Archived News Item

A Taste of Harmony (off the field at least)


The McAuley House kitchen was recently taken over by players from the Western Bulldogs and North Melbourne AFL clubs – and they didn’t mind a bit.


The footballers were there for a light-hearted cooking challenge, filmed to promote the Taste of Harmony Festival, which celebrates Victoria’s rich cultural diversity.


North Melbourne was represented by the AFL competition’s first Sudanese-born player Majak Daw, Marley Williams who has Maori heritage, and Alex Morgan, whose parents were both born in India. Despite this eclectic mix of cultural backgrounds, they settled on Vietnamese rice paper rolls as the dish to showcase their combined cooking talents.


San choy bau was on the menu for the Western Bulldogs contingent, which included AFL Multicultural Ambassadors Jason Johannisen and Lin Jong. ‘JJ’ as he is universally known , was born in Johannesburg, arriving in Australia as an eight-year-old, while Lin is the first Australian of East Timorese and Taiwanese descent to play in the AFL. The red, white and blue team also featured AFLW star Emma Kearney and Josh Dunkley, who are both ambassadors for the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation.


There was camaraderie instead of rivalry as the players compared notes, though JJ could only rate Majak’s rice paper rolls as ‘three out of ten.’ After preparing their meals, the teams then joined women from McAuley House to sample the array of dishes, which also featured freshly picked herbs and vegetables from McAuley House’s rooftop garden.


McAuley Community Services for Women, Chief Executive Officer Jocelyn Bignold said; “At McAuley House our kitchen is the heart of the building, a place of welcome, sharing and friendship. The Taste of Harmony themes of sharing food and conversation, and celebrating where you come from, struck a chord with us, so we jumped at the chance to host this event.”


“Women who live in McAuley House have been homeless, and many have experienced trauma and family violence.”


“Last year, of the 54 who were supported at our house, 29 came from culturally diverse background, spanning more than 20 countries, so the kitchen is always being used to cook up tantalising dishes from around the world.”


‘McAuley House is right in the middle of Footscray, which is teeming with many different nationalities, languages and cultures, so events like this are great for showing that we are just another part of the neighbourhood and the western suburban community.’


At the end of the day everyone seemed rather vague about which team had been declared a winner, but there was definite agreement that the event had been a huge success.


Messages to: Kerrie Soraghan, McAuley Community Services for Women