“The General Food Store” in Emerald

We found a Pearl

And it can be found by anyone hot footing it to Emerald. Sometimes in the pursuit of Authenticity and living The Authentic Life, it is necessary to get out amongst the wandering herd and see what there is to see. Nothing, I tell you – there is nothing to inspire one who has lost their way more, no art form more accessible or inspirational in a visceral and immediate sense – that being the recipient of the one who has mastered the form of food.

To see such mastery – to experience such mastery, if you can get yourself up to Emerald. You are in for a treat!

The General Food Store has been open for business since July 2011. It turns on a postage stamp, no room to swing any cats or kittens but talent, genius and revealing the divine potential of food – has the place packed out. It is a joy to receive the benefit of someone who has learned and sculpted, perfected and molded their own one truth that drives them through the business of living, then shone that light out into the world for others to see and participate in.

Paul ‘Dougie’ Douglas and his partner Belinda are such beings and the inspiration that drives the General Food Store. ‘Dougie’ perfected his craft for fifteen years working as a chef keeping his hand in and honing his skills working in London’s top fine dining restaurants. All masters must first learn the rules before they can break them competently. For they must inevitably break, how else can they relate to us mortals? – Fractured as we are and still remain whole and unblemished?

Dougie then, when skilled sufficiently in the canon of cuisine, embraced the alchemy of the personal pilgrimage and traveled around New Zealand and Australia, allowing the outer journey to take him through the last leg of his inner transformation. Right on cue, he met his partner Belinda – in Melbourne. Lucky Us!

Belinda was a graphic designer but the pair discovered a shared passion and harmony pre-existed between them when it came to their personal aesthetic for food and design. It was more enjoyment than research but they both spent many years engaging with and reflecting on the Melbourne Food scene preparing and refining their own vision, noting what they liked, what resonated, what spoke, what didn’t and what they would do differently. The General Food Store is the result of these inspired and disciplined musings.

The General Food Store strives to embrace ethical principles and sustainable business practices. These initiatives include using biodegradable take-away coffee and lids, sustainable light globes and worm farm. Effort and creativity are combined to produce a menu that evolves as the seasons change. Local ingredients are sourced as much as is possible resulting in a creation that sparkles like a diamond and shimmers like gold. The feel good vibe washes towards you, as you enter in to their tiny establishment.

Come for the vibe, stay for the food. ‘Dougie”s menu is a spectacular feast for the senses. He balances a variety of influences in to a harmonious and comforting experience. Not all Chefs get – texture, ‘Dougie’ does.

Clangers and I couldn’t get past the breakfast special of the day, which was – smoked eel, confit of potato, coriander pesto, poached egg and herb salad. Clangers and I are yappers – we are. We would probably benefit from talking less and thinking more – but … Generally there’s a serious challenge eating on account of the words getting in the way of the food. Words, food, excitement all get stuck and mouth tries valiantly to resolve the conflict in a kind of stop start sort of motion that results in confusion, a certain amount of existential angst and the kind of identity crisis that awaits the maturing hipster.

Well – ‘Dougie’s talent also – magically resolves all conflict. His food soothes. He has perfected his talent to such a degree that it creates a temporary but no less impressive inspirational sense of calm, quiet and a feeling of unmistakable wholeness. The mark of a master. Unmistakable. We were – silent.

Also they have the best Gluten Free bread I have ever tasted, made on site – they know a bloke who is into – err – unhomogenized milk – just quietly AND … Gluten Free Brownies, if I had an addictive nature I would be …

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