The Eden Project

The Eden Project

You could say that my special guest, Michael Venner on Voices from the North is a classic case of Kiwi boy done good – he’s lived overseas and now returned to enrich us with his experiences obtained abroad. But I believe Michael Venner is more than that. The new proprietor of Coopers Café has had his considerable culinary skills forged in the heat of European kitchens. And at Oxford he’s honed his knowledge and appreciation of the world of hospitality. In recent years we’ve seen the emergence of a growing body of World Music. Michael Venner presents a refreshing, philosophical and often poetic voice of World Cuisine.

 

Michael shares stories from his twelve years spent in England including an illuminating visit to the Eden Project. He has rubbed shoulders with chefs from many cultures and been deeply influenced by them. He sees the preparation of food, whether in a kitchen at home or in a restaurant as an act of love. He relays a humorous story of imbibing in the hospitality of southern France. “Food is not just fuel,” he claims. “It’s the way of eating [that’s important].

 

The Eden Project. This Really is a Photo!

The Eden Project. This Really is a Photo!

I finished the interview with one of my favourite Mullah Nasruddin stories:

Many years ago Mullah Nasrudin was the advisor to a great king. Unfortunately the king died and when the new king was installed he couldn’t stand the Mullah. He called him into his palace and sentenced him to death. Mullah Nasrudin told the king that if he were to give him but one year the Mullah could teach the new king’s horse to fly. The king realised he had little to lose in accepting this request, (a year’s worth of meals and little more) and he thought it would be wonderful to have a flying horse. So he agreed, but advised Nasrudin that at the end of the year he would be executed if the horse couldn’t fly.

Nasrudin was imprisoned. One of his students came to visit him and asked him why he had made such a ridiculous offer. Nasrudin replied “In the course of a year, anything can happen. The king could change his mind, he could be overthrown, he could get sick and die, he could pardon all the prisoners. And worse come to worse, I could teach that damn horse to fly!”

Listen to the Michael Venner interview here:

 

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I finished the interview with one of my favourite Mullah Nasruddin stories:

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