My journalism career ignited 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, but what hypnotised me the most were the fruit-studded mountains of couscous, spice pyramids and murky snail soup. Never had I felt so far from home, or more myself. Suddenly, I saw the world through saffron-tinted glasses. I was awake.
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. This was well before influencers or even Instagram existed, but I often think back to that moment. Sharing a story and the emotion led to action. It felt meaningful, and I I knew I wanted to do it for the rest of my life.
Back home in Melbourne I switched to studying journalism. I became a published food and travel journalist before I graduated, after which I spent the next decade freelancing (and still do). But the kinds of stories I wanted to share were not deemed appropriate (read: too off-beat, not “newsworthy” enough, lacking celebrity chefs, etc.), so I started working on Seasoned Traveller. When COVID hit and freelance budgets were slashed, I had the freedom to launch the Seasoned Traveller newsletter. The website went live in March 2021. And here we are.
To me, 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, and as a journalist and communicator, my raison d’être is to do exactly that.
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 also a new perspective.
If everyone did this just a little more, the world would be a better, more tolerant and delicious place.
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.
Seasoned Traveller recommends where to eat beyond mainstream media coverage and tells the story behind the people, places and plates, giving 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, 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. If you’d like to see some examples of my work, click here.
You’ll spot my byline in Lonely Planet, The Age and Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food, SBS Food, my Domain Review column, National Geographic Traveller Food, The Guardian, delicious. magazine, in-flight magazines, Broadsheet and Time Out. 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 hosted video campaigns for Visit Victoria, Domain Review, 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”.
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. If you think we’re cut from the same cloth (probably cheesecloth), I can’t wait to hear from you. Touch base 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 (but not religiously) 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.
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