Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Happy go souva-lucky

Hi pal, I hope you're having a super good day, or should I say, I hope you're having a souva good day.

Here's a drawing I did of a souvlaki.
But I'll get back to souva's in a second, first I'd like to quickly talk about how great it is to have a blog...

Now I think it's fair to say that people as a whole can't agree on much. Probably only two things actually; one, that souvlakis are delicious, and two; that having a blog is really, really cool. 

Having said that though, up until this point the only real benefit to me having this blog is that it's a great way to impress all the hip cats at house parties, as I wear my hat backwards like Snoop Bloggy Blogg while standing in line for the bathroom. 
But a few weeks ago, having this blog actually provided me with a benefit even greater than that; I was invited to attend a VIP blogger opening launch for a new restaurant in Richmond called Jimmy Grants.

I'd never been to a blogger event before, it was pretty fancy, they had a thick red rope at the front door and your name had to be on a list and everything. 
"Right this way, you beautiful bloggers!"
The first thing I did when I got in was go stand in line for the bathroom so I could impress people by having a blog, but then I remembered that everyone in the building had a blog, so instead I just made this drawing.
When you walk into Jimmy Grants you're genuinely taken aback by how beautiful the architecture is. In fact, I was so taken aback by the entrance that I had to sit down and make a quick drawing of a tempting bucket of free drinks.
The drinks were bottles of Redds Apple Ale, which is a cross between beer and cider. It's tasty, I really like it. (Ha, although about five years ago I spent a whole summer brewing my own cider and I really liked that too, so I'm happy to drink pretty much anything.)Jimmy Grants is a greek restaurant run by George Calombaris, you know, from Masterchef. The place has been designed in the theme of George's parents first home in Melbourne, although surely Georges parents never had big circular mirrors on their celling or wallpaper that looks this awesome; 
The name Jimmy Grants comes from the cockney slang for 'immigrants', which is such a great name, I wish there were more cockney slang around, it always makes me bubble bath, (which is cockney slang for laugh).

My favourite thing about a food blogger event is watching everyone in the restaurant photograph their food. Here's a drawing I did of five people photographing their dinner while having a great time and bubble bathing out loud.
After that I moved to the other side of the restaurant and returned to my comfy seat back in front of that bucket of apple ales.
While sitting there I made this drawing of three jimmie dimmys, (which are basically just delicious dim sim balls but with a much better name).
After that I made this drawing of five ice cream cones stacked on top of each other.
And after that I made this drawing of five people photographing a chocolate and salted caramel ice-cream. 
And then after that I had a chocolate and salted caramel ice-cream myself.
I don't think I'd ever been to a souvalaki shop that's also a bar, it's pretty rad, and so the last drawing I did at the blogger event was of these two women enjoying a glass of wine.
And before leaving I gave them the drawing.
It was a really fun night.

The next morning I went back to my studio and put the finishing touches on a ceramic sculpture I was making of George Calombaris' excellent kids cook book; 'Georgie Porgie'. 
And the day after that I went back to Jimmy Grants on the first day it officially opened to the public, and amazingly, George Calombaris dropped by and signed my sculpture. 
He wrote "To Kenny, cook in love". And so there you go, a masterpiece to inspire my master feasts, signed by a Masterchef. 
Best of all, after that George also signed my chef's hat.
After meeting George I was in the mood for cooking up some drawings. Here's one I did of a guy with his hair in a top knot.I gave him the drawing and he was super friendly. He told me all about the Melbourne folk punk band The Flying So High-O's, who were on his t-shirt I'd just drawn. But if music's not your thing maybe sport is, as also at Jimmy Grants was AFL football superstar, number 15 himself, captain of the Hawthorn Hawks, Luke Hodge, who was eating a souvalki with his Dad. (As you can tell from the photo Hodgey looks so much taller, and masculine, and with shorter hair, when you see him on TV.)At this point a couple of kids began watching me draw and pretty soon I was surrounded by a herd of them, one of the mum's asked if I could show them some of my drawings, so I did of course, and they were all nice enough to at least pretend to be interested.Unfortunately by the time I'd done show and tell with the kids Luke Hodge and his Dad had vanished before I could give them the drawing. He was so fast, which I guess is probably one of the reasons why his team won the Grand Final on the weekend. So after that I drew this family.
And here they are with the drawing.
They were so nice, and sent me a thank you email the next day. I asked them what their favourite thing on the menu is and they told me it was the shrimp souvlaki. I didn't even realise there was such a thing, I might have to try it next time. 

At this point George Calombaris was just about to leave so I quickly had a go at drawing him. 
I nervously gave George his portrait and fortunately for me he was souva into it. He asked me to sign it and he was generally just a great and souva generous guy.
And after that, to wrap this thing up, I went out to the seats in the sun and drew a souvalaki, (my drawing of the souvlaki is the first image you saw way back at the top of this blog post). 
And so yeah this was a fun one, eating good food and giving out drawings, thanks so much to Danielle Poulos, George Calombaris, and just a big thanks to everyone at Jimmy Grants Richmond. I'm by no means a 'food blogger' so when I first got contacted about attending the launch I thought it must be spam, fortunately for me though it was something much, much more delicious than spam. 

Jimmy Grants is located at 427 Church Street in Richmond. There's also a Jimmy's in Fitzroy, in Ormond, and one on Lonsdale Street in the city. It's easily one of the best souvalakis I've had; give it a go!

But ok, really quick before I finish this blog post there's a couple of other things on at the moment, unrelated to souvlaki's, that I'd also love to tell you about.

The first is that if you head to Kings Artist Run gallery on Kings Street in Melbourne between now and October 24, then you'll get to see the exhibition that's just opened by Sydney artist David Greenhalgh, but also you'll get to pick up a free copy of the exhibition essay I was invited to write to accompany the show as part of the Kings Emerging Writers Program.
The next thing I wanna mention is that if you happen to be out in Regional Victoria Gippsland over the next couple of months, I'm in an exhibition there that opens this Sunday and goes until November 30. The show's at Cowwarr Art Space, which is where I did a two week residency back in May. I've got five new sculptures in the show that I've never shown before, and yeah, it's basically just a group show featuring all the Cowwarr Art Space resident artists of 2015.

And speaking of artists in residence, the last thing I'm super excited to invite you to is that every Friday night for the next five weeks, (October 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 30th and the 6th of November), I'm extremely honoured and thrilled to be the 'resident artist' at the National Gallery of Victoria! Crazy right?!

Basically what that means is I'll be standing in a room full of works from Catherine The Great's Hermitage exhibition talking about drawing and giving out a free little drawing book I was invited to make in response to the show. Come say hi! For more info on all that please click here!

Ha, and so yeah, what better way to prepare for being a resident artist at the NGV than to be the resident artist at a souvlaki shop.

Speaking of which, after drawing a souvlaki in the sun here's the last drawing I did at Jimmy Grants. It's of a Mum and daughter eating souvlaki's and salad while the Dad sips lemonade through a straw.
When I gave them the drawing the Dad said "You were drawing us?! That's so funny cause we were watching you as well! I was just saying how bad I felt for you for being a Collingwood supporter!" 

I asked "Well, who do you go for?" and he put his head down and said "...St Kilda". I told him "I should be the one feeling sorry for you!" 
And then as I walked out the door here's a nice photo of the family looking at their drawing while the sun sets over beautiful Richmond.
And so in conclusion, not much has changed; we can all still agree that souvlaki's are delicious, (particularly the ones at Jimmie Grants!), and we can all also still agree that blogs are still very, very cool. 

The only thing that actually has changed is that now when I'm in bathroom lines at parties and I'm trying to impress people by having a blog I can seem even more impressive than wearing a backwards cap by instead wearing my autographed chefs hat.
Ha, and the other thing thats new is since getting George Calombaris's wonderful wishes of "cook in love", now every time I cook jam toast it pops out of the toaster in an extra lovely heart shape.
Anyway hope this post wasn't too jam packed, thanks so much for eating. uh, I mean reading. See you again really spoon and hope you're having an awesome chews day.
Do you believe in love at first bite?

The simple joys in life. 
Or should I say, the dim simple joys in life.
Or should I say, the dim simple soys of life.
Ha, ok, sorry, I'll stop kebabbling on.


  1. Bloody hell, this is the second time that a food type unknown to me has appeared in your blog. It is definitely making me think that I don’t get out enough. That said I wonder if that souvlaki thing isn’t really just a European burrito with a flash name. Regardless of its heritage and genetics, I was pretty impressed with the 3D drawing.

    I agree; I’m very happy that you have a blog… I’m sure that you wouldn’t be as visual if you had to respond to the thousands and thousands of fans that email you every month.

    It is a strange thing that I became fixated on the bathroom cartoon… drawing thing. It is interesting…. I’ve always wondered how/why these symbols become universal… and why in this case the person that made them universal decided that a neck was so unimportant that it was better to show the head as detached from everything else. Ridiculous.

    You made a lot of drawings that night and it is funny to me how much tastier that a drawing of a salted caramel ice cream is compared to a drawing of another type of ice cream… maybe that’s my weird brain. But that book sculpture, well I like it, novel and impressive…. I’m surprised George didn’t offer you $10,000 on the spot and hang it in the restaurant. Umm, but $10,000 would require him to sell a lot of burrito things. I really liked the colour and the fact it was open and umm, more 3D than 3D.

    Thinking about all the people you drew and then chatted with led me to think that it is pretty cool this art thing… you’ve got an instant opening line that allows you to talk to anyone anytime… and they’ll instantly trust you. As opposed to … who is this guy and why is he talking to me…. which would be the case with anyone else without these party tricks. I need a party trick.

    And my final comment, the artist in residence thing is dam impressive and so grown up and established. Congrats to you. I hope that is fun and goes really well. Get out there Australia.

    Have a good weekend!

    1. Hey! Souvlaki's are amazing, it makes me sad to think that anyone hasn't heard of them. They're greek (obviously, as the menu of this Greek restaurant is pretty much based around them) but also you can get them everywhere here in Australia. I even used to cook heaps of them myself as one of my first jobs was at a fish'n'chip shop.

      I agree with the makers of bathroom signs; neck's are pretty unimportant in a drawing showing someones gender. I wonder if you even need the head on it to demonstrate it's a body or if you could get away without it. Maybe just on Halloween they should lose the head.

      Yeah, that salted caramel ice-cream is pretty incredible and I agree about the effect titling the drawing can have. Also thanks so much, "more 3d is 3d" is really kind and awesome, really happy you like the book sculpture.

      If you're looking for a party trick I suggest magic. Either that or doing one of those moves where you run at a wall then kick off it and do a backflip. Both tricks are always extremely impressive.

      And yeah, thanks so much, I'm super thrilled about the artist in residence thing at the NGV, it's such a dream and I'm super chuffed and can barely believe it. Thanks again for reading the blog and for all your kind words, hope you're going really good, Kenny.