Sunday, October 9, 2011

Catering out bush...

I have just spent the past week in a remote community on the AP (Anangu Pitjantjatjara)  Lands called Umuwa, or rather the 'Canberra of the AP Lands', attending and participating in the 13th Remote Indigenous Media Festival.  This is my work life....
Around 100 people from remote Australia, from as far away as One Arm Point on the Dampier Peninsular (north of Broome), to Darnley Island (outer Island of the Torres Strait), to Blackstone in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands... attended a five day festival to celebrate the media and media makers of remote Australia. 
Despite my uncertainty about where I was sleeping from day to day, and the ridiculous working hours, from 8am to 11pm each time,  I had a fabulous time, and one of the factors that made this festival so great, was the food.
A group of about five people, fed 100 people three meals a day, using camp ovens, barbecue plates and open fires.  They had one refrigerated van and operated outdoors most of the time in a small fly-screened tent and  despite rain, near cyclonic winds, and the occasional 35+ degree day, managed to serve up a great menu. We had stir fries, goulash, corned beef with vegetables, grilled eggplant, fennel and orange salad, grilled capsicum and the occasional fabulous desert of cinnamon baked pears with fresh cream. Enamel plates and metal cutlery were provided, as was fresh fruit and coffee. 
I've been to many a  city based conference where the food came nowhere near to the quality of this food, and certainly nothing compares with the friendly attitude of these caterers. And they seemed to enjoy the process.
 Sadly, I took no photos of this fabulous cooking team..  But what heros they were.  And I was quite happy to be immersed in my world of video-making, screenings and governance, and be fed.. constantly...
Feed your people well, and the rest will follow.
Stay posted, I'm looking for photos..