Golden Empanada Judge: Sofia Levin

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Sofia Levin doesn’t discriminate when it comes to food. She considers hole-in-the-wall bánh mì joints as worthy of her stomach space as three-hat restaurants, and judging by her Instagram feed, spends a proportionate amount of time at both.

She’s made eating her profession, working as Food Editor at the Weekly Review, and columnist at Good Food. She’s also director of her own copywriting business, Word Salad, and manager to her Insta-famous pup, @lifeofjinkee.

With her iron wit and stomach, she was an obvious choice to be one of our GOLDEN EMPANADA judges.

Meet Sofia Levin:

Tell us about your experience with Malbec

Malbec makes me tango.

I would do anything for Malbec, but I won’t do…

…the worm. Unless I’ve had a few bottles. Yes, I can do the worm.
(You guys ply her with Malbec, we’ll grab the camera)

I’m all for judging food. The only thing I’m not willing to put in my mouth is…

I draw the line at cyanide. Unless it’s seasoned with some form of flavoured salt.

Aside from steak, what would you cook to go with Malbec?

I like the idea of knuckling down to watch six episodes of House of Cards in a row with a bottle of Malbec and a solid homemade spag bol and my puppy, @LifeOfJinkee (go on, take a look).

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Melbourne?

Mi Peru D’Carmen in Parkdale. It’s as unassuming as it is delicious, the waitstaff are so smiley it hurts your heart and they do a mean ceviche ‘mixto’ on a fish-shaped plate — it’s incredibly fresh and super tangy.

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Sydney?

I don’t know Sydney as well as Melbourne, but Porteño comes to mind.

What do you drink when no one is watching?

Water, the non-alcoholic kind.

Follow Sofia’s food and travel adventures:
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GOLDEN EMPANADA JUDGE: Leanne Clancey

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Leanne Clancey (aka Tour de Clance, Clancey of the Overflow, or just plain old Clance) is a bonafide food legend. She writes about food and travel for Broadsheet, Goodfood and Australian Traveller magazine, and also works for Studio Round where she writes and puts together heaps of rad content, including for East&Co magazine. Most impressively though, Clance is an ambassador for Scarf Community and also works closely with the Sacred Heart Mission – both charitable organisations raise money for the young and disadvantaged through food and hospitality. Yasss kween.

Tell us about your experience with Malbec

Malbec makes me tango.

I would do anything for Malbec, but I won’t do…

The tango without first drinking some Malbec.

I’m all for judging food. The only thing I’m not willing to put in my mouth is…

Airport coffee.

Aside from steak, what would you cook to go with Malbec?

Some really good grilled chorizo or morcilla.

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Melbourne? 

I rather dig the vibes at San Telmo.

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Sydney? 

Maaaaaate, Porteño. Where else you gonna go?

What do you drink when no one is watching?

Goon in a tumbler, that, in theory, I reserve for cooking. Not shy about it.

Follow Leanne’s food and travel adventures here:

 

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Golden Empanada Judge: Hilary McNevin

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Before Hilary made a big giant name for herself as one of Melbourne’s top food and wine writers (her work is published in The Australian, 9Kitchen, SBS Food Online, Winestate magazine, Broadsheet, The Weekly Review and Goodfood, and she’s contributed to and co-authored a bunch of books as well), she cut her teeth working front-of-house in restaurants for 15 years. So she has ACTUAL hospitality experience to go with all her other rad achievements. She’s also just freakin’ delightful. Yay, Hilary!

MEET HILARY MCNEVIN:

Tell us about your experience with Malbec

I’d get the stuff IV’ed in to my veins if it wasn’t going to damage my liver

I would do anything for Malbec, but I won’t do…

Anything that involves moving fast in really hot weather or jumping from a great height without a safety net

I’m all for judging food. The only thing I’m not willing to put in my mouth is…

A well-done steak or something mouldy (that’s not supposed to be mouldy)

Aside from steak, what would you cook to go with Malbec?

I’d braise ox cheeks, sear fresh Yellow Fin tuna or cook up a gathering of friends and ask them to bring food and I’d provide the Malbec.

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Melbourne? 

San Telmo

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Sydney?

 I haven’t eaten much Argentinean in Sydney but the name Tequila Mockingbird always makes me smile.

What do you drink when no one is watching?

I was at the PJ Harvey concert recently and I drank cans of premixed G&T (they were incredibly cold – could have been anything – I loved them!) – and there were lots of people there. My friends saw me do it… is that why I haven’t heard from them in a while??? Hmmmm.

Follow Hilary’s food adventures here

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Golden Empanada Judge: Michael Harry

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As you can probably tell from his photograph, Michael Harry is one cool dude. His day job is as editor of Fairfax’s Executive Style, but he also moonlights as Good Food’s bar critic and reviews for The Age Good Food Guide. All these things make him super qualified to be a judge at this year’s Malbec Day – food, wine and that Gauchito Gil style.

Tell us about your experience with Malbec

Stuff love, I’d rather fall in to Malbec.

I would do anything for Malbec, but I won’t do…

Meatloaf.

I’m all for judging food. The only thing I’m not willing to put in my mouth is…

Mashed banana.

Aside from steak, what would you cook to go with Malbec?

Do a soft cheese and crisp lavosh count as cooking?

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Melbourne?

Gotta be San Telmo.

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Sydney?

I’m still trying to get a table at Fred’s.

What do you drink when no one is watching?

Cold apple juice straight from the bottle.

Golden Empanada Judge: Lee Chan

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We have TV royalty in the house yo.
Lee Chan made it to the grand final of My Kitchen Rules in 2011, then became a presenter on Coxy’s Big Break and if that’s not cool enough, she’s hosting her own travel/cooking show on National Geographic Asia.

This talented lady gets paid to travel, eat and drink her way around the world.

Lee’s recently started her own YouTube Channel (which you should totally subscribe to – do it now) LC Lifestyle, a video blog all about her life, her passion and the places she likes to visit in our home town of Melbourne. It’s ours, we share it.

Lee’s coming to blind sample all the empanadas we can throw her way.

And there’s a few to be thrown, eaten and guzzled with Malbec.

Meet Lee Chan, your THE GOLDEN EMPANADA JUDGE:

Tell us about your experience with Malbec

Malbec makes me tango.

I’m all for judging food. The only thing I’m not willing to put in my mouth is…

Salmon and goats cheese. Urgh!

Aside from steak, what would you cook to go with Malbec?

Slow roasted lamb.

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Melbourne?

San Telmo.
(Funnily enough, joining us this year!)

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Sydney?

Porteño.
(Who join us in Sydney)

What do you drink when no one is watching?

Whiskey.

Follow Lee and her food and travel adventures:
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Golden Empanada Judge: Gemima Cody

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Gemima Cody
is kind of a big deal. She was a food and drinks writer and previously restaurant and bars editor and critic for Time Out Melbourne magazine.

She spent 5 years at Time Out and produced 34 monthly issues, wrote two bar guides and the Time Out Melbourne Pub Guide 2014. And it’s all up from there.

She’s been published in New York Magazine and has also appeared on Masterchef.

We have food critic royalty in the house and she’s going to be judging as to who gets THE GOLDEN EMPANADA.

Meet Gemima Cody:

Tell us about your experience with Malbec

My blood is of the Malbec variety.

I would do anything for Malbec, but I won’t do…

… I always win ‘never have I ever’.
(We’re intrigued Gemima… this story needs Malbec)

I’m all for judging food. The only thing I’m not willing to put in my mouth is…

Anything that’s been left unattended with Mike Bennie.

Aside from steak, what would you cook to go with Malbec?

Swans? But what’s the legality here? Do you have to write to the queen first, or do you just send her $5 with a picture of your catch? Surely it’s a she who dares wins situation when dealing with the world’s most vicious poultry.

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Melbourne?

Chili Philly‘s house. He’s South American, right?
(Chily Philly – this needs confirmation. Can we come over for lunch sometime?)

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Sydney?

Don’t they say Parramatta is the Buenos Aires of A

What do you drink when no one is watching?

Your drink.

Follow Gemima’s adventures on Good Food

Golden Empanada Judge: Anna Webster

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Anna Webster has always loved food but cheats on it regularly with wine (hey, don’t judge).
For every person that’s struggled through Uni to get through one degree, Anna’s done four (who’s judging now?!) in Arts, Journalism, Publishing and Communication (and just to make you feel worse about yourself she’s partially completed a fifth in Secondary Education).

You might know her from such shows as Masterchef or more recently through her work in the wine industry or her contributions to Broadsheet.

She’s joining us as our professional empanada judge and has agreed to let us put pastry with mystery middles in her mouth. Then she’ll cheat on food with some Malbec.

It’s all good.

Who deserves THE GOLDEN EMPANDA trophy?
See for yourself in Melbourne on April 17.

Meet Anna Webster:

Tell us about your experience with Malbec

I’d get the stuff IV’ed in to my veins if it wasn’t going to damage my liver.

I would do anything for Malbec, but I won’t do…

that.
(Word).

I’m all for judging food. The only thing I’m not willing to put in my mouth is…

Uhh… phrasing?.

Aside from steak, what would you cook to go with Malbec?

If not steak (or other red meat, e.g. venison or lamb), then probably a meaty vegetable like beetroot. Tuna would go well, too.

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Melbourne?

San Telmo.

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Sydney?

No idea.
(We’re going to introduce her to Porteño).

What do you drink when no one is watching?

I like to think I have standards but I’ll pretty much drink anything. Burgundy, if I have money. I was also just called a bogan for using a teabag?

Follow Anna and her appetite:

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Golden Empanada Judge: Mike Bennie

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Mike Bennie is a freelance wine and drinks writer and journalist, wine judge and presenter – basically people pay him money to drink wine and beer.

He’s got more accolades than we’re willing to list (there’s Malbec to drink amigos) and when he’s not busy writing he co-directs Rootstock Sydney, Australia’s first sustainable and artisan wine and produce fair.

He’s unrecognisable without his cap but we dig his toned legs when he wears shorts. If he’s not travelling somewhere exotic (like Melbourne) he’s quite likely enjoying long walks on the beach (explains the toned legs) with a bottle of wine in his hand.

He’s joining us as our Chief Empanada Judge (El Jefe) and has agreed to let us put pastry with mystery middles in his mouth.
And maybe a few Malbecs too.

Who he will steer THE GOLDEN EMPANADA trophy to?
See for yourself in Melbourne on April 17.

Meet Mike Bennie:

Tell us about your experience with Malbec

Malbec makes me tango.

I would do anything for Malbec, but I won’t do…

(Bottle Shop Concepts Director) Dan Sims.

I’m all for judging food. The only thing I’m not willing to put in my mouth is…

Dan Sims.

Aside from steak, what would you cook to go with Malbec?

Human Flesh.
(Woah, he went there)

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Melbourne?

An Argentinian’s house. Or backyard. Or dungeon.

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Sydney?

To the Pumas v Wallabies match

What do you drink when no one is watching?

Lemon Ruskis.

Follow Mike and his beach-walking-wine-drinking ways:

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Golden Empanada Judge: Chili Philly

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chiliphillySince August 2014, as a way of making new friends in Melbourne, our amigo Phil Ferguson has been creating crochet hats and posting them on Instagram with what can only be described as a reception fit for Evita.

He’s got more followers than all of us combined and he’s been featured on Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Frankie Magazine, BBC and even on Instagram’s account itself.

He’s joining us as our professional empanada judge and has agreed to let us put pastry with mystery middles in his mouth.
We think he’s brave and in for a delicious treat.

ChiliPhilly2Most importantly, we’re dying to know who he’ll award THE GOLDEN EMPANADA trophy to?

See for yourself in Melbourne on April 17.

Meet Chili Philly:

Tell us about your experience with Malbec

Malbec makes me tango.

I would do anything for Malbec, but I won’t do…

ANYTHING EMBARRASSING RIGHT?!

I’m all for judging food. The only thing I’m not willing to put in my mouth is…

nothing, I think I’ve already eaten the worst, I can only do better.

Aside from steak, what would you cook to go with Malbec?

Onions.

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Melbourne?

ChiliPhilly3My house, I look South American enough right?

Where do you go for the most authentic Argentinean experience in Sydney?

What is Sydney?

What do you drink when no one is watching?

…….. lots of goon?

Follow Chili Philly and his crochet adventures:

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