I tried to remind Dean and Mei that we first met at a pancake shop on Lygon Street.
That they were the first group of people I met in Melbourne, my seniors at a residential college.
Of course, their faces drew a blank because it was 10 years ago.
And that pancake shop is no longer there.
What I was trying to get to, is that they were sitting next to me, and they were holding hands.
And Dean couldn’t stop caressing Mei’s hands, and the knee the hands were on, sometimes her ears.
Highly inappropriate from a FOB’s point of view back then.
And probably also a little creepy to have that thought when shooting their family portrait 10 years later.
So maybe it was a good thing the conversation didn’t go that way.
But if you were there with me that Friday, seeing them trying to keep up with Damien, their 4 year old iron-boy.
Trying so hard to make him smile, and then not smile, and then not cry.
Bathing in that golden hour of sun light, you’d understand.
Why I had to think about 10 years ago.
Because that affection they displayed then, is simply a direct cause to their lives now.
Because they were happy, therefore they are happy.
The door opened at 7pm and the front of house started greeting everyone by first names.
I realised then it was truly a VIP event.
Everyone was either regulars, or close friends, or
that grumpy judge from Masterchef Matt Preston.
I was the last minute guest replacing Bec, Yuuki’s wife, and I had a feeling they could smell that I didn’t belong.
It was my first time in Attica, the highest new entry in this year’s Top 50 Restaurants of the World.
And with a huge stroke of luck, it was also a collaborative event with a 2 star Michelin restaurant from San Francisco, Coi.
The two restaurants would prepare half of the course respectively, titled ‘ Dan and Ben’s excellent adventure ‘.
Our deal for the night was for Yuuki to focus and concentrate on taking the notes while I take care of the photographs.
But more than once the both of us were simply distracted, by the interesting remarks from the table next to us, by our own sounds of ‘mmm’s and ‘wah’s, by Yuuki’s gourmet adventure around the world.
I have no idea how to conclude this post, since I’m still an amoeba when it comes to fine dining.
So I’m attempting to let the photos do the talking.
Hopefully you could feel the creativity, energy and philosophies of the chefs.
For the past month, whenever I tell my friends about Melbourne Magazine closing down, their immediate reactions were either:
1) What? When did this happen?! Or;
2) But why? It was so well written / produced / photographed / done.
I personally found out about it just before I boarded my plane to Japan, so I didn’t have much time to reflect and ponder.
But these things happen, for sound or unsound reasons.
I attended the farewell drinks last Thursday and it was such a humbling experience, meeting so many experienced editors, writers, designers, art directors, and not to mention photographers.
These weren’t the starting-out-trying-to-crack-the-industry photographers. I believe they ARE the industry.
I am still humbled that I actually shared the same title with them, standing in the same room, eating the same mushroom pizza with truffle oil.
I’ve attended my share of farewell parties, this one was more upbeat than I expected.
Either they’ve seen it all, or everyone just expects to cross paths again in the future.
Which leads me to believe that the Melbourne Magazine will simply return as something different in the future.
It’s been a short 12 months shooting for the magazine, but the people I’ve met, the food I’ve tasted.
You can only imagine.