog around (after Bruce’s of course) – The Breakfast Blog.

Would Wakes Eat This Sushi?

14 June, 2007

Chocolate Sushi Those who know my better half knows she loves chocolate but refuses to be in the same room as seafood.

How do you think she would go with this?

My vote is NO.