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