John Downes is by far one of the most interesting bread bakers or should I say human beings I have talked to in a long time...no ever! I first heard about him from my friend Graham Prichard of the ABA, and was intrigued that I hadn't heard of his book The Natural Tucker. Foremost that he is considered the modern godfather of sourdough renaissance in Australia. Like a karmic mantra my copy of the book arrived the same day of the interview and I tried to absorb as much in a short window to catch some sort of insight. John not only is modern philosopher, but ancient baker and an articulate speaker. He is able to convey and deliver the message that I feel are important in this time of history, with human, environmental changes effecting our mind, spirit and diet. My questions were answered especially those of the fermented kind! You wouldn't think of bread as intellectual subject till you speak with John, but you realize it's human connection from it's mysterious appearance when it was first discovered in Egypt. Maybe because so many people just eat it without thinking about it's process or how it relates to our core human value system, or from grain to mill, to baker and finally the table, bread is the story of humans. Some think John is a sourdough purist, nothing wrong with the real thing?
(*While listening you may hear an echo on my voice, technological glitch on my part! I decided with John agreeing that the conversation was too good to lose so I kept what we had and edited as best we could!)