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A Recipe for Fulfillment: ‘You’ve Got to Be Connected.’

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The Australia Letter is a weekly newsletter from our Australia bureau. Sign up to get it by email.

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When you’re lucky enough to get a visit from Sam Sifton, The New York Times’s food editor, you eat. And when you eat with Sam, you learn and you gorge.

This week, we did oodles of both at Momofuku Seiobo in Sydney, thanks to the chef Paul Carmichael.

He cooked for a small group of us. We were seated at the bar by the kitchen, giving us a chance to watch in awe as he and his team delivered a meal unlike any other. It started with a savory plantain doughnut, followed by sea urchin on crunchy cassava, duck, fish heads (they were amazing, really), a cold pork soup and a spiced cake I’m hoping will appear in my dreams.

This was the “strong personal imprint” that Pete Wells, The Times’s main restaurant critic, identified when he wrote about Paul in 2017.

Somehow, near a casino in Sydney, he wrote, there was a chef from the United States via Barbados, who “treats Australia as a Caribbean island that somehow got loose and wandered thousands of miles into the Pacific.”

This was the connected of concentration — deep concentration and the maintenance of focus in service of creativity.

It was the same radioactive element described earlier in the night by Kylie Kwong, the owner and chef behind the restaurant Billy Kwong, who was interviewed by Sam at Carriageworks for Times subscribers.

What that tells me is that something deep in our collective soul — or at least the collective soul of Times readers — seems to know that we need more of what Paul’s talking about.

We need to be connected … the question is: How?

Next time Sam comes to Australia, I’ll do my best to keep probing. And eating. And learning.

Now here are a few stories to chew on, chosen by our bureau’s hungry up-and-comer, Isabella Kwai.

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As someone who went to an American university for my undergraduate degree, the grueling application process is hard to forget: SAT prep, letters of recommendation, after-school extracurriculars, documents for financial packages and essays upon essays.

But this week’s news was a reminder for students at high schools across the country (and the world) that there is nothing equal about the process.

More reporting around the scandal:

‘What Does It Take?’: Admissions Scandal Is a Harsh Lesson in Racial Disparities

• Here’s How the F.B.I. Says Parents Cheated to Get Their Kids Into Elite Colleges

• Who’s Been Charged in the College Admissions Cheating Scandal? Here’s the Full List

• Fallout From College Admissions Scandal: Arrests, Damage Control and a Scramble for Answers

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Don’t miss Somini Sengupta, our international climate change reporter, at the National Gallery of Victoria on Tuesday (19 March) for a discussion titled: Hot Cities on a Hotter Planet.

Details and tickets are here; New York Times readers can use code NGVNYTimes for a 10% discount.

And here’s a bonus and a challenge: Kylie Kwong’s duck recipe, which she revealed on Wednesday at our Times event after a question from a duck fan.

You can do it at home, she said. Just buy a whole duck. Marinate it in salt and Sichuan pepper water overnight. Let it sit until it reaches room temperature. Steam for about 90 minutes in a bamboo steamer. Lay it out, cut it in half at the breast and debone.

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