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Me and Alice



"Would you like anything Alice?"

These are the words I uttered to one of my all time food heroes.

Yep, that's what I said to Alice Waters

I shiver just writing that.

She smiled and replied no thank you, as she admired the roses and strawberries on display, her voice hardly audible over the din of 140 or so excited travellers and entourage also in the room.

We exchanged a few more pleasantries before Alice disappeared into the crowd.





Chef, activist, restauranteur and author, I have loved Alice's work for many years. A pioneering champion of local food, slow food, farmers markets and school kitchen gardens.  I even planted a rare apple tree, Esopus Spitzenburg in my garden as I'd read somewhere it was her favourite apple.

Alice had just stepped off a charter flight and walked into the Hobart Airport terminal, along with eighty or so other food influencers from around the world.  They were here as part of a giant tourism promotion,  Restaurant Australia, and I can tell you the whole of Hobart town has gone nuts working like crazy to provide the most delicious, mind blowing experience for our guests.

My role, was to style the rarely used International Lounge at the Airport, to provide a special space to welcome these guests as they stepped off the tarmac.  Take a bland white room and give it a rustic Tasmanian shed feel.   It was a huge job, logistically challenging and an absolute delight.  Working with super talented florist Missie Austwick and the clever guys from Outlook Concepts, I think we nailed the brief.  I named the bar The Geeveston Fanny, not only after Tasmania's very own delicious apple, but also a nod to Alice's Cafe Fanny.

At the end of two long days of setting up the space, I stayed on to help serve a hand picked selection of Tasmanian refreshments that I had pulled together for the guests, Cape Grim Water, Henry's Ginger Beer, Ashbolts sparkling elderflower drink, piles of strawberries straight from a farm in Cygnet and chocolates from The Cat's Tongue.  The guests were only in the space a short time while they waited for their hotel transport, but for 30 minutes or so the place buzzing.  A big worldwide foodie get together.

Working on this project, I learnt so much, met talented people and feel so grateful for the help of so many friends (and super husband Leo) who helped to pull it all together.  It was one crazy, busy, fun, nervous butterflies-in-the-stomach fuelled ride and I was so delighted to be a part of it.

But the one thing I will never, ever forget, is those special few moments when, in a room filled with 140 noisy people, it felt like it was just me and Alice.







A big heartfelt thanks (with links!) to the cool people who helped pull this together 

Missie Austwick 
Dobell Signs
Futago 
Willie Smiths 
Henry's Ginger Beer
Lark Distillery
Cape Grim Water
The Cat's Tongue Chocolatiers
Rogue Empire
My Bearded Pigeon
Soap By Hand
Ashbolts
Ali Nasseri 


21 comments:

  1. Just fabulous, Michelle - it looks and sounds sensational! x

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    1. Thanks Naomi - it such a fun day! x

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  2. *sob*
    oh my gosh I LOVED reading this Michelle.
    I know EXACTLY how much this meant to you and how very hard you worked to make it happen.
    I am BURSTING with pride & so very very thrilled for you.
    And not one bit surprised that you and your cleverness pulled it off.
    I also had a little tear the other day when I saw Alice's instagram shot and her saying how much she loved the flowers that you had placed in that space to welcome her.
    She replied no thankyou because you had made everything PERFECT.
    Bravo!
    So SO GREAT!

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    1. Thank you for your lovely words dear friend xxx

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  3. Wow, how amazing this looks. I have been in this lounge and you have totally transformed it! Loved reading this, the whole week has been a buzz of great energy. x

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    1. There has been an amazing buzz hasn't there? So proud of our little island! x

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  4. Wow! You created such a gorgeous space - from the pallets to the barrels...I am probably pinning everyone of these shots to my Pinterest!

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    1. Yes, those apple bins and barrels sure come in handy!

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  5. Do you know what I love most about this? That you planted a specific Apple tree because it was one Alice liked. That's something I'd do!
    How very awesome that you got to spend that moment with her x

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  6. Incredible Michelle, you totally rocked it! x

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    1. Aw thanks Jane, that's sweet of you to say. Happy Sunday! xx

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  7. Beautiful. Well done. I am looking forward to a wonderful week in hobart early December.

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  9. I died from all the wonderfulness very early in your post (I think it was the idea that you had spoken to ALICE WATERS that did it) so read the rest down a long dark tunnel as I fought my way back to the light. I'm here, I'm okay, in fact I'm better for having read this and died, but please give me a warning before posting such loveliness again. x

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    1. Bron, that must be the most poetic comment I have ever received. Thank you so much xx

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  10. Oh Michelle...what a fabulous story
    As one proud Tasmanian to another...THANKYOU fir showcasing our state and it's produce so fabulously!!

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    1. thank you Ally, it really was such a thrill! x

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  11. it looks so beautiful! well done Michelle!

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  12. Looks very willie smiths a highlight of our mid yr trip to tassie. Looks like we chose well as you have several of our favourites. Wish we could get their product in rural vic. Awesome effort turning blaaa white into rustic apple shed xo

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