A Commonwealth Festival Perth 2011 Event
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The discovery of a new dish...

"The discovery of a new dish does more for human happiness than the discovery of a new star" - Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (French Gastronome & lawyer (1755 - 1826) - Physiologie du Gout, 1825

Reflecting our place as a relatively new Nation within the British Commonwealth, formal menus in the 1920s were typically written in French, deferring to fine dining customs in Britain at the time. Was Western Australia merely following the fashion in England or was the intent to show just how sophisticated and urbane a State we were?

Over time, however, a less ostentatious approach was taken with formal dinner menus for visiting dignitaries. Indeed, a Cabinet luncheon held on the 2nd June 1978 for His Excellency Monsieur Jean- Bernard Merimee Ambassador of France and his wife seems to be pointedly simple in description and modest in execution. This straightforward approach to presentation of cuisine is in marked contrast to the menus of the 1920s, perhaps reflecting Western Australia’s growing confidence in how it presented itself to others.

For many, modern French cuisine was founded with the 1651 publication of François Pierre de la Varenne’s Le Cuisinier françois. The subsequent centuries saw the development and reputation of the cuisine grow beyond the borders of France. What was the loss of a French aristocrat’s head was a gain to an English gastronome’s appetite as a number of chefs sailed across la Manche to continue their careers. This influence was to eventually have a great effect on the reputation of French food and dining etiquette in Britain.


Image Courtesy of State Library of Western Australia (599B)

The State Records Office invites you to pick up your fork and join us in Eating the Archives - an online exhibition and event that forms part of the Commonwealth Festival Perth 2011.

Witness history come alive on Friday 28 October at 12.00pm in the Perth Cultural Centre as celebrated WA chef Hadleigh Troy of Restaurant Amusé interprets and reinvents menus from the State archives collection using fresh, local produce with a modern twist. 

Twenty lucky West Australians will join State Archivist Cathrin Cassarchis and some well-known guests to experience Hadleigh Troy’s take on these historic menus.

Eating the Archives is a partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Food; and the dishes presented will reflect a Buy West Eat Best ethos, showcasing premium West Australian produce.

The online exhibition will take you on a culinary journey to experience food fashions of the past and gain an insight into how these events have shaped today’s food culture and informed WA’s identity. This exhibition will be served up in three courses; Appetiser, Banquet and Dessert. Come back and sample more food related offerings from the State archives collection and follow us on our journey.

Eating the Archives is an event for all to celebrate as chef Hadleigh Troy pays tribute to a bygone culinary era, bringing a small part of WA’s history alive through food.

See and hear Hadleigh begin his journey...

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