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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.

Jul 8, 2015

By opening Waterman's Lobster Co in Potts Point, Matt Swieboda wanted to create the "Mary's … of lobster roll places".

Here, Matt not only serves the classic American dish in both the Maine and Connecticut styles, but even includes a vegetarian egg-nori version that unexpectedly teleports you to Japan. (This roll is a delicious butter-mayo bomb, by the way.) The menu also includes raw milk Wisconsin cheese with jalapenos and fish rillettes – but the stadium headliner here is the iconic crustacean.

In this podcast, we talk about how this sea animal went from being seen as a low-class food (eating lobster was once considered as lowly and desperate as consuming rats) to the luxe product it is today. Matt debunks the myth that they're immortal creatures (although they can live for more than 100 years) and describes where you can find “the worst lobster on the planet”.

He also covers what should go into a proper lobster roll, why they go well with "fat buttery chardonnays" and why (despite the backlash) he decided to track down lobster from America instead of using Australian produce.

Also in this episode, Matt talks about his unexpected career in hospitality (in his early days, on the bus to work, he'd give himself a crash course on the grand crus of Burgundy) and how he went on to start much-loved Sydney small bar, Love Tilly Devine.

And he singles out his favourite places to eat and drink in Sydney – from Onde for a T-bone steak to Room 10, where he pretty much spends all his weekly earnings.