By Jessica Williams.
The Wheeler Centre – Melbourne’s hub for literary art – is taking part in a new literary collaboration with the MGallery Collection – a selection of nine hotels in Australia, each inspired by a story, either historic or contemporary.
Gastrology was privileged to be invited to attend its Debra Oswald Event at The Como Melbourne on Chapel Street recently. A brilliant evening of gorgeous food and literary talent. It made the team at Gastrology proud to be part of the booming literary community in Melbourne.
The evening began with champagne, lavender martinis and canapés in The Como Melbourne foyer - a contemporary and welcoming hotel in South Yarra – before being invited to proceed up the elevator to level 6 to the beautiful penthouse event space, Gold Suite.
The Como Melbourne General Manager Jeremy Healy and Kendra Overall from the Wheeler Centre introduced the night ahead once we had taken our seats. The Como Melbourne – member of the MGallery Collection together with Wheeler Centre had intentionally capped ticket numbers to create an intimate dinner atmosphere in the romantically lit room. Forty people sat around four round tables complete with black table cloths, gorgeous spring blooms and a beautiful grand piano provided stunning background music. We felt so fortunate to be a part of the evening.
A smooth and rich duck terrine was served with toasted brioche, fig and lime chutney and a soft herb salad for entrée – matched with a stunning 2013 Rockbare Chardonnay from McLaren Vale in South Australia it was an enticing way to begin the meal.
The MGallery Literary Collection offers Australian writers the opportunity to immerse themselves in a different city through a three day residence in one of the nine hotels. The aim is to provide writers with a creative retreat; a chance to focus on their writing and creative practice, away from the demands and distractions of everyday life.
Our special guest, Debra Oswald, was the creative genius behind the television show Offspring. It was so fascinating – for the many Offspring fans out there – to hear firsthand what it like to be the woman who wrote Patrick’s death. Yes, we met with the woman who caused thousands of Australian hearts to break simultaneously. Debra also wrote multiple episodes of Bananas in Pyjamas and has recently release a new book entitled Useful. Of which we now own a signed copy of, yay!
For main, King George Whiting with Carrot Tarte Tatin, Pea Puree and a luscious Lemon sauce were alternated with Beef Eye Fillet served with potato rosti, asparagus spears and a sweet jus.
The food served throughout the evening was of such high and beautiful quality. The way in which creativity of food and creativity of literature and music all seemed to collide in the same space was a beautiful thing to be a part of.
As mains were cleared, Debra Oswald was introduced to the room. The conversation-style presentation between the author and Sarah Greenstone from The Wheeler Centre sustained the feeling of intimacy intended for The Como Melbourne event.
Oswald is a brilliant, quirky woman of whom anyone could gleam some insight from. She doesn’t seem to take herself to seriously, and was happy to exhibit her career in the literary industry openly and honestly.
We learnt that Offspring was a ten page pitch for four years before it was picked up to be made in to a TV show. For so long Oswald was the only one who believed in the story of the Proudmans. Kat Stewart (Billie Proudman) and a few other Offspring team members were at the enlightening event in support of Debra. Slyly keeping their mouths shut ahead of a surprising Offspring Season 6 announcement just days later.
Debra shared insights from her past, and joked about her genuine surprise that she made it as a playwright with happily married parents and an upbringing in a non-happening suburban town.
We all reminisced about the bananas and their friends the bears. And learnt that all empowering story lines were handed to the female characters of the childrens’ show. “I offered to invest in fabric to provide just one testicle for Morgan,” Oswald jested.
The presentation ended as dessert was served. And while the Chilli and Dark Chocolate Pudding with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and Popping Candy, matched with a Yalumba Botrytis, looked like absolute heaven. None of us wanted Debra to return to her seat. A fascinating, smart and entertaining woman, we were so honoured to be allowed the opportunity to learn from Debra’s beguiling mind.
The Wheeler Centre is Melbourne’s home for smart, passionate and entertaining public talks on every topic. To be a guest at one of their future events, head to www.thewheelercentre.com and sign up to their newsletter to learn about the 200+ events that take place every year.
Gastrology bloggers attended the event courtesy of MGallery.