WA Food and Drink Symposium (FADS)

WA Food Drink Symposium

WA FADS is a celebration of food, culture and what's going on behind it but more than that, it was a celebration of the people involved heavily in it.

I met some inspiring people when I was at WA FADS. Before the start of the first session, I met Emma, she was the brain behind Culinary Science, a website that explores the relationship between science and food. Her field is so specific and she's currently studying another field, a relationship between neurology and food.

I remember listening to the interview between Max Veenhuyzen with Ben Shewry from Attica and it was very inspiring. I only knew Attica as a very successful restaurant but it was re-built from scratch by Ben Shewry. He spoke about life experiences that he had, how he changed jobs and found his happiness by doing what he loved really touched me deeply. I shared my experience in the other post.

Ben was talking about how the restaurant that he worked at became bankrupt, the struggles that he experienced when he first worked at Attica and also about creativity in creating the menu and the restaurant's decoration. It's easy to assume that chefs are very creative people but the dishes they make and ingredients chosen went through rigorous and extensive research.

For experienced Chefs, it is also important to have an understanding about how people work. Ben from Attica has a weekly meeting of about 20 mins per week where each team member has to present a positive speech to help the rest of the members understand each other better. This way, each staff has a place to express who they are. 

Ben also talked about how important it is to voice out your worries and anxiety in the workplace. I think this applies to every job outside of restaurateurs and chefs. He walked us through his experiences of losing his mate due to mental health problems.

Sam from El Publico left a really good advice at the end of his talk. When everything else goes wrong around you, still remember and be proud of who you are.

Max Veenhuyzen shared that criticism is one thing that media needs to improve on. The media needs to let restaurants grow first before making their criticism. Max said whatever you think about something there's always a more humane thing to do that. I stood by what he said. I believed that what I write will somehow affect the business. When I write, it is about someone's livelihood and sometimes it's better to give feedback directly to the chef rather than painting an itinerary review for the whole world to see.

Sustainability of fruit was another interesting issue that was talked about on the day. I was bewildered with the fact that many fruits were thrown into the landfill because they don't fit into the perfect shape and measurement needed in the supermarket.

Some interesting facts that I learnt about farming and fruit sustainability:

  • Australia only recognised one type of green apple.
  • Greenstar apples cost 2 cents per apple.
  • Harvey fresh did a good job of juicing leftover fruits. 
  • Eating seasonal ingredients is the best way.
  • Second grade citrus can't be sold even tho it tastes the same with the first grade due to blemishes on the citrus skin.
  • Do not just buy things with our eyes.
  • Pig needs to have fresh air and we need to change the industrial system. Stressful pigs will develop stress internally as well which can affect the quality of the meat.
  • As consumers we can learn to have knowledge about in season fresh produce. If the cost of fruit is cheaper than usual then it means that fruit is in the season. It's the same at home, what you can grow is what will be in season.

I loved WA FADS and it was a very good event to attend especially if you want to learn more about behind the scenes of the food industry from every aspect: financial, skill, media and produces. I hope there will be another one next year!