Someone, a friend, once described me as “a very Christmassy person.” I think the comment was actually meant to be derogatory, but my response was: who isn’t? Without wanting to get into a big discussion about religion my point was, what’s not to like about this time of year in Australia?
For starters it’s summer. Although it was different when I was growing up, today Christmas just equals holiday to me. Conveniently for WISH magazine, considering that we don’t publish a January edition, it means it’s summer and we are not in the office for an entire month! And, yes, that sentence does require an exclamation point at the end. This is the one time of year when the team here, like many other people around the country, can take time off work and not have to check in every few days to make sure it’s all still running smoothly. There’s no email to attend to, so you can read those books that have been piling up. You don’t have to wear a tie or iron a shirt every morning – in fact, I plan on spending the next few weeks as close to barefoot as possible.
It’s also the one time of year when you can do things you enjoy without worrying that you have more important things to do, like catching up on emails you didn’t send during the week. For me one of those things is cooking and attempting to expand my culinary skills from the easy things I cook Monday to Friday to something more complicated (and impressive for invited guests). For this issue we asked chef Kylie Kwong to design an exclusive Christmas menu for our readers and my brief to her was: do whatever you want. Her recipes start on page 80 and even if you don’t cook the entire menu you’re bound to find one or two dishes to compliment your Christmas repertoire. This December will be a significant milestone for Kwong as she opens the doors on her new – and to the delight of her legion of fans bigger – restaurant in Sydney’s Potts Point after 14 years in Surry Hills. If you want to know a bit more about what to expect at Kwong’s new venue then don’t miss Milanda Rout’s interview with her on page 106.
This time of year is also when you can use the plates and glassware that you save for special occasions and crack open some of the cherished bottles you’ve had stashed away. If one of those is a bottle of Penfolds Grange Hermitage, arguably Australia’s most famous wine, then you won’t want to miss our story on page 68. It was months in the making but, like the wine itself, well worth the wait. Our writer Jonathan Lobban was given rare behind-the-scenes access at Magill Estate, the 170 year-old vineyard near Adelaide which is the spiritual home of Penfolds.
We travelled to Hamilton Island in Queensland to produce our fashion and travel features this month and discovered the charms of nearby Whitehaven Beach, featured on our cover, while we were there. We couldn’t have done it without the generous assistance of Qantas and Hamilton Island so, on behalf of the magazine, I’d like to thank them both for making this edition happen.
We hope you enjoy the issue and have a wonderful break whatever you do. We’ll be back with another edition in February. David Meagher Editor
Photographer James Mullins and the WISH fashion team getting the perfect shot on Whitehaven – the most perfect beach