The show goes on for brave Mi­lan, in tribute to a tal­ented son lost

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence - MICHELLE ROWE

FOOD De­tec­tive has al­ways been a fan of Aus­tralian food and wine doyenne Lyn­dey Mi­lan’s larg­erthan-life per­son­al­ity and en­vi­able kitchen tal­ents.

But one of her strong­est char­ac­ter traits has emerged at a time of great sor­row: the sud­den death of her son Blair.

Brave Mi­lan has forged ahead with the screen­ing of the food and travel show she filmed with the 29-year-old, who died within just four days of be­ing di­ag­nosed with acute myeloid leukaemia last month.

The first episode of Lyn­dey & Blair’s Taste of Greece screened on SBS One last Thurs­day night and six more episodes fol­low­ing the pair’s ad­ven­tures through the Pelo­pon­nese re­gion will air in com­ing weeks.

‘‘If you knew Blair, you’d know there’s no way I could have done any­thing else [but let the show go on],’’ Mi­lan tells De­tec­tive. ‘‘Blair loved the limelight. I wanted it to be a fan­tas­tic tribute to him and to let the world see what an ab­so­lutely won­der­ful young man he was.’’

It was purely by ac­ci­dent that Mi­lan was able to spend so much time film­ing with her ac­tor son in re­cent months; the show orig­i­nally was to fea­ture tele­vi­sion stal­wart John Man­gos as co­p­re­sen­ter. When the Sky News pre­sen­ter had to drop out, Mi­lan’s part­ner John Cal­don sug­gested her tal­ented son step in.

‘‘I thought it was such a great idea,’’ Mi­lan says. ‘‘We had to com­pletely re­think the show, be­cause it now had the dy­namic of a mother-and-son re­la­tion­ship and also an el­e­ment of ad­ven­ture. Blair goes bungee jump­ing in the Corinth Canal in one episode and I can’t tell you the ex­pres­sion on my face.’’

Mi­lan says the se­ries of halfhour episodes will be a me­mo­rial to their close re­la­tion­ship.

‘‘It’s some­thing lovely for me to hang on to now, be­cause by the time we got back [from an over­seas trip at the time Blair fell ill] he was med­i­cally se­dated and un­con­scious, so I didn’t get to speak to him again. We lost him so quickly.’’ More: lyn­deymi­lan.com; blair­mi­lan.com; sbs.com.au.

CULI­NARY ri­valry be­tween Ital­ian re­gions is leg­endary. But if a din­ner hosted by Ste­fano Man­fredi and Alessan­dro Pavoni is any­thing to go by, even towns in the same prov­ince can be at each other’s throats over, say, the most au­then­tic risotto or the best way to pre­pare po­lenta.

The chefs, from dif­fer­ent towns in Lom­bardy in Italy’s north, held their sec­ond col­lab­o­ra­tive din­ner last week­end, fo­cus­ing on Lom­bar­dian spe­cial­ties in­clud­ing spiedo alla bres­ciana (a spit roast of quail, pork neck and duck); duck ravi­oli in broth, and veal kid­ney risotto. Un­usu­ally, there were also two po­len­tas on of­fer for guests at­tend­ing the din­ner at the glo­ri­ous Bells at Kill­care bou­tique ho­tel and restau­rant on the NSWcen­tral coast. ‘‘We make po­lenta in dif­fer­ent ways,’’ Man­fredi told din­ers. ‘‘I don’t like his and he doesn’t like mine,’’ added Pavoni, who will host the chefs’ third joint din­ner at his Syd­ney restau­rant, Ormeg­gio, on July 6.

De­tec­tive, who wouldn’t like to get in­volved in a bun­fight be­tween two pas­sion­ate Ital­ians, is keep­ing mum on which po­lenta she liked best, and hopes things won’t get ugly when the two Lom­bardy chefs open new restau­rants in Syd­ney in com­ing months.

Man­fredi is one of the big names set to open in the Star City Casino com­plex in Septem­ber, while Pavoni will launch Spieda (fea­tur­ing that more-ish spit roast from the Bells din­ner) in the West­field restau­rant precinct in Au­gust. De­tec­tive will be wear­ing her best flak jacket when step­ping out later in the year. More: bell­satkill­care.com.au; ormeg­gio.com.au.

CHEF Will Meyrick has made waves in Bali with his glam­orous restau­rant, Sarong, in Ker­obokan. Now he’s branch­ing out, with a new cook­ing school, restau­rant and bar planned for the heart of su­per-cool Seminyak. The for­mer Syd­ney chef will open Mama San on the cor­ner of Laksmana and Ker­obokan roads in July, with a menu draw­ing on the cuisines of In­done­sia, Thai­land, Malaysia, Viet­nam, Cam­bo­dia and In­dia for inspiration. More: ma­masan­bali.com.

rowemi@theaus­tralian.com.au

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