Bird Dog Hot Dog

By Otago Polytechnic, City of Literature, Dunedin Cit | Posted: Wednesday July 19, 2017

Tt hotdog with horopito pickled onions and mnuka smoked chilli relish.

It sounds more like a song than a dish, which is ideal really.

This perfectly described and melodically inspired plate is Dunedin’s entry in Savoir Faire, a literary cookbook spearheaded by Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature, with recipes and words from the Cities of Literature around the world.

The idea for the online book was cooked up by Mayor of Dunedin Dave Cull after the 2016 UNESCO Creative Cities Forum in Östersund – a City of Gastronomy.

Mr Cull says the book is a great way for the Cities of Literature to pay respects to gastronomic traditions, especially those of our home regions.

“It is a celebration of both food and literature, and the frequent relationship between the two” he says.

City of Literature Director, Nicky Page says all 20 Cities of Literature were invited to provide a recipe with a literary flavour. A year later, Savoir Faire is complete.

“It was up to each City as to how they interpreted it and every single entry is quirky and original with amazing images. Some are straight forward with their signature dish tied into literature; others have chosen a literary angle and created a recipe to match.”

That’s exactly what Dunedin’s entry has done. Otago Polytechnic Food Design Lecturers, Richard Mitchell and Adrian Woodhouse took inspiration by the lyrics of Graeme Downes (the genius behind 1980s band, The Verlaines) and the beer of Richard Emerson (which was also inspired by Downes’ work).

The two Food Design Lecturers were charged with creating the dish. As students in the 80s, they grew up in the thick of the ‘Dunedin Sound’- a post punk musical (and literary) movement. So, it makes perfect sense that they turned to Graeme Downes and The Verlaines - specifically their 1987 album ‘Bird Dog’ with its title song lyrics:

“The bird returns to soothe my ear

I love this imported German beer...”

Enter Richard Emerson, brewer extraordinaire and Verlaines fan. Despite being deaf since birth, Richard was inspired by the Verlaine’s none-too-serious outlook on life. He created ‘Bird Dog Indian Pale Ale’ a tribute to the album. Add to that the ‘Bird Dog Hot Dog’ that Adrian Woodhouse created, and some compelling prose written by Richard Mitchell, and you have the perfect collaboration for a mouth-watering literary feast.

Savoir Faire is available free, online at:

Nicky Page says all 116 UNESCO Creative Cities have been invited to translate the digital cookbook into their own language, making this a truly global collaboration.

“I am especially proud of the wonderful entry from Dunedin,” she says.

© Copyright Dunedin City of Literature