Food expert Lyndey Milan will always cherish her trip to Greece with her son.
The badge pinned over the legendary big heart of foodie Lyndey Milan reads “good times”, yet her red eyes brimming with tears tell another story altogether. It is just a few short weeks since the Australian cooking institution lost her only son, 29-year-old Blair, and despite her best efforts to remain upbeat, Lyndey’s almost unbearable pain is palpable.
The badge was Blair’s sign-off, whether it was an email, text message, letter or in-person hug, and last week some 800 mourners at his funeral all wore the words in honour of their much-loved friend.
“Blair was the most positive person you could ever meet in the entire world,” Lyndey says, admiring a photo of her handsome son. “He consciously chose to have a great day every day. He was an old soul. We believe he packed so many lives into his short life because he truly lived his life to the fullest.”
Being interviewed at such a fragile time would be too hard for most women in Lyndey’s situation. However, the Australian Women’s Weekly food veteran, TV chef and author of innumerable cookbooks has a mission – and that is to keep her beloved son’s legacy alive.
A rare form of cancer known as acute myeloid leukaemia may have felled the young actor in his prime, but Lyndey knows that, more than anything, Blair would want the show to go on.
In a twist of fate that Lyndey will now always cherish, the planned seven-part TV series she was to undertake with her friend John Mangos through the Peloponnese in 2010 took an about-turn when Greek-born Mangos was forced to pull out at the last minute. In stepped Blair, accompanying his mother on a trip of a lifetime.
“I want this series [Lyndey And Blair’s Taste of Greece] to be a success for Blair,” she explains. “I realise in the public eye you can be damned if you do and damned if you don’t, but Blair would want me to get out there. He was very proud of what we did, and he is just so good in the show... so full of life.
Lyndey and Balir's taste of Greece screens nationally on SBS at 8pm Thursday May 26.