Collaborating with Curtis Stone on a cooking class and degustation dinner at his restaurant Gwen in LA was always going to be fun...but when we decided to theme our event around unique Australian ingredients, things got even more interesting!
When I travel, I always head straight for the produce markets. It's because I love seeing what's growing, what people are eating, and I also love the buzz and bustle of market life. Mexican markets are so incredibly energetic: noisy, busy, fragrant, intense!
The process of turning cocoa beans into delicious chocolate is a process that's rarely seen so I was thrilled to take a tour at Ratio Cocoa Roasters to uncover the whole process
Chris Lucas, the entrepreneur behind some of Melbourne’s hottest laneway restaurants is moving to Sydney and luring one of the harbour city’s best chef south. Will his sizzle translate, or will he have egg on his face?
It was Ottolenghi’s first yo-yo that did it. Israeli-born, London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi had never encountered the classic Australian biscuit, a double-layered melting moment with buttercream filling. One fateful day in 2006, recently arrived Melbourne recruit Helen Goh gently lamented that there were no biscuits among the patisserie cakes at Ottolenghi’s Islington cafe. A yo-yo or an Anzac and a cup of tea was exactly what she hankered for after a hard, hand-blistering shift chopping butternut pumpkins.
February 2005 and Eva Orner was doing it tough. She’d endured a long New York winter marked by blizzards and heavy snows, new in town, out of work, low on friends and short on cash. But one of her few buddies, someone she’d met back home in Melbourne, invited her to an Oscars party at his apartment in Tribeca. There, with Ground Zero out the window and A-list glamour on the TV, a dozen thirtysomethings sat on the floor with Indian takeaway on their laps and watched Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman, Hilary Swank and Cate Blanchett scoop the pool. “We all had to put in $50 for an Oscars sweep,” says Orner. “I was like, ‘My God, 50 bucks!’ ” But she won, and walked out with $600 to put towards the rent of her studio apartment eight blocks away. “I was so happy,” she says. “It was really handy.”
“Steak’s up guys,” says Curtis Stone, slicing into a hunk of beef, appraising it keenly, chewing on a morsel with faraway eyes, then passing slivers around for feedback. He’s not at Maude, his feted Beverly Hills restaurant. He’s not at home in the Hollywood Hills, feeding his actor wife Lindsay Price and sons Hudson and Emerson. He’s not even filming for a television show – All-Star Academy (like The Voice, but with cooking) and Kitchen Inferno (a game show, like a speedy MasterChef with more fire balls) are two US series he’s hosted recently.
He survives on four hours sleep, forages in the wild for ingredients and even makes the cutlery himself. Dani Valent meets Ben Shewry, a very unusual superstar chef. I don’t know what I expected Ben Shewry to be doing when I walked into the Attica kitchen two hours before dinner service. Arranging foraged flowers with tweezers, perhaps. Creating “soil”. Dehydrating fruit at the very least. Instead, he is taking up a whole bench – half the small kitchen really – moulding clay to create 100 butter knives shaped like mini Maori clubs. Crafting cutlery by hand? Doesn’t Shewry make it hard enough for himself already?
The prevailing narrative about children and food is that they’re eating too much, it’s the wrong food anyway and they’re eating it in front of brain-draining screens. They’re overweight, potentially diabetic and on track to number among the 65 per cent (and rising) of Australian adults who are too hefty to be healthy. But there’s a counterweight tale too, one of children who cook and eat healthy food, building good habits for their own lives and perhaps for their less aware elders. They are influenced by cooking shows on television, educational programs in schools, other family members and, sometimes, necessity.