Real Men Cook for Odyssey House

(From the left – Mike Munro, Luke Mangan and moi)

Each year I put a case of wine into the Odyssey House auction and, when I can, I go along to be one of their volunteers, passing around plates of canapés and hosting a table of diners.

This year’s 13th Real Men Cook for Odyssey House luncheon was held at Glass Brasserie at the Hilton Hotel, hosted by Sandra Sully. My little lot is usually the humblest offering in the auction catalogue, but this year’s broke all records. Somebody paid $3,000 for a dozen mixed bottles, and I threw in a copy of my new book, The Wine Guide 2015, published by Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine, as well. Three grand was a generous bid, well above the retail value of the wine, underlining what generosity of spirit prevails at these functions.

This year’s auction was the most successful I’ve attended, thanks partly to the auctioneer, Edward Riley, and partly the speakers. Each year, a final-stage Odyssey House resident gives an account of his or her experience with addiction and with the Odyssey House program, and they’re always profoundly moving stories.

Odyssey House is a residential rehabilitation centre in Sydney which does amazing work helping rehabilitate people with drug and alcohol problems. Odyssey also caters for men and women with dependent children, and this year’s fund-raiser was targeted at that service. The prime goal is to break the cycle of generational drug and alcohol misuse. It helps an average of 25 families each year.

It might seem odd for a wine writer to be interested in such a charity but, like anyone in the wine business, I’ve known many people who have been unable to cope with alcohol and some who have died early as a result. I’d urge anyone to support this great cause. It’s a way of acknowledging that although it brings great pleasure to many, alcohol also causes the community a lot of damage.

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