The annual Australia Day live address was hosted by Sam Kekovich at the Norman Hotel with all the lamb and trimmings you’d expect from the Lambassador himself.
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The Wolf of Wool Street
Running late to a lunch hosted by Sam Kekovich is a frightening concept, which is why I was breaking speed limits and road rules on the way to the Norman Hotel on Wednesday for Sam’s annual Australia Day address. I had terrible visions of being the direct recipient of one of his famous rants in front of a room full of people.
It was as I rounded the corner on Ipswich Road at breakneck speed, sweating, that I had the realisation that being late is probably a very Australian thing. The fact I was running late (more or less) because of my dog did seem to reinforce the excuse. Furthermore, she’s not just a dog, she is a border collie cross. That’s right – a sheep dog. Equipped with this new found understanding of my predicament, I marched proudly into the private dining room and took my place just as entrée was being served. And there’s nothing like a few lamb chops to divert the Lambassador’s attention.
The media lunch took place at Brisbane’s iconic Norman Hotel (or Brisbane’s worst vegetarian restaurant, as it’s fondly known), with Kekovich seated front and centre, and very difficult to miss. His address followed two hearty lamb-based courses. First up was an entrée of lamb rack – something that could easily have passed for main course in any restaurant – cooked to a pale pink perfection and served with a porcini stuffing. Main course, naturally, was roast lamb, this time perched atop a bed of risotto. Head Chef Nigel Blackwell was behind the burners for the day, and did an exceptional job of showcasing lamb at it’s finest. Thankfully he did not extend his culinary skills to attempt a lamb dessert – we were all far too full.
The lamb itself was brought in from Tasmania, courtesy of Dominick McIntyre of Melrose Wholesale Meats. Dominick addressed the group, introducing the concept that lamb is ‘the sleeping giant of red meat’, and unlike other meats, like beef and pork, the consumer demand doesn’t fluctuate.
Onto the 2014 annual address. If you’ve seen Kekovich’s most recent campaign, you’ll have gathered that it’s about teaching young Australians about the tradition of eating lamb and, as a community, raising the next generation of lambassadors. However, for Kekovich this is merely the tip of the iceberg. He is genuinely passionate about the culture of Australia, describing our culture as our greatest asset. He’s passionate about our farming heritage, and is incredibly proud of our reputation as a nation of quality primary production. This annual campaign is not just about firing up the BBQ and cooking a round of chops, it’s about acknowledging all that is good in our culture, about taking a positive step toward our nation’s future and acknowledging how our distinct humour can bridge a social gap – even the widening gap between country and city.