Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Epicurean Graphics by Les Mason
A special extra box arrived with the wines from Crittenden Estate today It was a box of Epicurean magazines from 1968 to 1988. Twenty years of how fine food and wine was developing in Australia. Garry knows I collect food and wine ephemera and kindly sent them along with the Crittenden Estate Arneis, Moscato and Savignin, varieties that are not found on this side of the bay.
The first thing that jumped out at me while unpacking the magazines was how extraordinary the early graphics were. . The title pages reveal the early art director as Les Mason, “who was considered by his peers to be the seminal force in the establishment of graphic design in Melbourne in the 1960s and '70s....”
Link to The Age obit here
You can see the resonances of Les mason's style in many contemporary artworks from Deborah Halpern to Reg Mombassa
Then as I started to get into the content of the magazines I was drawn along a journey guided by many of the best, most articulate and passionate people that shaped the way the food and wine industry is right now in Australia.
Penny Smith, Marian Halligan. Len Evans, Diane Holouigue, Mietta, Dan Murphy, Ian Hickinbotham, and Oscar Mendelssohn, the list of contributors is extraordinary and long. We see the first review for Jacques Reymond and Tansy Goode. Mietta talks to a very disillusioned Alain Chapel who is all gloom and doom about the loss of tradition in French cooking.The first run of the sous-vide revolution kicks off. Tony Bilson is reviewed by Len Evans at Tony’s Bon Gout then later at Kinsellas. A very young Terry Durack writes with a wry Australian humour and passion on 3 star dining in France.
The early years 1968--1975 give perspective to a time before I started on this journey, then in the later volumes I am confronted by the very events that dragged my generation very willingly into a life of hospitality. Many of the recipes recorded have stood the test of time but those that copied the “flavour of the month” Nouvelle Cuisine from European sources look just as silly as the aspic and chaud froid disasters of a previous generation copying the last gasps of la Grande Cuisine. I wonder how young cooks now starting out will look back at the current micro-molecular smears and splodges in 40 years? Probably in 5 dimensions on media that not even Apple has dreamed about.....