This is the quote Ben Shewry and his team from Attica chose for the site they have set up to publicise WAW.
WAW stands for what a wonderful world. And the WAW gathering and WAW talks which are planned for the start of October will be a celebration of this wonder.
Ben Shewry may well be in yet another season of reaping awards and being acknowledged for his culinary greatness, but this humble New Zealander is far from being an egocentric rockstar chef.
No stranger to challenge and hard times, in setting up WAW, Shewry was inspired by Copenhagen’s René Redzepi, chef, co-owner of Noma, and founder of MAD, a not-for-profit organisation which seeks to build a community of cooks, purveyors and thinkers with an appetite for knowledge and a desire to improve the food industry.
To this end, Redzepi and now Shewry have invited chefs from around the world to participate in a series of conversations designed to inspire, energise and help people in the food community and beyond.
It is the hope of the passionate people behind WAW and MAD that by bringing people together to share and explore ideas, that we will be reminded that “kindness, love and integrity will always win the battle against negativity, and of what we can accomplish in this life when we work together to make it happen.”
Yesterday was yet another golden day in the life of Jo Rittey and a day which reminded me what a wonderful world it is. I sat enthralled for an hour listening to one of the most acclaimed food critics of our time, Ruth Reichl, restaurant critic for the LA Times, the New York Times, last editor of Gourmet magazine and the author of several memoirs and books.
Ruth maintains that food could be a way of making sense of the world. She believes that our food choices are like our handwriting, they tell us a lot about who we are. In other words, it is a way of announcing who we are to the world. This could be through our menu choices, whether we are adventurous or careful or enlightened eaters. Or it could be about our ethical choices and the role which food plays within the greater scheme of things.
With these thoughts in my mind, I walked down to Joy FM and co-hosted the food show, Cravings, with Pete Dillon. I had the pleasure of chatting to Ben Shewry about the recent, Best Restaurant in Australia, in the Gourmet Traveler Awards and the aforementioned WAW gathering.
Once again I was struck by the passion and commitment to good food that the chefs I have been lucky enough to speak to reveal.
A couple of weeks ago when I talked to Annie Smithers out in Trentham, I was astounded that she would describe the incredible food she produces as ‘just good food’ and she laughed at my description of cooking as an art form, when to her, it is just a trade.
I drove out to Trentham today to take a photo of Annie for next month’s Northsider Conversation with a Chef and she rolled her eyes when she told me she had been invited to tomorrow night’s Age Good Food Awards. She almost sighed when she confessed that she was in the running for a hat for Du Fermier, her restaurant on High Street, Trentham. That wasn’t the idea, she muttered.
If food is a way of making sense of the world, these thoughtful and talented chefs and writers are giving all of their energy to the cause.
And I feel lucky to be part of the world they are creating.