2 months ago, I was approached by The Age’s Melbourne Magazine to do a profile coverage.
Now that it’s published, I can safely share some of my journal:

Burnham Beeches Shannon Bennett

I was strapped in the backseat of an Audi R8 supercar.

Shannon turned around to check the blind spot whenever he switched lane (good driver, he was).
Sitting next to him was Dani my writer, his daughter Pheonix was flipping through the Melbourne Art Fair catalogue, and in between us sat Shannon’s truffle hunting dog MJ. (Short for Michael Jackson.)

Just in case you’re wondering, Shannon is acclaimed chef and owner of Vue De Monde franchise Shannon.
The Age Good Food Guide Three Hat winner, recently crowned Restaurant of the Year Shannon.
Possibly the most expensive restaurant in town Shannon.

My brain was still trying to digest: how did I end up being here?
Short answer: due to a clusterfuck of luck and chance.
Long answer: After seeing some of my shots in Broadsheet, Mark, the Melbourne Magazine art director contacted me earlier this year for an assignment. I couldn’t do it because I was in Japan and promised to get in touch once I return, which I didn’t. So when we finally caught up last week (bless his soul for sending me another email), I showed him some pictures that I took at Vue De Monde during Chika’s birthday.
And then yesterday at 3pm he sent me an email asking if I was interested in covering Shannon for the magazine’s upcoming food issue.
So Broadsheet, Mark, Chika’s Birthday, Melbourne Magazine.
Shannon Bennett Audi R8

As I was recounting my lucky stars, MJ cuddled up to me and started bleching saliva (think Alien but not acidic) on my bag and sleeves.
And then out of nowhere, it happened.
Shannon Bennett’s truffle-hunting dog barfed on me.

A litre of undigested dog food came pouring out of MJ’s mouth, straight onto the luxury Nappa leather sports seat.
Some went all the way into my back pocket.

‘Jesus!’ Shannon turned around.
Dani looked back in sympathy (It’ll make a good war story, she said.)
Pheonix, was sound asleep by then.
If we were to freeze frame that moment, you’d think it’s just another day trip of a wildly dysfunctional family.

Shannon Bennett Burnham Beeches Truffle

Minutes later we found our way to Burnham Beeches near Dandenong to check out Shannon’s farm and the plan of his new business venture (a bakery attached to a historical mansion soon-to-be hotel).

In case you’re wondering about the well being of the car, it’s alright. As a corporate sponsor, Audi updates Shannon’s car every year.

Shannon got out of the car and started removing MJ’s discharge. And that’s the first time I saw a celebrity chef up close.

He was less intimidating than I thought. I can imagine some foodies bowing down to his culinary holiness, but there he was, offering me some heavy duty kleenex to wipe vomit off my bum.

(To be continued.)