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The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry: Lee Tran Lam quizzes chefs, critics, bar staff and other people from the world of food about their career highlights and lowlights, war stories and favourite places to eat and drink in Sydney.

Feb 24, 2016

This has to be one of my favourite podcast episodes.

Alex Elliott-Howery, who co-owns the Cornersmith Cafe and Picklery in Marrickville, was awesome to talk to. 

Her award-winning cafe has a hyper-focus on preservation, fermentation, urban beekeeping, avoiding waste and produce-bartering. As a flipside to the acclaim, she's also endured pickling disasters that've left her crying into her gin and tonic; and she once tried to preserve a summer bounty of tomatoes, only to find herself still up at 3am, waiting for the water to boil (this definitely lead to more tears).

She really lives the sustainability life, carrying around a ladder to salvage mulberries from becoming footpath splatter, and her progressive approach can sometimes have a downside (eg having to combat hardcore pickle nerds).

Despite being besieged by vandalism early on, Cornersmith has been built up a strong fanbase that happens to include Jamie Oliver (the back-story to this is great, by the way). And expect Europeans to join the pro-Cornersmith club, given the Cornersmith cookbook will be published in Germany and The Netherlands.

In this interview, Alex also talks about her courtship and wedding to her Cornersmith co-owner, James Grant (one highlight is what their son decides to wear to the ceremony); the hilarious incident she had with the police and how long you can really keep pickled items for (you'll be surprised).

Plus, what suppliers refuse to bring her; more about her Cornersmith family, reader responses to the book and where she likes to eat and drink in Sydney.