Curiosity is part and parcel of being a journalist, though my family will tell you I've been asking questions since I could talk. Seasoned Traveller is the answer I couldn't find anywhere else. It's a place to feed on restaurants that rarely see the limelight and read food stories with soul.
Seasoned Traveller celebrates cultural diversity through food.
Food is a cultural barometer that helps people better understand both each other and themselves. It’s the simplest way to unite people and celebrate diversity, my raison d’être.
So, do me a favour: next time you’re holding a menu, order something you’ve never tasted. Ask your Uber driver where to eat instead of how their night’s been so far. Strive to leave every table not just with a full belly, but a new perspective. If everyone did this just a little more, the world would be a better, more tolerant and delicious place.
My journalism career was sparked while staring into the unblinking eyes of a decapitated goat.
At the time I was 19 years old in Marrakesh’s Djema El Fna night market. To me, it was a real-life version of Aladdin’s Agrahbah. I floated past vendors charming puff adders with pipes and was utterly hypnotised by fruit-studded mountains of couscous, pyramids of spice and murky snail soup. Never had I felt so far from home, or more myself. I suddenly saw the world through saffron-tinted glasses. I was awake.
And so I did what I always do when I’m inspired; I wrote. Those words resonated with friends and family who subsequently booked trips to Marrakesh, if not to eat goat’s head, then at least to soak up the atmosphere and learn. This was well before Instagram and influencers existed, but I often think back to that moment when I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Back home in Melbourne, I added journalism as a second university major (psychology was the first). I became a published food and travel journalist before I graduated and have freelanced ever since. It has never felt risky to me. When I finished my studies, major mastheads were still reeling from the Global Financial Crisis. Whole offices were being made redundant and iconic magazines were collapsing like failed soufflés. Answering to a boss or applying for a cadetship weren’t viable options, so I started out on my own.
A couple of years in, thanks to equal parts chutzpah and naivety, I sent an email to one of Australia's most respected food publications with links to student-y articles and a now-defunct blog. The timing was right: they agreed that smashed avocado was trending (I'm showing my age here) and needed more Good Food Guide reviewers. It was a new era. People were more connected than ever. Reality TV was making cooking great again. Readers were listening to bloggers as well as trained journalists. And there I was: a curious mixture of both.
Still, the stories I wanted to share were not always shiny enough for the publications I wrote for. While that's slowly changing, back then it gave me the idea for Seasoned Traveller. All I needed was time, and I got more of it than I ever bargained for when COVID hit. All my deadlines spontaneously combusted, so I launched the Seasoned Traveller newsletter. The website went live in March 2021.
Seasoned Traveller is a culinary travel website that celebrates diversity and culture through food. It’s founded on the #EatCuriously movement, which encourages people to order outside their comfort zone to learn more about others and themselves.
This website, with extra insights in the newsletter, recommends where to eat beyond mainstream media coverage and tells the story behind the people, places and plates. It gives a voice to those who are historically overlooked at best, and ignored at worst.
If you’re excited by traditional food, adventurous eating or want more meaningful food experiences around the world, consider me your culinary guinea pig – if I can try something new, surely you can, too. Besides, it’s a hell of a lot of fun.
I’ve been a freelance food and travel journalist for more than a decade. You’ll spot my byline in Lonely Planet, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food, SBS Food, Domain Review, National Geographic, The Guardian, delicious., in-flight magazines, Broadsheet, Time Out and more. I’ve co-authored travel guidebooks and reviewed for Australia’s best food guides. But much of what I enjoy sharing is beyond the scope of these publications, which is why Seasoned Traveller exists.
Beyond the written word I've been a guest on food shows and radio as well as hosted a segment for Melbourne's most-listened-to station; and video campaigns for tourism organisations such as Visit Victoria, Intrepid Travel and World Nomads. Social media has allowed me to connect with a fiercely loyal following that craves more than ‘it’ restaurants and celebrity chefs, and I was chuffed when Visit Victoria called me “one of Melbourne’s most influential and creative social media personalities”.
If you’d like to see some examples of my work, click here. I promise I'll update it soon!
I want to say something like, “When I’m not eating and travelling…” but the truth is I’m usually doing at least one of the two. Often it’s in a professional context, like partnering with tourism boards and brands to host and produce videos, MCing events, moderating panels, judging national food competitions or sharing my thoughts on radio. I also run customised, small-group food tours. If you think we’re cut from the same cheesecloth, get in touch via the contact page.
I consider myself foreign in relation to the food I eat and people I meet, not the other way around. Raised culturally Jewish in multicultural Australia, I appreciate the importance of identity and the beauty of diversity. My ultimate definition of hospitality is restaurants and people that exist to serve their cultural community, but also welcome anyone eager to eat, learn and share. The world would be a very dull place if everyone was the same.
My life-long obsession with food and culture is characterised by a sense of adventure and independence – you’re more likely to find me eating scorpion on a stick than attempting to become the next Nigella.
A shameless A-Type personality and insatiable curiosity mean that I ask hard questions and take risks (it’s amazing what you can get away with when you’re smiling). I want to empower people to #EatCuriously and celebrate difference, but I also live for the “ooh” and “ahh” moments, for squeamish shrieks and squeals of delight. If you’re laughing with me, that’s great. If you’re laughing at me, even better.
FREE food guide when you subscribe.