Meet a #Canberra Foodie

Meet a #Canberra Foodie – Amanda Whitley (@HerCanberra)

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Anyone who follows social media in our fair city would be aware of the popularity and success of the HerCanberra website. This website is “written by Canberra women, for Canberra women” and it is written extremely well. Although the website has had a couple of guest posts from token males (like this one) it has become another good example of Canberra’s amazingly smart, hard-working, talented and outspoken women and is highly-recommended reading.

HerCanberra features the voices of local writers, the website posts daily about topics of interest to the Capital’s female population. From ‘what’s on’ to reviews of places to eat; social commentary to health and fitness; beauty and nutrition to books and movies; fashion and motherhood to recipes and home style; if it’s part of ‘her’ life you’ll find it on HerCanberra. If you’ve ever wanted to know who’s behind it, well that would be Amanda Whitley. Amanda jokes that she manages HerCanberra in any ‘spare time’ she might have amongst all her other responsibilities and pursuits yet she manages to attend and investigate an amazing array of Canberra events, openings, celebrations and community festivals, sharing her love for our city with her growing readership both here and interstate. I recently met with Amanda at one of her favourite places in Canberra, Manuka. She shared some secrets about what interests her and what keeps her busy life on track.

Amanda Whitley, Who are you? I founded HerCanberra in January 2011 after the premature birth of my youngest daughter led me to leave the public service and start dabbling in the odd blog or two (including being the first site moderator for Mamamia – but I gave that up after refereeing one two many argument over c-sections and childcare). These days, I manage HerCanberra in any ‘spare time’ that’s not spent wrangling two gorgeous little girls, instructing Zumba, or eating. I’ve also done everything from present the tv news to operate a stop and go sign!

herCanberra team

Amanda Whitley with some of the HerCan team at the 2013 Christmas party –  100 people attended (it was sold out).

Age? 41

Where do you live? Narrabundah

How long have you been writing? I’ve been writing HerCanberra since January 2011 and had a personal blog before that as well as contributing to MamaMia. I worked as Mamamia’s first site moderator and met many Canberra women while I was doing that work. The idea for HerCanberra was something I came up knowing there was a real growing market and demand for stories and news that would be of interest to Canberra women.

Other hobbies? When I’m not herding children I teach Zumba with Latin Beat Fitness and I dance with Koco Loco. I also enjoy cooking and reading.

Apple or Android? We are a dedicated Apple family!

Car/bus/bike? Well, we have two kids so it has to be the car most days to ferry the kids around.

Favourite TV show? MasterChef Australia

Favourite devices?  iPhone, MacBook Air (which is my mobile office)

Can we take a peek at your homescreen?

amanda iphone home screen

Most-used App?  Facebook without a doubt.

Favourite social media?  Facebook.

What’s the first thing you check online each morning? Facebook notifications, emails, website, Canberra Times.

What do you worry about at night? All the things I have to do the next day, because there’s only one of me.

Most exciting recent news? I was selected as one of the 100 #Humanbrochure particpants by VisitCanberra and am really looking forward to showcasing our beautiful city to the rest of Australia and the world.

Ideal career? I’m doing it! Websites are the new magazines and I always wanted to work in a good magazine. I published my first magazine when I was ten years old – it was called “Wombat”! 🙂

Recent book you recommend? I love crime novels and really enjoyed A dark and twisted tide by Sharon Bolton.

Recent online video you laughed at?  Can’t really think of a video I laughed over…but the ‘DYAC’ blog gets me every time…on the first one, I kinda smile, then by the 10th I’m rolling on the floor. Damn you auto correct!

Favourite food?  86 is my current favourite place to eat in Canberra. I recommend you take your wife their on a date night Elias! Make sure you tell them you’re on a date and ask to be seated at the kitchen bench where you can watch the chefs, cooks and staff work and interact, you will be entertained.

Amanda and HerCanberra can be found on Facebook or Twitter …or listen in to hear Amanda on Radio 2CC at 6:45am each Tuesday to hear what’s on the minds of women in Canberra!

Meet TWO #Canberra Foodies: Ginger Gorman (@freshchilli) & Donnie Gomez (@hairycanary)

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Now for something completely different! This interview is with an amazing Canberra couple whose life together has been full of unpredictability, adventure and a shared love of their family, work and food. Ginger Gorman would be a name familiar to anyone who listens to ABC 666 in Canberra as she is a regular broadcaster, producer and writer. She is also passionate about social media and lectures on social media at the University of Canberra. Her husband Donnie Gomez is also a fascinating man (I’ve just become a fan of his science fiction movie blog). After reading this great story written by Megan Doherty in the Canberra Times I wondered if Ginger and Donnie were destined to meet and fall in love and marry and have kids through some sort of cosmic destiny that brings people who love food together. After this interview I’m starting to become certain of it. Anyway, read the story here first, and then enjoy the rest of the interview (which unlike all the other interviews so far, is in stereo, with Ginger’s and Donnie ‘s matching answers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

ginger and don

Ginger and Donnie: Who are you?

Ginger: I’m an ABC radio presenter, reporter and producer, based in Canberra. During my media career I’ve worked for ABC Local Radio, Triple J, Radio Netherlands Worldwide and Fairfax Community Newspapers. I also occasionally write freelance articles. I specialise in creative boundary-pushing radio and social justice journalism and have won multiple awards for my work in print and radio journalism. Another passion is social media, especially its integration with traditional media.

I have an international background and have lived in numerous countries including: Thailand, England, United States, The Netherlands, Ireland and Germany. More about me here and here.

Donnie: I’m a husband, father, civil servant and former postdoc with 10 years research experience in microbiology, invasion biology and population genetics. I’m currently undertaking a Masters degree in Science Communication at the Australian National University’s Centre for the Public Awareness of Science.

Don loves a good yarn and is interested in how fiction and narrative can shape public perceptions and attitudes towards science. He is currently writing up his research on the influence of the television show Breaking Bad on public attitudes towards science. How cool is that?!

Age? Ginger: 37. I usually forget my age. Honestly, I do. I inadvertently told The Canberra Times I was 37 when I was 36. It never seems like the most important or relevant information about a person. Donnie: 36.

Where do you live?  We live in the inner north. Last year we bought a cute little ex-Govie near the shops, a lovely school and the park. And we have four sets of amazing neighbours next door and across the road. All the kids play together and we (the street) hold Happy Hour for the parents about once a month on a Sunday. You just could not ask for a better street or community.

How long have you been blogging?  Ginger: I’ve been writing for more than a decade and it’s one of my great passions but the truth is life is so busy with our two little girls, it’s rare I actually get to write print articles or blog in the way I’d like to. In a few years when our girls are a bit older, I’ll get back to it. I often write whole articles in my head, but never get to write it down. Donnie: I’ve been blogging ( since 2012, but took a one year hiatus after the birth of our second child in 2013. I really should get back into it.

Other hobbies? Ginger: Outside work I’m a wife and mum, junk collector, op shopper, fabric hoarder, writer, talker, reader, cook, eater, retro frock and art lover. Donnie: Gaming: PC, PS3 and PS4.

Apple or Android? Ginger: Apple. My husband converted me. Donnie: Apple 🙂

Car/bus/bike? Ginger: At the moment we have two children under four. Therefore it’s often easiest to drive. But in an ideal world it would be tram, train, bike or walking. In Amsterdam I biked everywhere and it was a joy. City planners, where are our trams and safe bike lanes? Donnie: Bus – a great way to catch up on some reading and/or sleep.

Favourite TV show? Ginger: The Killing. Donnie: Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones.

Favourite devices? Ginger: My tablet. Donnie: iPad and iPhone

Can we take a peek at your home screen?


Ginger's homescreen


donnies homescreen

Most-used app? Ginger: Social media and traditional media apps are the ones I look first thing in the morning and regularly during the day. I might also sneak in a look if the kids wake me up at 2 or 3 am and I can’t get back to sleep. Whenever I can I squeeze in podcasts too. My favourites are from public radio in the States. They make some of the best radio in the world: This American Life, Radiolab and 99% Invisible. Donnie: Safari.

Favourite social media? Ginger: Twitter. I’m interested in the incredible ideas-generating force Twitter has become. If you follow smart, informed people from across the spectrum you can essentially collate your own newspaper of breaking news and ideas. At its best, it can be an exciting and dynamic platform. At its worst, the trolls are vicious and persistent. You can follow me @freshchilli  Donnie: Facebook user and Twitter consumer (@hairycanary).

What’s the first thing online you check each morning? Ginger: Social media and traditional media. Donnie: It’s a tossup between The Age and the SMH. These are also the last things I check online before going to bed.

What do you worry about at night? Ginger: I always worry about social justice issues. I’m concerned about those of us who are not treated fairly and perhaps don’t have the resources, education or advantages that others in society have. That’s what I tend to focus on in my radio work. On a more personal level, I worry about climate change. If the planet is set to warm four degrees in my kids’ lifetime, what will life be like for them in the decades to come? Will there be food and water security? What kind of health issues and civil unrest will arise because the planet is warming? What kind of world am I – are we – leaving our children? Donnie: Getting through the evening without the kids waking us up. Ginger and I are much nicer people when we have enough sleep.

Most exciting recent news? Ginger: In 2006 I was the first ABC person to ever go on a World Press Institute fellowship in the United States. In June WPI holds its 50th anniversary celebrations in Minnesota. Former fellows from all over the world are returning for a four-day conference focusing on covering conflict and reporting in restricted zones. Some of these folk are extraordinary. For example, they may have risked their lives in non-democratic countries to report on power abuse and corruption. I’ve got plenty to learn and discuss with them. I can’t wait. Donnie: We have just moved our children into the same bedroom. We have been putting it off for a few months of fear of more interrupted sleep, but the transition has excelled our expectations. Better yet, we have our spare room/study again!

Ideal career? Ginger: I’d love to present a weekly national radio show based around collaborating with the community using social media. Donnie: I’m really interested in in science policy and engagement and would love to be involved in work understanding how to influence policy and public perceptions about science issues like emerging technologies and engaging young people in fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Recent book you recommend? Ginger: I didn’t read it recently but my favourite book of all time is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I also love Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief. Donnie: Michel Faber’s Under the Skin. A dark, satirical story of an alien that seduces and abducts men to feed her own kind. I can’t wait to see how Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast and Birth) interprets the text on film and captures the novel’s satirical narrative on identity, gender and humanity.

Recent online video you laughed at? Ginger: I’m an issues-based media consumer, so I don’t really spend time watching light hearted videos. For example I’ve been thinking about why photojournalism is an important part of telling a story and I came across this powerful piece, which says it all: Donnie: C’mon…it’s funny! Right!?

Favourite food? Ginger: We make Vietnamese pho at home. We cook the stock in a slow cooker for 12 hours. With thinly sliced high-quality steak and fresh garden herbs, plenty of lime, chilli and fish sauce, it’s wonderful. A close second is Thai mango sticky rice made the traditional way. Lately I’ve also been binge-cooking mini vanilla cupcakes with fluffy icing. I found a British recipe that is simply perfect. Donnie: Sushi, sashimi, steak tartare, oysters natural, and a lush panacotta.

Cool interview! Such a wonderful and interesting couple. I’ll finish off with a lovely picture of a salad Donnie created from tomatoes and herbs in his own home garden: a stacked insalata caprese!

donnies salad


Meet a #Canberra Foodie – Carmen (@Honey_Delight)

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Many Canberrans will recognise Carmen from her family’s “Honey Delight” stall at our local Farmers Markets and shows. I first met Carmen a few years ago online as she is a prolific social media user who spreads the good news about bees in and around Canberra with passion! I recently met her in real life when I ambitiously volunteered to host an urban hive in our family backyard. Sadly for various reasons, including dogs, cats, too many small children and my desire to re-arrange and re-design our whole backyard and gardens meant I went back to the bottom of the waiting list for new hives. Bees need a little bit of private space and some relative peace, both of which are in short supply in our household!

Carmen recently agreed to be the subject of another regular Canberra Foodie interview and I hope to join her soon for a breakfast during her never-ending quest to find Canberra’s best Eggs Benedict, and she has found some very impressive samples already!


A photo of Carmen standing proudly in front of her award-winning honey at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

So Carmen, who are you? I am a third generation beekeeper. I grew up in a large commercial beekeeping family in northern NSW – the Walker Family. At times we were the largest beekeeping family in Australia and during our most productive years we employed up to 10 men.

My family has exported bees and honey to a number of countries including, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom and the middle east. We practice a natural beekeeping method and while we have met the criteria for organic produce for over a decade it is only recently that the family as a whole has agreed to commence the organic certification process.

We sell our family produce under the label of Honey Delight at Capital Region Farmers Market. It is an excellent, raw, untreated honey and recently won 3 gold medals and champion commercial exhibitor in the National Honey Show at The Royal Easter Show, Sydney.

I moved to Canberra 20 years ago (mainly due to lack of opportunity in the small country town where I grew up). I’ve continued to spend large periods of time in the country and now consider myself a rural-urban hybrid. I keep my own bees and the majority of my equipment belonged to my grandfather.

My family and I started Canberra Urban Honey in 2012 as a response to the many requests we were getting to help people pollinate their backyard fruit and vegetables. The project began as a community project that my family and I managed on a volunteer basis. We financed the project using donations from our extended family and also raised a small amount of money using crowd funding. Our project used Pozible to raise $2,000 and was the first Australian agricultural project to use crowd funding.

The immense community support for our project and the demand for bees as pollinators in the city meant the project had to evolve in order to remain viable into the future.  In 2014 we changed Canberra Urban Honey to a not-for-profit venture and it now employs my son Mitchell as a trainee beekeeper.  Our Canberra bees struggled in the drought but our tender loving care meant our bees produced excess honey during the 2013 spring and summer.  We finally had our first significant honey harvest at the end the summer of 2014.

Canberra Urban Honey has subsequently been recognised for significant urban agricultural excellence and won Champion at Canberra Show.  Canberra Urban Honey is the first urban honey to be awarded a medal at the National Honey Show at the Royal Easter Show.  We are incredibly proud of the Canberra community for making this all possible and we hope they feel part of the significant recognition Canberra Urban Honey has achieved over the past two years.

Age? Ha ! – not disclosed!

Where do you live? Gungahlin

How long have you been blogging? 3 years

Other hobbies? Gardening

Apple or Android? Apple

Car/bus/bike? Car

Favourite TV show? I have three – Walking Dead, Vikings and Downton Abbey
(I have been heavily influenced by my teenage children)

Favourite devices? My phone camera and Gopro

Can we take a peek at your home screen?

carmen screen shot

Most-used app? Twitter

Favourite social media? Twitter

What’s the first thing online you check each morning? Twitter

What do you worry about at night? Mostly nothing but otherwise – bees and the weather

Most exciting recent news? Medals at The National Honey Show for Honey Delight and Canberra Urban Honey

<And here is the photo to prove it!>

honey champ

Ideal career? Beekeeper

Recent book you recommend? MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood – look for me in the acknowledgements.

Recent online video you laughed at? didn’t get one so I’ve taken a bit of licence here and added an interesting bee clip… is that ok Carmen?

Favourite food? Honeycomb with brie and crackers – I have it every day !

To learn more about Carmen’s amazing award-winning work with bees go to her website: Honey Delight

You can follow Carmen on Twitter here: @Honey_Delight and her son Mitch here: @UrbanApiarist

Carmen and Mitch have also done plenty of interesting media about their adventures with bees, like this recent story on ABC Rural: Australia’s youngest urban commercial beekeeper

bee suits

A list of #Canberra food blogs

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After a brief chat with a few other Canberra food bloggers I thought it would be worthwhile complimenting my Twitter list of #Canberra Foodies (i.e. people in Canberra who share food stories on twitter – I’ve identified over 234! see the list here) with a reasonably current Canberra Food Bloggers list.

When I started tweeting from @CBRFoodie last year I noticed (after a little bit of research and googling) there seemed to be hundreds of Canberra-based food blogs, but most seemed to have died a quick death. I’m guessing this is because a lot of people try and then abandon the idea of blogging when they realise it can be time-consuming, has technical challenges and it involves occasionally interacting with some very strongly opinionated people. (So perhaps a background in politics may help? 🙂

Anyway – back to the topic at hand. Here’s a short list (only 75 at last count!) of my current favourite Canberra-based food bloggers (in alphabetical order). As you can see I’ve discovered most of these via Twitter or Facebook. More recently I also discovered two relevant facebook groups (which are appropriately moderated to keep the content relevant): Canberra Bloggers Collective and Canberra Food Bloggers. Both are closed groups just for bloggers and both are moderated to keep posts on topic. Even more recently a friend Anna (@eatnik) pointed me in the direction of another ten or so additions to the list which I had missed!

If you know of anyone not on this list please let me know and I’ll update it. After a few iterations I was advised that it would be more sensible to try and keep the list in alphabetical order, so it is alphabetised on the basis of the blog name.

Absolutely Jas @absolutelyjas

Adventures in Winterland by Sharon Trauki @Sharon_inez

A Kitchen Cat Natash (aka A Kitchen Cat) was a contestant on the 2014 Master Chef TV series! here’s a link to the story in the Canberra Times including the cheeky tweet from Rachi Perera which revealed the news 🙂

Andrew and Emelia’s Food Adventures @EVimalasiri

Anything But Toast

The Baking Bureaucrat

Bake Bike Blog @bakebikeblog

You Berra believe it @LindaSoo

Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things @bizzylizzycooks

Blithe Moments @LisaRobey

Brazen’s (mostly) gluten free adventures!

Café Cat @the_cafeCat


Canberra Gastronome @CanGastronome

Canberra Times Food and Wine (Choose your “location=Canberra”) Current and previous Editors: @NatashaRudraCT and @kirstenlawsonCT

Capital Food Journal @capfoodjournal

Capital Gourmand (Tom moved to London last year but his blog is still excellent) @FreeHugsTommy

Cara Phillips @_caraphillips_

CBR Foodie (me! :)) @CBRFoodie

Charinya’s Kitchen @CharinyaR

Dreaming of Almonds (and a nicer world) @Almond_Dreams

Emiko Davies @emikodavies

Feeding the Sonis

Fine Eating

Food Porn journal

Food Wine Travel @ChristineSalins

Freak Biscuit “gluten-free vegequarian”

Exploring the taste of language

Good Food Week @GoodFoodWeek

Green Foodie @greenfoodie

Her Canberra @HerCanberra

In The Taratory @InTheTaratory

The Intolerant Chef (not active on Twitter)

Karin’s Recipes and Random Musings

Kate Freeman Nutrition @KFNutrition

Kiriels Kitchen Medieval and Renaissance cooking

Le Bon Vivant @Rachiperera

Lily and Ouk Eat Food

Love at Every Bite @loveateverybite

Makeitbakeitsnapit @kirsty__young (previously known as ‘In the Kitchen with Kirsty’)

Miss K Licious As Anna (@Eatnik) explained, MissKlicious is Sydney-based but reviews many CBR restaurants and deserves an honourable mention 🙂 she’s on twitter too @missklicious

mnfdblog – maybe about food, maybe not @neildoody

Mouthless Mutters @ezzbez

Mumchic @mum_n_chic

My Canberra Table @girl_who_cooks

My Nutritious Journey @KaseyBateup

Netherleigh @netherleighblog

Nilbarcodefood @nilbarcodefoodNilbarcode

Nutrition In Action @Eucale_Stanes

One Hungry Hen Heidi lives in Cooma, just south of Canberra but spends a lot of time here and blogs and tweets regularly about Canberra food and happenings @onehungryhen

Raving Recipes @ravingrecipes60

shenANNAgans @AnnaJ31

Short and Sweet

Shrinking Single @shrinkingsingle

Sir and M’Lady Dine Out mainly outside of Canberra but they have a Canberra section to their blog and they’re on Instagram

Susan’s Sumptuous Suppers

Tales of a Confectionist


The Bread and Butter Chef

The Canberran @TheCanberran

The Cinnamon Scrolls @cinnamonscribe

The Constance Search For Gluten Free

The Food Avenue @thefoodavenue

The Food Marshall

The Girl Has Sparke @girlhassparke

The Martini Whisperer @martiniwhisper1

The Merrymaker sisters @fithealthymade

The Munch and Crunch

The Patient Cook

The Unicorn Mum

The Wooden Spoons

Travel and beyond @TravelnBeyond

Vegeterannean Editor Charlotte is a well-known journalist, publisher and researcher in Canberra writing circles and active in social media on twitter via @vegeterranean and Editia

Woodkitchen by Lucy

Yummy Lummy @garydlum

Also, I have to mention there are few Canberra people who may not be trying to be food bloggers but who share plenty of food stories and Canberra stories and who follow these sorts of conversations very closely on twitter to the point where I think of them as fellow-Canberra foodies (I’ll explain why in some detail in a future blog).

@RichardTuffin …

@TweetCanberra (aka @JamesTew) …

@PaulJurak …

@martin_o (aka Martin Ollman) …  

@gcnelson (aka Greg Nelson) … gcnelson on vimeo

@Honey_Delight (aka Carmen) …

@jaysullivan2 (aka Comedian Jay Sullivan) has a regular blog which I like reading called Dear Weetbix

Nah, It’s Canberra

I’ve also decided to list recently inactive Canberra food blogs (for two reasons, in case I stumble across them and wonder if they’re on my list or not, and also in case they are reactivated and I want to add them again to the master list).

The Canberra Cook Cath hasn’t blogged since 2013 but she’s on twitter at @CathCanCook

Canberra Vegan (last post December 2013)

Fooodgasm (last Canberra-related review January 2013)

Happy Bites (last post November 2013)

Honey and Soy @honeyandsoy (blog inactive since 2013)

Progressive Dinner Party (the last blog entry to this awesome Canberra food blog seems to have been in May 2012 but the author Zoe is still active on twitter at @crazyBrave )

The Papillon Pantry (last post March 2013)

Meet a #Canberra Foodie: Liz Posmyk (@bizzylizzycooks )

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Liz with her library of cookery books

Liz Posmyk, standing proudly in front of her extensive library of cooking and food books.

No one who is interested in food and social media in the Canberra region could say they haven’t been in touch with Liz Posmyk, either through her famous blog Twitter, Facebook, mainstream media, food event or other channel. Liz has been a prolific poster of “Canberra Foodie” news for many years. When our local journal of record The Canberra Times (which has 74 staff on twitter, I think, here’s my latest list: was looking for local cooks who also blogged they turned to Liz, who promptly gave them the names and details of capable cooks/bloggers to interview

Let me begin by stating I love Liz’s blog ( . When I started blogging three short months ago I thought “if I do this for ten years I’d be happy to be as half as good as Liz” in terms of content, credibility and sheer aesthetics. If I had more time for food photography I would simply try and copy her best shots. I was surprised to learn recently that she isn’t a Canon or Nikon aficionado (like most professional photographers) but happily snaps away with a Olympus OM-D EM5 (Eileen (@TheFoodAvenue) also uses an Olympus camera for her great photos).

My favourite Bizzy Lizzy posts include: “Canberra Show Postcards and Morsels” and and numerous local festivals and winery celebrations such as this one:\ Liz also has a great synopsis of food and wine festivals across Australia here which of course also links to the great list of local festivals in the Canberra region via the Visit Canberra website here .

You can see from Liz’s blog that she understands how to communicate using great pictures and images (supporting the truism that a good picture is worth a thousand words). I also like the fact that Liz’s passionate advocacy for local food and produce extends beyond cuisine and conveys a deeper cultural experience. Perhaps subconsciously sometimes, she highlights the personal passion for food and culture that many Canberrans share and she herself is a great advocate for our sense of community and ability to share and care for each other.

So Liz, who are you? I’m an old school food writer based in Canberra and was part of the committee instrumental in the establishment of the ACT Writers Centre (no apostrophe).

From 1993-2002, I wrote a popular weekly cookery column in a Canberra newspaper. I earned the nickname ‘Bizzy Lizzy’ when I juggled the role of promotions manager of a 30-store produce market with co-ownership of a leading cooking school, and marketing a line of organic foods (I was headhunted for this role). Working my proverbial off, across a decade I managed a hugely successful program of events that welcomed some of the world’s leading cookery writers and celebrity chefs to Canberra. For four years I also featured as the voice behind The Ten Dollar Dinner on 666 ABC radio with James Valentine and Rod Quinn.

My career has included stints in both the Federal and ACT public service, most recently with DesignGov. In 2012, I received an Australia Day Achievement Award for leadership, innovation and service to the Australian Public Service Federal Department of Industry.

In 2013, I was selected as the winner of the Food Narrative Category of the Best Australian Food Blog Food Writing Competition 2013 run by the SA Writer’s Centre Inc/Food Bloggers Australia. Professor Barbara Santich was one of the esteemed judges, so this was quite an honour for me.

In January 2014, I retired from the APS to concentrate on Good Things, my online journal (or blog), which I founded in 2011. This new-found free time gives me the opportunity to cook to my heart’s content and share my favourite recipes and photographs. It also gives Peter and myself the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate after a lifetime of working hard; and also to travel and explore Australia and its food regions.

Age? 55 and loving it!

Where do you live? In Harrison with my life partner, Peter. I was born in Canberra and have lived here all of my life.

How long have you been blogging? Blogging since 2011, writing about food and cooking since 1993. Honestly, though, I’ve been a writer since early childhood and creative writing was my favourite subject from grade one in Infants School.

Other hobbies? Photography (love snapping macro shots of bees and flowers); cooking (obviously); travel; meeting like-minded people; reading; going to the cinema; gardening; swimming; walking; oh, and playing Call of Duty 2 (I’m a crack sniper, true!).

Apple or Android? Apple imac (27 inch) which is great for publishing.

Car/bus/bike?   Car to get from A to B, and bicycle for pleasure.

Favourite TV show? There isn’t one in particular, though I do enjoy a variety of documentaries on SBS and the ABC (including cooking and travel shows). I also love dramas produced by the BBC, such as Broadchurch and The Escape Artist (recently), as well as Dr Who, Grand Designs, etc.

Favourite devices? As in phone, plaything? My phone, for making phone calls.

Can we take a peek at your home screen? No, sorry, it’s way too cluttered     : ) … <wow, no one else has said no to any of my questions so far! 🙂 >

Most-used app? On my phone? The keypad for making phone calls : )

Favourite social media? Twitter (I enjoy the networking aspect of it and love connecting with people through food).

What’s the first thing online you check each morning? The IN box on my email account.

What do you worry about at night? That’s a very personal question. When I do worry, it’s about things I’d rather not discuss.

Most exciting recent news? An invitation to attend a MasterClass at Red Lantern with Luke Nguyen ahead of his new series Luke Nguyen’s France!

Ideal career? Full time food, cookery and travel writer and consultant. I’m currently living the dream. : D

Recent book you recommend? Wow, there are several, but how about Horrie the War Dog by Roland Perry (Allen & Unwin). It’s the story of Australia’s most famous dog. Oh, and The Dirty Chef by Matthew Evans, the gourmet farmer (Allen & Unwin); and Rick Stein’s memoir Under a Mackerel Sky (Ebury Press).

Recent online video you laughed at? A clip produced by The Checkout team on the ABC. They’re very clever, and so informative! here is one of the interesting and fun snippets from The Checkout  It’s not what I call hilarious, but it is interesting and humorous

Favourite food? I love a diverse range of foods, including Hungarian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Persian, Greek, Thai, modern Australian and Italian. Among those cuisines, there are lots of favourite dishes that I cook regularly.

If you want learn more about Liz Posmyk, one of Canberra’s very own Award Winning Food Writers

Follow her on Twitter: @bizzylizzycooks

Follow her blog:

She’s also on Linkedin:


Meet a #Canberra Foodie: Eileen (@TheFoodAvenue)

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I first met Eileen very briefly at a #CBRTweetUp event a couple of months ago at a café on Canberra’s southside and have been following her blog and tweets with interest ever since. I think her unique international experience, networks and love for good food and everything enjoyable in Canberra make her someone to watch as she evolves her blogging and confidence with social media. She also mentioned that she is sharing her experiences with food and growing cooking skills with some workmates so I’m hoping I will be able to take a class with her in the near future.


Who are you Eileen? I’ve been trained as an apprentice hairdresser, a journalist, a lawyer, and a public servant. In essence though, I’m a foodie that loves to take photos of her food and sharing it with people. I also love fashion and beauty. I started the blog because friends love my food recommendations and are always asking me where I get my outfits. I was born in Taiwan, where the national pastime is eating and snacking. It’s clearly in my genes. Did I mention I love food?
I’ve recently discovered Twitter and have been having a great time engaging with other foodies and meeting them! I tweet at @thefoodavenue and I post photos on my Instagram as well.

Age? 30

Where do you live? Turner

How long have you been blogging? About 2.5 years, although more regularly in the past 6 months.

Other hobbies/interests? Shopping, karaoke, ice skating.

Apple or Android? Android

Car/bus/bike? Walking actually. I walk to work and to most social activities, which is usually close by.

Favourite TV show? At the moment, it’s a Taiwanese variety show called ‘Super Taste’. It’s a humorous travel/food show! The hosts pair up into teams and review all different kinds of food in Taiwan (sometimes they go overseas as well!). My favourite episodes are the ones where they undertake “challenges”. For example, there was an episode where the hosts had to eat something from 25 food places within 36 hours to win NT$20,000 (approx. AUD$737)

Favourite devices? My Olympus EPL2 – it has been laughed at by photography aficionados (for its size and capabilities) but it does what I need it to. Plus, it’s compact enough for me to carry everywhere and less conspicuous than full DSLRs when I’m in restaurants. Also, I love my wifi SD card for the instant uploads. And I couldn’t live without my smartphone, of course!

<I was blown away by the quality of the photos that Eileen was taking with her compact camera. For example, here’s a photo I took with my iPhone and one she took with her Olympus>

TheFoodAvenue  combination Chow mein

Can we take a peek at your home screen?

eileen screen

Most-used app? Youtube. What a fantastic source of entertainment and learning.

Favourite social media? Facebook for knowing what’s going on with my friends and family. Pinterest for creativity and inspiration.

What’s the first thing online you check each morning? My weather app, so I know how to dress for the day!

What do you worry about at night? Whether I’m living authentically. I’ve learned that it’s better to fail at being yourself than to be successful pretending to be someone else.

Most exciting recent news? I’m running my first cooking class next week and I’m super excited about it! I’m teaching people how to make banh mi (Vietnamese Saigon rolls)

Ideal career? I have already had a taste of my ideal career – being a features writer (it’s awesome seeing your name in print)! I would love to do that again for a food, beauty, fashion, lifestyle or travel publication, or be a magazine editor.

Recent book you recommend? I’ve almost finished reading The Time Traveller’s Wife. I would highly recommend it!

Recent online video you laughed at? Kids react to rotary phones

Favourite food? Ooh, this is a particularly hard one. I don’t think I could narrow it down that far so I’d have to say Taiwanese cuisine, which captures a whole range of foods – from delicious braised dishes to amazing desserts.

Follow Eileen’s blog here:

Twitter here: @TheFoodAvenue

Instagram here:

Facebook here:

Meet a #Canberra Foodie: Megan (@Girlhassparke)

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I recently had the pleasure of sharing a lunchtime meal with veteran of the Canberra blogging scene. A veteran you ask? Well, yes, she’s been blogging for over 5 years, that’s about 4 years and ten months longer than me, so I was hanging on her every word and looking for suggestions and sage blogging advice. Megan (better known as @Girlhassparke) recently impressed me with this cool and succinct post about a hidden little treasure in West Belconnen. I‘ll let you read it yourself and then visit it, and then think about how short our lives are in this amazing world, how lucky we are to live in Canberra, and how important it is to always try something new and take an unplanned peek around the corner, even in our own neighbourhoods and city.


Who are you Megan?  I am Megan a 26 year old living in Canberra, Australia. By day, I am a legal policy officer, who toes the work dress code in an effort to satisfy my love of bright colours and fun pieces. I have a coffee addiction that I have managed to restrain to one cup a day (occasionally two).

When I am not working for the man you can probably find me eating, travelling, being with my friends or family, sweating it out at the gym or comatosed in a ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ marathon.

I have been blogging for four years at Time After Tea but decided that I wanted a fresh start with a blog that more accurately reflects my life, goals and dreams and where I am today thus the creation of ‘The Girl has Sparke’.

So why should you visit the ‘Girls got Sparke’? Because it is a normal girls story, and guide to getting the best out of life! For me that means making the most of the simple things but also setting my sights on the stars. This blog will talk about the little and the big and everything in between. Whether that is reviewing the cake store down the road, building a workable wardrobe, to planning overseas travel and investing money wisely.

I am on a mission to constantly strive for my goals, better myself one step at a time and share my passions with others. I also hope to learn and grow with people who read my blog and create an engaged community.

Age?  26

Where do you live? Scullin.

How long have you been blogging?  For five years, previously at  but more recently at .

Other hobbies?  Travel, reading, exploring, shopping. I enjoy following some other amazing blogs such as

Apple or Android  Apple.

Car/Bus/Bike?  Bus! <I’m guessing she’s looking forward to the free wifi on Action buses!>

Favourite TV show?  True Detective, Homeland, Real Housewives of New York.

Favourite Devices?  iPad, iPhone, Toshiba laptop.

Can we take a peek at your home screen?

Meegan screen shot

Most used app?  Afterlight (photo processing)

Favourite Social Media?  Instagram

What’s the first thing online you check each morning?  Twitter

What do you worry about at night?  If I’ve turned the gas off on the stove J

Most exciting recent newsPlanning a trip to Europe later this year!

Ideal Career?  Political Advisor

Recent Book you recommend?  The Snowchild by Eowyn Ivey

Recent online video you laughed at?

Favourite Food?  Mexican (her fave Mexican in Canberra is GYG)

You can learn more about Megan at

Megan is on twitter at, and her Instagram account is

Meet a #canberra Foodie: Dr Gary Lum (@garydlum)

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Dr Gary Lum is a well-known Canberra foodie to anyone on Twitter. As well as being an accomplished cook and social media practitioner, Gary is a great ambassador for our home town, despite the fact that his favourite NRL team are the Broncos …well, he was originally from Queensland! 🙂


I love Gary’s blog and it was great to read this page and learn more about him (the interview in the Canberra Times wasn’t satisfying enough!). I hope he always finds the time to keep up his prolific writing and cooking. I think he’s a great role model for any Canberra men who, who like me, want to improve themselves (physically and intellectually).

Who are you Gary?  I’m a Brisbane boy in love with Darwin and living in Canberra. I grew up in Brisbane and completed my medical and specialty training there. The first consultant job I had was running territory-wide pathology services in the NT based at the Royal Darwin Hospital. I was there from 1996 until 2007. During that time I learnt a lot about medical management and spent some time outside my comfort zone managing the Royal Darwin Hospital. It was in 2002 that I did a seven month stint and bang in the middle of it terrorists struck in Bali. Along with the entire team at the hospital we went about receiving, resuscitating and then relaying on burns patients around the country. You can read my take on it at In 2007 I took up a position as a branch head in Australian Government to continue my career in health emergency management.

My love affair with food was ordained when I was born into a Chinese family. On my Mum’s side we’re fifth generation Australian but the only non-Chinese part was an Irish great great grand mother. My mother is a fabulous cook and she’s also a domestic science teacher. She taught me and my younger brothers the basics and we’ve never looked back. My father is also a good cook so growing up I was surrounded by excellent role models for cooking. While living in Darwin my eating habits became quite poor and my exercise routine consisted of walking to my car. At my peak I reached 100 kg which for a 170 cm tall bloke is obese. After reading various books and thinking about what I wanted to achieve I elected to go down the low carbohydrate route. As a medical practitioner I’m aware of the controversy and the risks. For me though, it helped me shed nearly 30 kg in a few months and maintain a weight at about 75 kg for some years. It got me into a position where I could exercise twice a day and keep trim. When I arrived in Canberra I started putting on weight again and this year returned to the low carbohydrate way of living. I had peaked to 82 kg and didn’t want to buy new clothes. I’ve quickly shed 6 kg and feel a lot better.

Age?  I was born in 1965.

Where do you live?  I live in Belconnen near Lake Ginninderra.

How long have you been blogging?  I started the blog in August 2010 after exploring various social media platforms beginning that year. Having a blog seemed like a natural extension to being on twitter and tumblr.

Other hobbies?  My hobbies are cooking, eating and photographing food. I’ve always enjoyed photography and in my clinical career collected a large collection of clinical images from patients with severe wound infections.

Apple or Android?  Before smart phones I was a Diehard Windows PC man. I laughed at Mac users. In about 2008 though my experience with Windows had reached a nadir. How could Bill Gates let me down? I bought a MacBook and haven’t looked back. When smart phones became available I naturally bought an iPhone and then an iPad. For personal use I am exclusively Apple. I have no control what I use at work. That said, I love my work BlackBerry. It is simply the best tool for texting and writing e-mails on a handheld device. All that said, I have no criticism of android products. I’ve just never used them. The Apple products satisfy my needs.

Car/Bus/Bike?  I love cars. I love big heavy thick metal plated cars, I love V8 engines and I love engines with minimal exhaust baffling. I love modified engines. I grew up with fitters and turners and they modified the engines of their cars and we loved driving fast. I love driving fast and one of the greatest joys was living and working in the Northern Territory when the Stuart Highway was an open road and I could drive the 1000 km from Darwin to Tennant Creek in less than six hours. My favourite car was my 1978 CL Chysler Regal Le Baron with a 265 cubic inch hemi six which breathed through a Holley 350 twin twin barrel and ran extractors to twin down pipes. After that I owned several V8 Falcons including an XE Fairmont Ghia with a 351 cubic inch Cleveland V8. I now drive a VW diesel because fuel costs so much money but I still dream of a big V8 in front of me with power to the rear wheels. I’ve never caught a bus in Canberra but I do own a bicycle. It’s gathering cobwebs at the moment.

Favourite TV show?  I love everything Star Trek. The premise of Gene Roddenberry to have a better more ethical life exploring the universe really appeals to me. I fantasise about being the captain of a starship. Apart from Star Trek I enjoy The Big Bang Theory, Top Gear, Master Chef, My Kitchen Rules and the Great Australian Bake Off.

Favourite Device?  I have an iPhone 5, an iPad 3, a MacBook Pro and an iMac. I wear a fitbit everywhere and share my stats daily to twitter and Facebook. For food photography I use a Nikon D90 at home and when I’m out a Canon PowerShot G16 because it has a nice f2 aperture and shoots in RAW. I’ve fallen for Adobe Lightroom for post processing.

Can we take a peek at your home screen? 

garys screenshot

Most used app?  Twitter and Instagram are the most used apps.

Favourite Social Media?  I’m addicted to Twitter and use three accounts, viz., @garydlum, @Yummy_Lummy and @DrGaryLum

What’s the first thing online you check each morning?  My work e-mail, then personal e-mail, then WordPress, then Instagram, and then Facebook. I’ll also check in to a few places on Foursquare for good measure.

What do you worry about at night?  I try not to worry. When something starts to disturb me I actively think other thoughts.

Most exciting recent news?  Free wi-fi for Canberra town centres. That’s got to be a good thing. Hopefully Belconnen will get it soon.

Ideal Career?  I’m doing what I enjoy now. I’m an adviser in Australian Government and an Honorary VMO in ACT Government.

Recent Book you recommend?  Ship of the line by Diane Carey. It’s a Star Trek novel set over the TOS and TNG eras with some DS9 elements.

Recent online video you laughed atI can’t remember but I’m sure it had cats in it doing silly things.

Favourite FoodMy favourite food is congee or jook. It’s comfort food and great for Canberra winters. Very close is my Mum’s wonton soup because it’s communal food. My best wonton meal was a couple of years ago with my parents and brothers all participating.


You can learn more about Gary and his many passions at . Gary is on twitter at @garydlum, @Yummy_Lummy and @DrGaryLum and here’s a link to his Instagram account.

The Canberra Times interviews four Canberra Food Bloggers

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The Canberra Times interviews four Canberra Food Bloggers Recently @MattRaggatt from the Canberra Times interviewed four Canberra food bloggers for the Food and Wine Supplement (comes out Wednesdays). The four bloggers were chosen after consulting with long-time Canberra blogger Liz Posmyk and I understand they were specifically looking for food bloggers who do a lot of cooking. The interviews are quite interesting and reveal a little bit more about some of my favourite food bloggers (Liz and Gary) as well as a couple of bloggers who I knew nothing about (Shari and Susan). It’s a good read!