At Least There’ll Be Food
Shambles at The Woodside Pleasure Garden
REVIEW: ARYLENE WESTLAKE- JENNINGS
Having spent the past two years travelling halfway across the world on motorbike, you’d expect some curious stories from former Masterchef contestant and homegrown talent Ben Bullock.
And that’s exactly what you get at his Fringe performance, which is a storytelling/cooking demonstration hybrid that holds your attention for several unexpected reasons.
Firstly, the prison food you will be taught to cook and get a chance to sample.
Thai prison food – a som tum – and Iranian fesenjan (more on that one later), to be exact.
Really, I say this in jest because Bullock goes on to explain how these flavours punctuated his Perth, WA, to Perth, Scotland, journey on the back of a Hunter motorcycle, and why he relates them to significant events during the 30,000km trek.
Bullock’s anecdotes are amusing, sometimes scary and mostly interesting – from illegally crossing the Thai border to touring with outlaw motorcycle gang Bearded Vultures.
And while there was a bit of a struggle at times to tell his stories and cook at the same time, all was forgiven when samples of the dish were passed around.
Cleverly, Bullock employs the help of audience members to help ease the burden, getting them to julienne zucchini, break down a chicken (kudos to young Rory for participating at the opening show) and score the dishes Masterchef-style.
Personally, I got to try flavours I had not been introduced to before, namely the fesenjan, which is a chicken stew cooked with pomegranate and walnuts and served with rice and lavash, and Turkish rice pudding or firin sutlac.
If anything, those dishes alone were worth the time.
Overall, the show is a great introduction to the unique flavours of the Asian continent and a particularly good filler for between shows if you’re at the Pleasure Garden for the long-haul on the weekends.
On until February 16.