Monday, March 7, 2011

Chef Super Star !!

To be a an amazing chef these days is somewhat of a “super star” and after doing that apprenticeship so it should be. I have had the opportunity to met and work with some of the most talented and amazing chefs the others I admire I have admired from a distance.

I met Adrian Richardson (left)  in 1997 when I was a 3rd year apprentice chef and he came into the kitchen as my Head Chef  Emm Millar went to a trip to Paris to learn about bread. As an apprentice I pretty much did what I was told and kept my work area clean. The day Adrian arrived I remember he always had a smile on his face and went on a tour with my Head Chef. I worked mainly dinner shifts with Adrian and what I can remember is that he has the ability to “not stress” , there was an incident where the restaurant had a full house and a waiter said to him ‘how long Chef” Adrian replied “Give them a couple of magazine’ and he chuckled. I absolutely loved that as it gave me the ability to cook and not stress out even more than I was, but to take pride in what I was  doing.

Adrian gave me full responsibility on creating a dessert (which is the best moment as an apprentice) so I created the Passionfruit Mousse from the Christine Mansfield cookbook. It was a passionfruit jelly on the bottom and creamy passionfruit  mousse on top and then the end result was turning it out so the jelly was on top like a dome. However my jelly didn’t set and Adrian walked over to inspect he said “Ohhh what happened it didn’t work” he then proceeded to taste my mousse and he said “Now that tastes great just keep them in the glasses and serve them like that”. This experience made me realise how great a chef he was how he saw the good in the bad really and that he was  constantly on your side .

Adrian Richardson then went went on to open La Luna Bistro in Rathdowne street Carlton and I went several times to say hello and breakfast was a favourite with the girls (Lara,Daniela, Nadia & Uyen). I continued to rave about the palce to everyone how great the food was the service and more importantly the chef.
Since the opening Adrian has redecorated La Luna and has shared his passion for meat through his acclaimed book "MEAT" (below left) published by Hardie Grant which was nominated for the best designed cookbook at the Australian Publishers Assoc Design Awards for 2008 and was included in Melbourne's Herald Sun "Best Books of 2008" feature. MEAT was given a face-lift and re-released in September 2009 and Adrian's second book is due out March 2011.

Adrian Richardson is in his element at the moment, after 11 successful years of owning and operating his Award Winning La Luna Bistro, a new book launched in late 2008, co-hosting the hit series “Boys Weekend”, which now airs in over 100 countries worldwide, and finishing his first solo TV series “Secret Meat Business”, he is having the time of his life. Adrian also appeared in a Guest Chef Challenge and Finale episodes of the extraordinarily successful series “Master Chef Australia”. In addition to Adrian's other TV credits, he is also a regular guest on Channel Ten's “9am with David & Kim” and was a regular Chef on Ten's hit TV series “Ready Steady Cook”, for the first three seasons. In 2006 he appeared alongside Tobie Puttock in “Jamie's Kitchen Australia”. Adrian's restaurant La Luna Bistro, even received a personal endorsement from Jamie Oliver himself in front of a live audience of 6000 people, in Melbourne during Jamie's live tour (Sept 2006). Adrian can now be seen on “Good Chef Bad Chef” channel 10.

This is one Chef that deserves the “super star” label and so much more!!! Good on you Adrian!

Go check out La Luna amazing food and the crème Brulee as my brother in law would say “is the best”.

Adriano Zumbo is hitting the “super star” level with his new tv series on ABC ; pastries and desserts that are out of this world. This country boy’s first taste of the sweet life was raiding the lollies and cake mix from his parent’s Coonamble supermarket. In his pursuit of mastering the art of pastry, he has trained and worked both in Australia and France with Australian culinary greats such as Neil Perry and international heavyweights Ramon Morato and Pierre Herme.

Inspired by the world around him, his desserts tell a story or take on the personality of their namesakes. Whether it’s Lukas Rides the Tube or Escape From a Columbian Rainforest, Adriano’s fertile mind, exceptional skill and natural curiosity for unlikely ingredients are his biggest assets.

Master patissier Adriano Zumbo, maestro of the macaron and guest star on Ten’s Masterchef, has landed his own SBS series, Zumbo, which began on the  10th February 2011 at 7.30pm.

Check out

Another chef that deserves a mention is Christine Mansfield, Christine pretty much opended up the door to paramount cooking. I remember buying Christine’s dessert cookbook called “Desserts” and I was obsessed with it, still am. You may have seen Christine's vast array of pesto, Harissa, and other delicious products.

Christine is a highly regarded Australian chef, author, food writer, food manufacturer, presenter, teacher and gastronomic traveller whose culinary work draws on the exciting tastes and flavours of many cultures, whose passion and commitment to culinary excellence are world renowned.

Since closing the celebrated Paramount Restaurant in Sydney in December 2000, Christine has continued to expand her knowledge and expertise, regularly travelling internationally as a culinary ambassador for Australia’s gastronomy.

Christine relocated to London in October 2003 to open East @ West in Covent Garden to instant critical acclaim. It was awarded Best New Restaurant by the 2004 London Tatler Restaurant Guide plus the Catey’s Award for Best UK Menu 2004. It closed in early 2005 when the property was sold by the owners. Christine returned to Sydney and opened Universal Restaurant in August 2007 to an enthusiastic audience and instant critical acclaim.

To date she has published five acclaimed and award-winning books with Penguin Books Australia: Stir, Spice, Christine Manfield Originals and Christine Manfield Desserts preceded her most recent book Fire – A World of Flavour released in October 2008. She is currently researching and completing her sixth book.

For more information on Christine Mansfield check out

I need to shout out a massive THANK YOU to Emm Millar who was my Head Chef at Wine Bar 2 (Walters Wine bar) in Carlton . Thank you for being the amazing chef that you were and still are …a workaholic she was called, but to me she was my Head Chef who would tell you if something was not good and then show you how to fix it, would have me in tears of laughter at 12pm after a split shift (9 am– 11pm). Emm thank you for absorbing me into the cookery world and leading me along the way… I will always remember making the 36 egg yolk crème patisserie (custard ) in the hot kitchen and the roasted ducks and so much more French cooking. THANK YOU Emm !!!

Ok so as promised here is my version of the ever so delicious bread and Butter pudding . Now someone said to me “Renee I hate sultanas” …Don’t worry leave them out or add diced apricots, or cranberries. Cooking is all about imagination and really comes down to what you like so explore…

Bread and butter pudding

Serves 6

Cooking Time Prep time 10 mins, cook 40 mins (plus standing)

85 gm (½ cup) sultanas (or diced apricot, cranberries or currants)
5 eggs
2 tbsp Brandy ( optional)
300 ml pouring cream
300 ml milk
55 gm (¼ cup) caster sugar
1 orange, finely grated rind only (optional)
1 vanilla bean, seeds only
½ tsp ground cinnamon
8 1.5cm-thick slices of day-old white bread
60 gm soft butter, plus extra for greasing
1 tbsp demerara sugar
To serve: icing sugar and vanilla ice-cream or cream

1 Combine sultanas and brandy in a small bowl and set aside to cool.

2 Combine eggs, cream, milk, caster sugar, orange rind, vanilla seeds and cinnamon in a jug. Whisk vigorously to combine and set aside.

3 Spread both sides of bread slices with butter and halve lengthways. Scatter one third of the brandied sultanas into a lightly greased 1-litre capacity ovenproof dish. Trim bread slices to fit dish and layer, scattering remaining brandied sultanas between each layer. Pour cream mixture evenly over bread slices and stand until bread has completely absorbed cream mixture (about 1 hour).

4 Preheat oven to 180C. Scatter demerara sugar over pudding and bake until golden and custard is firm (30-40 minutes). Serve immediately or at room temperature, lightly dusted with icing sugar, and with fresh berries. Yummm!!

Now if you didn’t know it is Pancake Tuesday and I am the Pancake Chef tomorrow night in my household. Pancake or Shrove Tuesday is the day in which the wives would use up all their ingreidents in preparation for Lent which leads to Easter . It’s a great excuse to have a night of pancakes.Pancakes are the perfect vehicle for all manner of accompaniments. It could be as simple as a drizzle of honey and some sliced banana, or a dollop of yoghurt, a handful of berries and a glug of maple syrup – the real deal please, this is no time for substitutes. Or you could use the maple syrup as a poaching medium for wedges of perfectly firm, ripe pear . As the pears cook, they become fragrantly, lusciously glazed. You can do the pears ahead of time if you like and gently warm them in a pan just before serving. A simple spiced ricotta offsets the sticky sweetness.


Serves 6

Cooking Time Prep time 15 mins, cook 30 mins

180 gm butter, coarsely chopped
450 ml buttermilk
3 eggs, separated
300 gm (2 cups) plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 Melt 60gm butter in a small saucepan over low heat, cool slightly, then combine in a large bowl with buttermilk and egg yolks and whisk until smooth.

2 Sift over flour, bicarbonate of soda and 1 tsp fine salt, mix until smooth and combined (do not overwork).

3 Whisk eggwhites and a pinch of salt in a separate large bowl until firm peaks form (2-3 minutes), then fold into flour mixture.

4 Melt 10gm butter in a large heavy-based frying pan over medium heat, add ¼-cupfuls of pancake batter, allowing room for it to spread. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface and edges are golden (1-2 minutes).

5 Turn with a wide spatula and cook until pancake is firm and base is golden (1-2 minutes), transfer to a plate and keep warm in a low oven. Wipe pan with absorbent paper between batches and repeat with remaining butter and batter.

Next blog I will be discussing yeasty baked goods as well as my very own recipe for the “Healthy chocolate cake” and some savoury dishes too.

LAUGHING CHEF is loving ....

Local Business of the week to look out for is called Coco Moloko it is a childrens label based in Melbourne and managed by the talented Nadia Neil. If you get a chance click on the link below and have a look at the beautiful hand made clothing or even better support a local business and buy Australian & hand made clothing. 

Until next time keep on laughing and get into that Kitchen and start exploring.

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