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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.

Oct 2, 2015

Luke Powell was very young when he snuck into the world of food – he was enrolled in culinary classes at 15 (despite being far below the 17-year minimum cut-off) and by 19, he found himself in the kitchen at the prestigious Rockpool, while crashing at the dodgiest hostels in his off-hours.

Throughout his career, he’s witnessed amazing things – the strangest party trick performed by a head chef in New Zealand; staff tackling 10-kilogram zucchinis at Mugaritz in Spain; and many memorable incidents at New York’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns – including an encounter with a Jewish pig farmer whose mother had yet to learn of her son’s choice of work.

Locally, Luke’s CV is impressively well-rounded: after being head chef at fine-dining institution Tetsuya’s, his next move saw him slinging burgers and making trash-can bacon at the extraordinarily popular Mary’s.

And after some time with Mat Lindsay at Ester, he finally got to open his own place: LP’s Quality Meats. In this podcast, Luke charts all the fascinating directions that his career has taken – and explains why a Southern Pride smoker that cost as much as a small car (and is just as big) is the nerve centre of his restaurant.

He also talks about one of the “top 5 best things I’ve ever eaten in my life”, handling the minefield of dietary requirements and his favourite places for dining and drinking in Sydney.

Catch Luke at the upcoming event, Burgers, Ribs & Beers: The Ethics of Fast Food, which takes place on October 13 at The Lab, Level 1, Legion House, Castlereagh Street, Sydney, for Good Food Month.

And huge thanks to everyone who has ultra-generously spread the word about the podcast, including Pinbone’s Mike Eggert, who name-checked it in episode 6 of The Mitchen; and Chris from MAB vs Food, @KEboyts and Lisa Goldberg from The Monday Morning Cooking Club, who all left super-nice comments in the iTunes store. You’re all legends! And if you like what you hear and also feel like dropping a (hopefully nice!) review on iTunes or telling your friends about this podcast, that would be hugely appreciated (but not expected)!