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Modern French cooking

French cuisine has traditionally had a global reputation for creating intricate and spectacular food using the finest of ingredients and techniques. In fact, French cuisine is extremely interesting both professional and amateur cooks as it represents some of the most challenging types of recipes for cooks. Alongside the precision and tradition of French cuisine, there is a growing movement of French chefs and cook who inject creativity and humor into their French dishes to achieve delicious and interesting takes on traditional dishes. This blog is all about modern French cooking and marries together traditional with the new French style to help inspire you to culinary heights.



Modern French cooking

The History of Australia's Chinese Restaurants

by Stephen Williams

Chinese restaurants are a common sight in Australian cities, and everyone has their favourite. Even small towns typically have one or more. But most of us don't know much about their history: they're such a feature of the landscape that we assume they've been there forever. The history of Australia's Chinese restaurants is a fascinating glimpse at the history of the nation and its Chinese communities. 

Gold rush beginnings

Although there had been small numbers of Chinese immigrants in Australia since the late 18th century, the first large groups of Chinese workers began to arrive in the 1840s as indentured labourers following the end of convict labour. Even more arrived during the gold rushes of the 1850s, just as Chinese miners and labourers had responded to the California gold rush of 1849. Many of these new arrivals found work in the diggings themselves, but others provided essential services in mining settlements. 

One such businessman was John Alloo (born Chin Thum Lok), who founded what is believed to be Australia's first Chinese-owned restaurant in 1854. It's hard to say whether Alloo's establishment was really a Chinese restaurant in the sense we would understand it today; like many early Chinese restaurateurs, Alloo tailored his menu to suit the tastes of his customers. 

Chinese cuisine spreads

Chinese restaurants serving more Chinese food gradually developed during the 19th century, at first in mining towns that boasted large Chinese populations but eventually spreading into larger cities. By 1890, one third of all cooks in Australia were Chinese. Even the immigration restrictions of the White Australia policy of the 20th century couldn't stop the growth of Australia's Chinese restaurants. From the 1930s onward, business owners could get exemptions to these restrictions for certain employees -- including cooks. This kept a small but steady supply of Chinese cooks moving into Australia's restaurant trade. By the 1950s, even small towns were starting to develop Chinese and other Asian restaurants. 

Australian Chinese food today

Australian Chinese food has evolved somewhat differently to Chinese cuisine both in China and elsewhere in the world. Items like the massive, deep-fried Dim Sim (popularised in the 1940s by Melbourne's William Chen Wing-Young) are uniquely Australian. On a more elevated level, Australian Chinese chefs have created new dishes with local ingredients, ranging from a wide variety of Australian seafood to wallaby. The result is a varied and exciting cuisine that draws on the long tradition of Chinese cooking as well as the history of Australia's Chinese community to produce something new and distinctive.