The Gala Dinner 2006

This year we celebrated the abundance of Australia’s homegrown produce on 21 January at Australia House. It was also an opportunity to enjoy the homegrown talents of chef Maggie Beer in the kitchen and the fabulous Delta Goodrem on the stage, who was joined by fellow young Australians Tim Minchin and Chelsea Plumley.

The Theme

Home Grown

Australia has an abundance of homegrown produce that is as diverse as it is delicious. From the seafood that abounds in the surrounding oceans and the freshwater crustaceans of our developing aquaculture industry, to our fine wines and famous beef and lamb. It’s no wonder the Foundation asked Australia’s most famous homegrown chef Maggie Beer to create the menu.

The Chef

Barossa Valley’s renowned chef and food writer Maggie Beer is an Australian icon. She created a memorable and authentic Australian feast incorporating premium homegrown Australian ingredients including Wagyu Beef and fresh Marron from Kangaroo Island. To accompany this wonderful menu were premium Australian wines from Hardys Wines.

The Entertainment

Australia’s favourite singer-songwriter Delta Goodrem performed to rapturous applause. She was joined by Tim Minchin and Chelsea Plumley to perform a medley of iconic Aussie songs. Guests were then entertained by Australian classical singers Imogen Roose and Adrian Dwyer, accompanied by Benjamin Bayl on piano.

The Award Winners

Professor Lord Broers of Cambridge

Australian of the Year in the UK

Distinguished Australian engineer and scientist Lord Broers was was awarded Australian of the Year in the UK in 2006 in recognition of his international lifetime achievements in engineering and science, his Reith Lectures, and his continuing links with Australia.

Alec Broers graduated from Melbourne University in 1959 with a degree in physics and electronics and went on to study electrical sciences at Cambridge University where he completed his PhD and Doctorate in Science. In 1965 he began his 20-year career with IBM in New York where he was appointed an IBM Fellow in recognition of his outstanding technical contributions. Returning to Cambridge in 1984 as Professor of Electrical Engineering Broers was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1986. By 1996 Broers was appointed Cambridge University Vice-Chancellor and played a significant role in the University’s rise as a centre of excellence for high technology. Broers was Knighted in 1998 and in 2001 became President of the Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2004 he was granted a life peerage for services to education and engineering, and later the same year was appointed Chairman of the House of Lords’ Science and Technology Committee. Last year, Lord Broers was invited to present the BBC’s prestigious Reith Lectures. He is possibly the first Australian to be invited to join a long and illustrious list of Reith Lecturers including Bertrand Russell, J K Galbraith and Dr Jonathon Sacks. The series of five lectures, entitled, ‘The Triumph of Technology’, focussed on the integral place of technology in the society of the future.

Baroness Greenfield CBE

Honorary Australian of the Year in the UK

This award recognises Baroness Greenfield for her distinguished career as a scientist, broadcaster and best selling author, and her consummate skill in communicating science to the community as well as her peers. She has a longstanding involvement in Australia and an Australian-like approach to everything she does.

Baroness Greenfield has held research fellowships in the Department of Physiology Oxford, the College de France Paris, and NYU Medical Center New York, and has been awarded 28 Honorary Degrees from British and foreign universities. In 1998 Greenfield was appointed the first female Director of The Royal Institution of Great Britain and in 2000 was elected to an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians. Further international recognition includes the ‘Golden Plate Award’ in 2003 from the Academy of Achievement, Washington, and in the same year the L’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur, from the French Government. Baroness Greenfield’s has delivered numerous lectures and workshops at The Australian National University, the European-Australian Business Council, the Business Council of Australia, the Sydney Institute, The Australia-Britain Chamber of Commerce, the University of Sydney, the Centre for Independent Studies and the ABC. Most recently, as a ‘Thinker in Residence’ in South Australia, she was charged with developing a strategy to re-ignite the public’s passion in the sciences. In this role, she established the national Australian Science Media Centre which aims to increase the degree and accuracy of reporting about science in the Australian media. Her writing credits include best-selling The Human Brain: A Guided Tour and Brain Story, and in broadcasting she is best known for Brain Story, a major six-part series broadcast in 2000.

Shane Osborn

Young Australian Achiever of the year in the UK

Michelin starred Australian chef Shane Osborn was awarded 2006 Young Australian Achiever of the Year in the UK in recognition of his passion for his work and his outstanding successes so early in what promises to be a remarkable career.

Born and raised in Perth, Osborn has worked in Europe for the past 10 years, including a stint at a two Michelin starred restaurant in Courcheval, France. Osborn further honed his skills in Sweden, before moving to London where he took up a position with Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing at L’Oranger, where he help to win a Michelin star. In 1997 he became Junior Sous Chef at The Square, a two-starred Michelin restaurant, before joining Pied à Terre in 1999 as head Chef. In January 2001, at age 29, Osborn became the first Australian chef to attain the coveted Michelin status. Under Osborn, Pied à Terre went from strength to strength and gained a second star in January 2003. Pied à Terre re-opened in October 2005, following a 10-month closure due to fire, to continuing high critical acclaim, glowing reviews and a nomination for Best London Restaurant from Bloomberg News restaurant critic, Richard Vine. Osborn published his first cookbook in 2004, Starters: First Courses Easily Turned into Main Dishes, which focuses on starters and snacks and attracted accolades from reviewers.