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 Sponsored by Nuffnang

During November Melburnians have been eating, drinking and getting outdoors for the inaugural The Age Good Food Month and last week a few lucky Epicure readers were treated to a very special lunch as part of The Age’s Forever Curious campaign.

Forever Curious is all about encouraging readers to uncover the stories that are just waiting to be discovered. There have been four Forever Curious activations to date (such as ‘Just Graffiti’ and ‘Just a Tailor‘) and the reward for those who have been curious about what’s under the surface have been some money-can’t-buy prizes and unique one-off experiences.

The latest Forever Curious experience (and last for the year) was titled ‘Just a Chef’.

To set the scene, in the Epicure section of The Age on Tuesday 19 November a clue was inserted after a Karen Martini recipe (Karen is a Melbourne chef who’s a regular contributor to Fairfax publications) “If you’re curious at heart, head to Pino’s at Prahran Market this Saturday at 9:30am and look out for the Forever Curious grocer. Mention you’re an Age reader, and you could be in for a lunchtime treat with me. Only a few spots available though! – Karen-“

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More information was provided on Thursday and Friday through The Age’s Facebook page and Twitter feed…and then I turned up on the bustling Saturday at Prahran Market where a chef in a ‘Forever Curious’ apron appeared to be selecting produce for his kitchen at Pino’s Fine Produce (Karen Martini’s preferred grocer for her work and home kitchen).

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People who chatted to the chef about the seeded clues were rewarded with a signed copy of Karen Martini’s newest cookbook ‘Everyday’, which contains food that Karen cooks most – for herself and her family – and the recipes that are requested time and time again.

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In addition, some lucky people who didn’t have plans for lunch that Saturday won a private dining experience with Karen Martini at her St Kilda restaurant, Mr Wolf. Just goes to show it pays to be ‘unplanned’ and spontaneous sometimes because you get to enjoy unexpected experiences!

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The lunch was a 4 hour affair, a bountiful meal of the greatest hits from the Mr Wolf kitchen and free flowing wine to get the conversation started amongst a dozen strangers.

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To start, some antipasti including brightly hued pickled vegetables, a ramekin of roasted peppers stuffed with goats cheese, cumin and crunchy walnuts, some classic crunchy calamari fritte with tartare and an artful pile of prosciutto flecked with mint, ricotta and smashed broad beans drizzled with balsamic and olive oil.

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Next up was a selection of some of Mr Wolf’s famous pizzas, all with a crispy thin base and topped with classic Italian ingredients – no barbecue chicken horrors here!

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That wasn’t even the main course – huge steaming plates of slow cooked Greek lamb shoulder arrived along with Karen’s take on ‘horta’ (Greek wild greens) tossed with barley, feta and herbs. That salad was one of my favourite dishes of the day.

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And to finish, a refreshingly light lemon zabaglione with a zing of fresh blood orange and a shard of dehydrated citrus.

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If that hasn’t made you jealous (or hungry) enough then watch this video of the ‘Just a Chef’, from the winners finding out their prize to a table full of happy strangers tucking into lunch.

Giveaway! Thanks to The Age’s Forever Curious campaign two people have the chance to win a $250 voucher to spend at Karen Martini’s restaurant, Mr Wolf and one person can win a copy of Karen Martini’s cookbook ‘Everyday’. 

  • To win one of the $250 vouchers, you need to use your own Twitter account to retweet this message by The Age (@theage) with the hashtag #forevercurious. You can enter multiple times with each retweet. The competition ends midnight Wednesday 11 December and the winner will be selected by random draw (Full terms and conditions).
  • To win a copy of Karen Martini’s cookbook ‘Everyday’ just comment below with your answer to What ingredient or dish are you most curious to learn about? (Full terms terms and conditions). Entries close midnight Wednesday 11 December and the most creative entry will be selected by myself and Nuffnang as the winner. Good luck!