Time Out Talks: Is the nanny state taking the taste from our restaurants?


Time Out says

The first in a new series of live panel discussions by Time Out

If you were offered a bite of the most delicious apple in the world – a fruit so rare and complex in its taste, it made those who tried it openly weep – but there was a small chance it would kill you, would you take the risk? Should you even be allowed to make that choice yourself?

The more often we eat out, the more we're forced to grapple with this calculation. Our food regulations exist to protect us, but many argue they go too far. Lately, we've seen flare ups over the cooking temperatures of burgers (sample headline: “Burgers In NSW Will Soon Suck”) and the serving of unpasteurized, and cold-pressed products. Even the choice of utensils at a restaurant can come at a risk to health.

In a climate where over-regulation is a statewide bugbear, is food just another chapter in the nanny state's rulebook, or is the Food Authority a life-saving exception?

In Time Out's first ever live panel discussion, we'll tackle the issue of food, regulation and freedom. We'll dive deep on burgers and pasteurization, and look at what happens when food laws are ignored.

Chaired by Time Out's editorial director, Alyx Gorman, our discussion will be led by panelists with a whole spectrum of perspectives, including: Jake Smyth of Mary's; Kate Browne of Choice and The Checkout; clinical academic gastroenterologist at UWS, Dr Vincent Ho; and Sydney restaurateur John Fink.

For one night only, we're shipping in the team from Mary's, who will be on site to create a very special 'Nanny State Burger', to complement the discussion.

The bar at the Belvoir will be open for business before and after the event, and Mary's burgers will available to guests throughout the evening.

Join Time Out and gain a new perspective, or put your own view to our panel.

Click here to buy tickets.


John Fink: John Fink is a restaurateur, filmmaker and passionate Sydneysider. He's creative director at the Fink Group, who represent three generations of hospitality. They've run Quay since 1988, back when it was known as 'Bilson's' and with Otto, Bennelong and Firedoor under their umbrella, they continue to rule Sydney's fine dining scene. John's had a magnifying glass view of the whole industry, from the front door to behind the kitchen fridges.

Kate Browne: As an investigative journalist for Choice, Kate Browne has turned her inquisitive mind to everything from crash diets to flushable wipes. You might recognise her as the ‘Guilty Mum' from The Checkout, but when it comes to standing up for the rights of consumers, Kate's got nothing to feel red faced about.

Dr Vincent Ho: Lecturing in medicine at the University of Western Sydney, Dr Vincent Ho is a clinical academic gastroenterologist. He's spent his career as a science communicator, as well as a practicing clinician, writing for The Conversation and providing expert advice to the media. His aim is to give people a better understanding of their own guts.

Jake Smyth: Sydney's unofficial king of burgers, Jake Smyth is the co-owner of Mary's along with Kenny Graham, where he dishes up over 10,000 of the things each week. In order to make the Mary's Burger the icon it's become, Smyth spent months researching the product to get everything just right. Lately, he's turned his hand to pub grub, with a stake in Paddington spot The Unicorn.

Alyx Gorman (Chair): Alyx Gorman is the editorial director of Time Out Australia, where she spends her days wrangling a crack squad of editors and critics, all in aid of serving the public the very best of their cities – whether it's on a silver platter or a bamboo disposable plate. A regular guest on 702 ABC Sydney and Triple J's Hack, Alyx is not afraid of a bit of confrontation, or a tangled issue, from farmer's markets to global markets.


Event phone: 02 9699 3444
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