SYDNEY – Festivals of Food and Thought

Breakfast on the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Two interesting festivals start in Sydney this week, designed to get us eating and thinking. The annual Sydney International Food Festival has been rebadged with the catchy title ‘Crave’, while the Festival of Dangerous Ideas already has one of the best titles yet thought up.

First to the foodie one, Crave – Sydney International Food Festival

Mevrouw T and I celebrate our wedding anniversary in October and it’s become a tradition that we go out to a special lunch on the date the deed was done.

This food fair is perfectly timed for us.

Masterchef is still topping the TV ratings, so serious food has never been so popular in this city…Excuse me, I have some home-made bread in the oven (well, breadmaker) and I have to go and check it’s doing the right thing. Back in a sec… Thanks for your patience, no problem – the bread looks fine…

The major publicity event of the festival of the feast will be the ‘Breakfast on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.’ Early on the morning of Sunday, October 10, 6000 people will bring their own picnics and sit on the fake grass rolled out on what is normally one of the city’s busiest roads. Sorry if you think that sounds like fun; it’s already a sellout.

We’ll be trying the $35 lunch offered by some of Sydney’s most unaffordable restaurants. We’re cheapskates, remember – we even got a free wedding all those years ago, by going to the Amsterdam Town Hall before 10am. So this is the one time when we pay $35 instead of $3.50 for lunch and thus are forced to take food very seriously. We festivalgoing diners have sometimes been treated like second-class citizens by the waitpersons: ‘Oh yes, you’re with the Food Festival. Hope you enjoy this nosh, and maybe some day you’ll come back for the real meal we serve to our real customers, though from the look of you, you’ll probably think it’s too expensive.’

We haven’t yet decided which establishment to honour with our custom in 2010, but we’ll let you know how it goes.


This is surely one of the best ever ideas for a festival. It’s a series of lectures in the Sydney Opera House, aiming to provoke controversy and discussion about some of the hottest subjects of our time.

I’m looking forward to hearing:
Alan Dershowitz and Geoffrey Robertson debate whether the Pope should be prosecuted for the Catholic Church’s cover-up of child abuse,
Tariq Ali explain what we can learn from terrorists,
Clive Hamilton tell us that we’re all climate change deniers,
Lenore Skenazy (‘America’s Worst Mom’) enlighten me about why our children suffer from being too protected and
Hugh Mackay show us why the pursuit of happiness makes us miserable.

There are many other great events in this festival. Sure, it’s a talkfest, but methinks the world would be a better place if more of us thought dangerous thoughts more often. For the full program, click here.

They organisers are risk takers. They organised the event and bravely went ahead, despite knowing the opening date would clash with the Rugby League grand final, the World Cycling Championship and, as it turns out, the replay of the AFL grand final too.


Filed under Travel-Australia

2 responses to “SYDNEY – Festivals of Food and Thought

  1. The festival of dangerous ideas! That’s a festival I would love to attend, Richard. Maybe we should organize one in Amsterdam, too. Plenty of dangerous ideas here. I’ll forward your post to the SLAA (Stichting Literaire Activiteiten Amsterdam).
    Will you tell us all about it in one of your next posts?

  2. Thanks Mina. Some of the dangerous ideas lectures are available online eventually. I’ll let you know where and when you can find them.

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