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Richard Beckett and Sam Orr talk about food
conference contributionposted on 2017-12-06, 00:00 authored by Alison Vincent
Richard Beckett (1936 – 1987) has been described as ‘a sophisticated larrikin of the old school’ (Walsh 1993: 19). In the persona of Sam Orr he wrote ‘pungently opinionated’ (Walsh 1993: 19) restaurant reviews forthe outspoken and iconoclastic journal Nation Review, in a prose style described as ‘contemporary trendy obscene’ (Halligan 1977:18). There was much more, however, to Richard Beckett than the larger-than-life Sam Orr. He was one of the Australia’s most prolific food writers of the1970s and 1980s, publishing widely on food matters, from restaurant guides, a history of food in Australia and books on gardening and growing food, and always concerned with what Australians ate and their relationship with food production and supply. Today his work is largelyforgotten and his contribution barely recognized. This paper explores Beckett’s contribution to food writing in Australia and in particular his role as a restaurant critic.