Category Archives: 3 3 and 3 (creative people)

3, 3 and 3: Ian Parmenter, TV cook/writer/broadcaster

Happy New Year, everyone, and may 2014 bring you new joys, new and exciting challenges, new ways of looking up and looking down.

DSCN3932My first 3, 3 3 guest for 2014 is Ian Parmenter, OAM, who defies any neat label describing what he does, has done and might well do!

He is possibly best known as the presenter/producer of the award-winning ABCTV series Consuming Passions, which was aired in Australia and 15 other countries between 1992 and 2002. He is also a noted food, wine and travel writer and broadcaster; founding Festival Director of food/wine/beer festival Tasting Australia; and the author of 12 recipe collections (most recently All Consuming Passions) and an award-winning collection of memoirs, Sheer Bottled Bliss.

Last year I had the pleasure of visiting Ian in Margaret River, the food and wine capital of Western Australia, where he now lives. He has certainly made his mark on the community since the seachange move from Perth—for example, as a founder member of the Margaret River Food Group, which established the first farmers’ markets in WA’s South West. (If you’re visiting the region, the Margaret River markets on Saturday morning are a must!) As WA ambassador for the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, he was also instrumental in establishing the Margaret River Primary School’s kitchen garden program.

So over now to Ian, and some of the things he loves.

3 things I love about what I do

IP TA glass_00011. I love spreading the word about real food. This has happened as a result of presenting Consuming Passions on ABCTV for 10 years, which allowed me to explore food and food culture overseas, as well as in Australia, and enabled me to meet the best chefs and producers. More recently I’ve been working with Hollywood Private Hospital in an attempt to change hospital food. It’s worked. Our Reinventing the Meal project has led to the hospital being voted best in Australia for its food and food delivery by an independent organisation, Press Ganey.

2. The success of Consuming Passions also has allowed me to spend more time on cookery, something that I’ve been doing now for almost six—yes, six—decades. I started in my mother’s kitchen, then learned more from our Belgian housekeeper when we lived in Brussels, and although I’ve never trained as a chef, I’ve spent plenty of time cooking and eating. It’s long been my passion. In fact, I’ve worked out that I’m coming up to the day when I will have consumed 75,000 meals (not including the odd Cherry Ripe from the hotel mini-bar). Frankly, I think I enjoy preparing food as much as eating it.

3. I started out as a journalist before going into TV production. In recent years I have gone back to writing for newspapers and magazines, as well as doing photography. Also in recent times I’ve wound back my event management activities and public appearances, enabling me to spend more time travelling with my partner, Ann, than with a bunch of workmates, lovely though they are… And I get real pleasure from putting together stories with pictures.

3 places I’d like to visit or revisit

1. France. It is said that one should never return to a place where one had ‘the best time’. To this I say: pish and tosh. It doesn’t matter how many times I visit France, I simply adore the country. Paris is my favourite city, and while I think there are plenty of places within and outside the country that do better food, I find the culture irresistible. Mind you, I think it helps that I speak French fluently. Although England was the place of my birth, and where I spent most of my formative years, I’ve always felt more at home in France, perhaps because I have Huguenot (and possibly Basque) in my blood.

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2. Crete. I spent four weeks there this year. What a fabulous island, with a great history. We did a two-week archaeology and gastronomy tour with two fabulous guides: Heinrich Hall, a German academic with an Irish accent (don’t ask), and a Cretan Adonis called Vangelis (seriously). Despite the heat, HH always wore the same clothes: corduroy velvet trousers, sports jacket with leather elbows, lace-up shoes. Twinning archaeology with gastronomy was a very good call, since I have a low tolerance threshold for sarcophaguses. We spent two weeks in the tiny village of Douliana, inland and away from the tourist traps, and at a perfect time of year, Greek Easter, which lasts a week. We felt part of the village and were invited to no fewer than three Greek Easter family lunches. Forget Greek weddings; this is the real deal. The invitation we accepted was from a family of winemakers, who made really fabulous wine, which they were selling for $7 a bottle. We made so many really good friends that we’re going back there.

3. Spain. In particular northern Spain—Basque country on one side, where you find San Sebastian on the Atlantic coast, and Catalonia on the other, home of Barcelona (or, if you prefer, Bar-thay-lona in Spanish but not, apparently, in Catalan), and, between them, the wine-growing region of Rioja (pronounced Ree-ocka). Not only are the food and wine superb but so is the architecture, old and new. Add to that the region’s music, which is to be discovered everywhere in the cities. Walking the back streets of Barcelona, I heard what I thought was the sound of a CD being played in someone’s apartment. Rounding a corner, I discovered it to be a busker sitting on the steps of an old church, playing a Mozart horn concerto backed by a recorded orchestral backing track—a kind of upscale karaoke. Simply brilliant. And of course a walking tour of San Sebastian tapas bars—called Pinxtos bars—is absolutely the best way to enjoy an evening.

3 favourite ingredients

(Foods that contribute to dishes rather than stand-alone favourite foods, which include crab, soft French cheeses, and homemade vanilla ice-cream.)

34 degrees South olives 61. Olive oil. There is only one kind of olive oil and that’s cold-pressed. Forget terminology such as pure, light, lite (aaaargh!); only what we commonly call extra-virgin is the real deal. I use around a litre a week and it’s produced by my next-door neighbour, Sharon Dunford of 34 Degrees South. It’s beautiful. About the only dish I don’t use it in is mayonnaise, because I find it too strongly flavoured.

2. Chicken. I find this the most versatile of meats. I never use breast and wonder why restaurants do so. Thigh is much better, easier to prepare correctly without drying out, and I think has a better texture. I also buy chicken necks and frames for stock. A regular kitchen occupation on Saturday is making really good stock, which I don’t believe can be made with just vegetables and herbs (sorry vegetarians!).

3. Chocolate. There is a saying that strength is defined as the ability to break a bar of chocolate into several pieces…and then eat only one piece. I’m not just a chocophile; I love including it in my homemade ice-creams, and a 70% dark chocolate is just perfect in the Belgian dessert Dame Blanche (white lady): vanilla ice-cream topped with hot chocolate sauce (including Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur) and toasted nuts. OMG, so good.

More from Ian Parmenter:

Regular contributions to Selector magazine
Profile article in Life Choices
Many recipes on YouTube

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3, 3 and 3: Ash Gibson Greig, music composer

b303_AshGG1This month’s 3, 3 and 3 guest is Perth-based composer Ash Gibson Greig, who specialises in music for film, television and theatre.

You might not have heard his name, but chances are you’ve heard Ash’s music. His work for television has screened nationally and internationally—some fifty programs or series including Who Do You Think You Are (Australian series), Jandamarra’s War, Comic Book Heroes, Desert War, Yagan, Singapore 1942, Murdoch, Leaky Boat, Jack the Ripper: Prime Suspect, SAS: The Search for Warriors, Death of the Megabeasts, The Secret History of Eurovision, Time Trackers, Desperately Seeking Doctors and The Australian Wine Revolution.

He has also composed and produced scores for a string of award-winning short films, as well as several features, and is well known for his work in the Perth theatre scene.

Ash’s name appeared in yesterday’s announcement of the 2013 AACTA (AFI) Award nominees, for the documentary Desert War—his third AACTA nomination. He has received multiple nominations for WA Screen Awards, and APRA/Australian Guild of Screen Composers awards, recently winning a WA Screen Award for Best Original Music (longform) for Jandamarra’s War. He has also been the recipient of a WA Screen Award (Excellence in Craft—Music Composition) for Gallipoli Submarine, an Australian Guild of Screen Composers Award (Best Music, Short Film) for Iron Bird and a WA Screen Award (Best Score) for the short film Boxing Day.

Ash is one of the busiest people I know, and I’m delighted he’s taken time to talk about some of the things he loves.

3 things I love about what I do

1. It’s easy to take for granted the freedom that my occupation affords me. My wife always says, ‘You have such a good life, being able to get up whenever you want’, which is true, but of course it doesn’t take into account that when I have deadlines (which is regularly) every day of the week becomes a work day!

2. One of my favourite parts of the process is making final changes. I’ve gone through the procrastination while trying to start, the potential stress of first feedback, and the few/many notes and changes following that. Now it’s time to take it in as a whole, tweak what I need to, and cross off the final couple of notes that mean the director and producers are happy. It’s also bittersweet, as it might be one of the last times I have to listen to a score that I’ve spent quite a lot of time on before it disappears into the annals of projects past.

3. Hearing a score or song performed by musicians or singers is also a huge buzz. It doesn’t happen often for me, as I usually create my scores on a computer (augmented by some soloists), but the times that it does are spine-tingling. A couple of highlights are: the excitement of hearing some jazz band arrangements I’d done for the opening of the State Theatre Centre of WA, the raw power of the horns as it all came together as I’d heard in my head; and the satisfaction of hearing some songs I’d written for an independent musical sung for the first time and fitting the vocal ranges of the chorus and soloists perfectly.

3 places I’d like to visit or revisit

1. I’ve always said that I must visit Africa before I die. I’ve been to Egypt, but the vastness, the dramatic contrasts in landscape, and the diverse peoples in the southern half of Africa captivate me. Whether it’s South Africa, Kenya, Botswana, Namibia—anywhere where there is nature and animals appeals to me immensely.

2. There is something about nature that gives me energy and peace, and mountains in particular make me feel as close to some form of spirituality as anything I’ve experienced. I tend to tire quickly in cities, but have plenty of hiking energy when in nature. I adore Switzerland, but I haven’t visited North America yet. Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, or anywhere in the Canadian Rockies or wilds would fill me with awe.

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3. My wife was born in Japan and I’ve visited Japan twice. I have so much more to explore. A land of such dramatic contrasts in every conceivable way, a country and people that are endlessly fascinating, strange and beautiful. And the food is the best food in the world!

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3 favourite film composers

1. This is a hard one, as I love so many, but Star Wars has to be in the top three. It brought orchestral scores back into favour in Hollywood, its themes are the most memorable of any movie in history and every single note John Williams composed is masterful and inspiring.

2. American Beauty affected me deeply as a movie and a score. I adore Thomas Newman’s music. The way he used the piano, marimba, percussion and ethnic string instruments created a score as unique as it was influential. This score cannot be mistaken for any other, and added another dimension to an already excellent film. It is modern film scoring at its finest.

3. Jon Brion’s score for P.T. Anderson’s film Punch Drunk Love is another one that impressed me because of its sheer creativity. Anderson’s unique style in this quirky film needed a quirky score, and the mixture of percussive textures, harmonium, and electronic and orchestral elements was the perfect complement. It impressed me so much that it influenced my own score for my first indie feature film.

You can find out more about Ash’s work on the following sites:

Website The Music of Ash Gibson Greig

IMDb entry

Amanda3 J

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3, 3 and 3: Amy Wiseman, dancer

Welcome to a new feature on looking up/looking down, through which I’ll be introducing some fascinating, creative people and inviting them to talk about things they love.

Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements
will never do any harm to the world.
—Voltaire

Amy Wiseman

Amy Wiseman. Photo by Darren Smith

This month, 3, 3 and 3 welcomes dancer Amy Wiseman, co-founder (with Carly Armstrong and Jessica Lewis) of Unkempt Dance collective. Unkempt’s Tea for Three was performed to a sold-out season at the Adelaide Fringe 2011 and nominated for Best Dance Award; won the People’s Choice Award at Canberra’s Short + Sweet Dance Festival 2011; and was developed into a full-length work, Teahouse, for Fringe World in Perth 2012. Unkempt has secured a Seed Residency to begin a new work this month, and will finish 2013 with a second development of The Square Piece with choreographer Rhiannon Newton.

Amy has also danced with Australian electro-pop band Empire of the Sun since 2009, touring throughout Australia, Europe, America, Mexico and South-East Asia. She is a member of the STRUT dance board and a regular contributor to dancewest magazine in Perth (acting editor in 2013).

Over to Amy…

3 things I love about what I do

1. I love that it rarely feels like work. I get to do what I love: move, explore, research, exercise, plan, laugh, write and play.

2. The versatility. I love that I am always learning more and more skills and building a diverse career. The modern-day dance artist has to wear so many hats to ensure their work is made, then funded, then seen: performer, choreographer, writer, editor, teacher, project manager, producer, arts facilitator, even a techie on occasion.

3. I love that I am never bored. There is always a different project coming up, a workshop providing a new approach to moving, a new concept to begin making movement with or writing about, or a collaboration with others that makes you think in a different way. These changes and shifts happen every day, week and month…if it wasn’t so delightful, it would be exhausting!

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Sometimes your day involves getting into a big cement tub for the sake of art! Unkempt Dance in Teahouse. Photo by Darren Smith

3 places I’d like to visit or revisit

1. Canada. I have always felt a strange connection to this vast stretch of land. Perhaps it’s curiosity about a place so different in geography to Australia, yet with the same reputation for natural beauty. Perhaps it’s my fascination with snow and admiration for survival in freezing climes. Or perhaps it’s just my love of maple syrup and secret hope to meet a moose.

2.Tasmania. I have visited very briefly, but this is one place I would like to explore—hire a car and do it properly. Tasmania’s wild and unspoilt natural landscapes are among  the richest in Australia. I plan to immerse myself.

3. New York. Always New York. I’ve been fortunate to have visited many times, but my love of this hustling bustling city is never satiated. There’s something captivating about Manhattan’s compact living—how over time it has shifted and morphed in style, according to prosperity and culture. When I’m there, I sometimes imagine being an old building, witnessing the streets gradually changing over hundreds of years—history on a grand scale but also at a personal level. New York is a place where you really do marvel at the human species.

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There’s something about windows. And fire escapes. Soho, New York, May 2013

3 favourite choreographers

I found this really difficult. I’ve been lucky to have had a taste of many artists’ work in Australia and overseas, but usually it’s only one show or piece and I don’t get the opportunity to compare or get an overall sense of the choreographer’s career. It’s different from, say, a favourite author: if you like one novel you can pick up a stack and indulge yourself. But you really need to see a dance performance live for the full impact, and that’s not always possible, especially from Perth. So instead I am going to list three works that have blown me away, and whose choreographers/collaborators I want to pursue.

1. Hofesh Shechter Company’s Uprising (Juli Dans Festival, Amsterdam, July 2008)
‘The work is choreographed with such verve that its effect is almost ecstatic…it is an arrestingly powerful piece’—Judith Mackrell, The Guardian, October 2007

2. Lawn by Splinter Group, a trio of contemporary dancers Gavin Webber, Grayson Millwood and Vincent Crowley (Perth International Arts Festival, Perth, February 2006)
‘A perfectly crafted horror fantasy [where] everything works; the timing, the rhythm and the images’—Berlin Zeitung

3. Körper by Sacha Waltz and Guests (Melbourne International Arts Festival, Melbourne, October 2009)
Körper contains amazing, distilled moments that resonate, despite the noise that surrounds them’—Bron Batten, Australian Stage, October 2009

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Fountain meets sky. I’m a fan of clouds, and often take sky photos while on my travels. Versailles, France, July 2012

To keep up with shows and events, please ‘like’ Unkempt Dance on Facebook

Coming up…

In Short Image by Darren Smith_136FCD10-347C-11E3-A05A005056A302E6Unkempt Dance in association with STRUT presents:
In Short (part of the Eyes Wide open dance platform)
A curious collection by emerging dance artists
8–10 November 2013, 6pm
Studio 3, Top Level, King Street Arts Centre, Perth
Bookings here

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