Annabel Crabb: Political Gastronomy

Political journalist and culinary enthusiast Annabel Crabb will take over the Festival Theatre’s stage for an evening with some of Australia’s most dynamic personalities as part of the Adelaide Fringe.

The charismatic Crabb will be returning to Adelaide from Sydney for the one night-only performance, An Evening With Annabel Crabb, which will mark her first stint onstage as a live host. “Fringe is such an amazing time to be [in Adelaide] and if exposing myself to potential ridicule in front of 2,000 people is part of it, then I’ll cop it,” Crabb tells The Adelaide Review. “My favourite thing in the world is to cook and talk to people, so that’s what I’ll be doing onstage. It’s going to be a mixture of people that I know, and people that I’ve always admired and who I think are really interesting.” Crabb has so far confirmed that at least two guests will be joining her on the night, with the first being fellow political journalist, author and close friend, Leigh Sales. Crabb and Sales do a podcast together called Chat 10 Looks 3. “I know her pretty well – I suspect if I hadn’t asked her formally to be a part of [the Fringe show], she would’ve turned up and heckled anyway, so she’s locked in,” Crabb says. “She also has a number of unsuspected skills, Sales does. She constantly surprises and one of the things that I love about her is that she is virtually unembarrassable [sic], so you could pretty much say, ‘Would you wear a funny hat and play the piano?’ and she’s like, ‘Sure!’” The second guest that Crabb discloses to The Adelaide Review is Adam Liaw, Australian lawyer and winner of the second series of MasterChef Australia. Like Crabb, Liaw hails from Adelaide and is renowned for his SBS cooking show, Destination Flavour. “I am a huge fan of his, but I only really know him through social media where he’s incredibly funny, and has the gift of photography and cookery and he’s constantly making great food and taking fabulous pictures and making everybody hungry. But he’s also just hilarious and I’ve always wanted to meet him. “In some ways, this evening is some giant overcooked excuse to meet Adam Liaw, but I’m happy about that and he seemed quite into it as well. I thought it would be good to include someone who is legitimately a great cook too.” Crabb’s love of cooking developed from a young age, when she learned the basics from her mother. She is even making pasties during this interview at 8.30 on a Tuesday morning. “I’ve always really enjoyed cooking and I do it to relax. Lots of people don’t feel that way about cooking. I suppose it’s a matter of taste. I always say to people, you need cooks and you need eaters in the world, and some people who are alarmed by the thought of cooking, I think, should choose to be an eater ‘cause every hyper-productive cook like me needs someone to load things onto. “I like the idea of working hard at something and having something right there at the end, you know, the results of your labours – it’s exactly the opposite of parenting where you don’t find out whether you’ve messed it up until 20 years later. With the pasties, you don’t really have that problem!’ Crabb began her journalism career as an Advertiser cadet before moving to The Age a few years later where she made her name as political correspondent and columnist. She established her iconic status in Australia’s political scene through appearances on various panel shows, books such as The Wife Drought and the ABC show Kitchen Cabinet, where she combines her areas of expertise in journalism and cooking by preparing a meal and dining with Australian politicians in their homes. Featured guests have included Christopher Pyne, Penny Wong, Joe Hockey, Malcolm Turnbull, Clive Palmer and Julie Bishop. “If you get people to do something else with their hands and put them in a different context to microphones and studio equipment, they often feel free to tell you different things or talk about things differently or be a bit more approachable about different areas of their lives,” she says of Kitchen Cabinet. “It’s what my program is all about. I am really passionate about the view that food serves a really important social function. “And I mean, if you have a look at great rapprochements of history, and enemies have got together and made friends or found a way to work together, often those things happen over dinner.” An Evening with Annabel Crabb Festival Theatre Sunday, February 14 adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix

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