Multicultural cuisine takes on artful flavour in the Illawarra

Lorenzo Pagnan, Robert Specogna, Alan Samways, Michael Bay and (front) Sheelah Boleyn and Sheldri Weston at Wollongong City Gallery with a new food and art book, full of contributions from local restaurants.Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

Lorenzo Pagnan, Robert Specogna, Alan Samways, Michael Bay and (front) Sheelah Boleyn and Sheldri Weston at Wollongong City Gallery with a new food and art book, full of contributions from local restaurants.Picture: CHRISTOPHER CHAN

The Illawarra is one of the most culturally diverse regions in the country, with inhabitants from dozens of countries around the world bringing a corresponding number of traditions and cuisines to the area.

Those cuisines are celebrated in Artful eating; Flavours of Wollongong, a new book of food and art, featuring recipes from local restaurants Centro, Lorenzo's and Novotel Wollongong, and artwork from Wollongong Art Gallery.

"It's a look at the food of the Illawarra, and a celebration of our multicultural society," said Alan Samways, president of the Wollongong Art Gallery Friends.

"There's a huge set of different recipes, a broad look at what food is in the Illawarra."

Recipes run from simple to extravagant, with contributions from a range of culinary curators in Wollongong.

There is a simple Lebanese salad from Cringila Public School, an Iraqi breakfast from Port Kembla café Red Kitchen, and Turkish pastries from the team behind a successful gozleme stall at the weekly Crown Street Mall markets.

Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery contributed a guide to Greek-style lamb shoulder, while Throsby MP Stephen Jones shared a recipe for his mother's own pavlova.

Lorenzo Pagnan, of celebrated restaurant Lorenzo's, shared secrets behind his own special creations. Mr Pagnan said the book, featuring recipes interspersed with samples of the gallery's collection, showed the growing intersection between food and art.

"Cooking is a form of artistry. Every time I put a dish together, I'm creating something and I think about how everything is placed when it's finished," he said.

"Eating is as much about visualisation as it is about taste."

Artful Eating will be launched at Wollongong Art Gallery on Friday night, with guest speaker James Reeson from the TV show Alive and Cooking. All are welcome.

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