It’s been a long time coming but Lyndey Milan has been looking forward to giving the Blue Mountains a proper tasting.
The Australian TV food queen has been in the food business for more than 25 years but only recently got the chance to sample the delights of the Mountains for one of her popular shows.
Focusing on the slow food movement, last week she tried wagyu beef in the Megalong, stocked up on juice and apples at Logan Brae Orchard, went foraging for wild mushrooms in Oberon and had the chance to make a very magic pudding (the trick is in the coffee) at Norman Lindsay Gallery. All while staying, and cooking up that produce, at Katoomba’s historic Carrington Hotel.
The Blue Mountains Gazette caught up with the food celebrity last Wednesday morning during her visit to Josophan’s in Leura where hot pots of dark chocolate were simmering away. She was surrounded by more than 120 kilograms of melting chocolate, part of the estimated half a tonne chocolatiere Jodie Van Der Velden was planning to cook up in the week before Easter Sunday.
Ms Milan said she always had a weak spot for the Mountains after growing up as the youngest of three sisters and regular holidaying here.
“We always thought the story was about us, that The Three Sisters were named after us and we loved the scenic railway,” she said.
She re-discovered the region as an adult — and has come back regularly ever since —partly for the views, but mostly for the food.
And she didn’t need much arm coaxing by her friend Pam Seaborn (part of the Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon Tourism industry advisory group) to feature the region in her new show on Australia.
“We really wanted to emphasise the Blue Mountains as somewhere to stay, not just for a day trip,” Ms Milan said. “I cooked the wagyu beef while at Everglades and used the Loganbrae apples in a slaw at The Carrington.
“I didn’t have a cocktail at Charlie’s [the bar in the Carrington], she [the executive producer] wouldn’t let me,” she said laughing.
“If you saw the call sheet, it’s like a military campaign,” she said.
The shoot at Josophan’s took several hours. It was part of three “very long days” —starting with a 5.30am hair and make-up call — that will end up as a 25 minute episode in her 13-part TV series set to screen on the Seven network (on Seven Two) at the end of the year.
For Ms Van Der Velden it was all welcome publicity, but during a challenging week. “I had two hours sleep last night and came in to finish cakes for Wolgan Valley resort before this shoot.”
On Easter Monday the chocolatiere flew to Ghana as part of an Australian delegation to inspect cacao plantations.