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Arts and Entertainment

KCRW's 'Good Food' Says G'Day to Aussie Food & Drink

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Angelenos braved the blustery weather yesterday afternoon to see how things heated up under the tent on the rooftop of the Paley Center for Media at KCRW's "Good Food Live" event bringing Australian food and drink into the spotlight. Joining "Good Food" host Evan Kleiman for a series of demos and some mingling were some Aussie luminaries, including mixologist Gus McShane of Copa d'Oro, celeb Chef Curtis Stone, Chef Pete Evans, and James Gosper of Wine Australia.

Attendees at the ticketed event first had the chance to learn about Australia and take an info "Walkabout" downstairs, complete with a live baby kangaroo. Upstairs guests were invited to sample liberally from the 30 Australian wines on hand, and then gathered to watch McShane whip up first a gin, passionfruit and ginger beer cocktail, followed by a passionfruit and pisco drink; during the event each guest was able to order up the Mule at the bar. It was refreshing and lightly sweet, and, admits McShane, designed for a more typical sunny Sunday in Los Angeles, although Aussies on hand remarked that it was a bit like the Australian tropics in a glass.

Following the drinks came two lamb dishes demonstrated by Evan Kleiman and Curtis Stone, who passed on invaluable tips about working with fresh lamb. Both playful and jovial, Stone had all the onlookers raise their hands to learn the finger-palm squeeze method of judging meat's doneness. Their dishes were passed out into the crowd into eager hands, and later platters of tender, juicy lamb circulated throughout the party.

Repping Wine Australia, James Gosper took the stage to talk about the diversity of Australian wines, and the "Open Up" campaign that is about encouraging Americans to check out the wines of Australia and see beyond the stereotypical Shiraz the country is known for. Gosper, with the help of Stone, talked briefly about what to look for in a wine when pairing it with a robust dish like lamb, and the importance of considering what flavors will work in balance between food and drink. Earlier in the afternoon Gosper noted that a local retailer like K&L Wine Merchants is a great place to go when you are looking to pick up some different Australian wines. A whites I sampled later, a Pinot Gris called Innocent Bystander, was pleasantly crisp, with tart-sweet notes and a clean finish.

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Pete Evans, author of Fish, worked magic on a fattoush salad with fresh seafood, and following the cooking all the chefs presided over a question-and-answer session and cookbook giveaway quiz, which had the packed room hooting with delight. Guests were welcome to mingle for a spell, and with Chef Stone drawing many an admirer, the wine and eats flowing, the event finished off with good cheer all around.