A thing I noticed about food writing


Image via epSos.de on Flickr

I quite enjoy Epicure, the food liftout in Tuesday’s Age. I like both food and newspapers, so it’s not a surprise. I’ve recently enjoyed a review of a place that serves gnocchi with kale (two of my favourite things), some first impressions of George Calombaris’ new souvlaki joint, and a feature on Melbourne’s best affordable steaks.

At least, I thought I quite enjoyed Epicure until I met someone last year who loves it – grabs it out of the paper on Tuesdays, reads it cover to cover before touching the news. And who mentioned to me that there’s one establishment that appears in Epicure particularly often.

“Have you noticed Pope Joan is in Epicure a lot?”

I hadn’t, but over the months that followed I noticed this was true. Pope Joan, an East Brunswick cafe with great breakfast, did seem to appear in the liftout’s pages reasonably often, now I was looking for it. It might pop up in the short news pieces at the front, or in longer features about Melbourne dining trends.

I never did a content analysis to compare the number of Pope Joan mentions with the number of appearances by, say, Attica or Chin Chin or Albert Street Food and Wine. But it was funny. I wondered if the cafe had a great PR consultant, or whether someone there was friendly with one of the food writers at The Age. I didn’t wonder very hard because then I would be distracted by places to eat breakfast and news about cafes that were opening soon and lists of vegetables that were in season.

A few weeks ago Epicure ran a full-page review of Pope Joan. Apparently it’s open for dinner now, which is interesting news, and menu items like fondue and a modern take on chicken kiev sound pretty great. Good Food Guide co-editor Roslyn Grundy wrote the piece instead of regular reviewer Larissa Dubecki.

This line at the bottom of the page caught my eye:

“Larissa Dubecki is on leave. Her husband, Ben Foster, co-owns Pope Joan.


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