You’re really know you’ve made it when they immortalise your face on a postage stamp. Just ask the five legends of Australian cooking, who this week were honoured as the recipients of the 2014 Australia Post Legends Award.
This year’s Australia Post Australian Legends, who were chosen by an industry selection panel, are the culinary greats Margaret Fulton OAM, Maggie Beer AM, Stephanie Alexander OAM, Neil Perry AM and Kylie Kwong.
These Legends of Cooking have been recognised for their influence over Australia’s food culture and the visionary role each have played in shaping Australia’s palate and laying the foundations of our gastronomic success.
Michael Harden, independent culinary writer and member of the industry selection panel who chose the recipients, says the current food culture we have in Australia would not have been possible without the input of these amazing and visionary cooks.
“The people on this list have been integral to the way we eat now, and their innovation, imagination and integrity will keep the inspiration going into the future. It’s enough to make you hungry just thinking about it,” he said.
Each Legend will be presented with a 24-carat gold replica of their stamp and all five cooks have expressed their gratitude for the honour of being named an Australian Legend!
Margaret Fulton, who turned 89 in October, said “It’s a very nice honour. I’m getting older, and it’s a lovely feeling to say that you’ve wound up on a stamp.”
Maggie Beer, who turns 69 this month, said she’s a sentimentalist. “I’ve got every letter my mother wrote me while I was overseas, so being on a stamp makes me very proud. There have been so many parts of my life that I’ve had to pinch myself about, and this is one of them.”
Stephanie Alexander, who still sends thank you notes by post, said “When I want to thank somebody for something special I always hand write a letter because I feel it deserves it and now I’ll be even prouder to put a stamp on it. I think it’s a great honour and I’m in some marvellous company.”
The only gentleman of the group, Neil Perry (56) called it an amazing honour. “Monarchs and Heads of State are on stamps, as well as music legends like Barnesy, so to be named amongst them feels like an incredible achievement.”
At 44, Kylie Kwong is the youngest of the legends. “I’m absolutely chuffed. I don’t even think it’s sunk in yet; I’m still digesting the enormity of it,” said Kylie. “It fills me with such pride and it makes me want to do even more for this country and to take what I do that step further.”
The culinary legends will feature on a 60c stamp, with all Legends featuring in a stamp pack, first day cover and set of maxi cards along with a commemorative book titled Australian Legends of Cooking, written by Michael Harden.
Ahmed Fahour, Managing Director & CEO of Australia Post, said this year’s award celebrates five Australians who have each played a distinct role in the emergence of a sophisticated Australian food culture.
“These five individuals have taught Australians to appreciate our abundant fresh ingredients and to embrace the flavours of multiculturalism. They are not just cooks, but business-minded authors, teachers, TV personalities and restaurateurs. For this, they truly deserve the title Australian Legend.”
The stamps and associated products are available at participating Australia Post retail outlets, via mail order by calling 1800 331 794 and online at www.auspost.com.au/stamps from 17 January 2014 while stocks last.