One of Australia’s most celebrated chefs, Christine Manfield is a curious cook who has written many successful books such as Tasting India, Fire & Spice, Stir, Spice, Paramount Desserts and Paramount Cooking. She has also opened up three award-winning restaurants in Sydney and in London. We got the chance to catch up with Manfield about her new and upcoming book, Dessert Divas as well as her experiences as a chef.
1. What inspired you to create Dessert Divas?
The book is a legacy from Universal, desserts that appeared on the menus during its lifetime that I wanted to share with a captive audience. Desserts are about pleasure, should be utterly seductive, ethereal and delicious with aesthetics that capture the imagination, an indulgent necessity to entice you out of the everyday. It is my parting gift as a restaurateur.
2. What’s the best thing about being a chef?
The generosity of sharing food, experimenting and exploring the infinite possibilities of the food world, the wonderful camaraderie and support amongst friends and peers in the industry.
3. You’ve collaborated with a number of well known chefs before. Who’s been your favourite to work with?
I don’t do favourites – I work with people who are on the same page, whose work I admire and who appreciate the benefit of collaboration, shared ideas and creative thinking – and they are many and varied.
4. What’s your personal favourite dessert?
I can never go past anything with passionfruit or salted caramel or meringue or chocolate.
5. You’re hosting a summer dinner party, what’s your quick and easy dessert to prepare that’s still going to impress guests?
Either a pavlova with mango and passionfruit or chocolate mousse cake with raspberries.
6. What’s a good beverage pairing with some of your desserts? A favourite dessert wine or liqueur perhaps?
Moscato is light and refreshing and works well with summer flavours, a Pedro Ximimez is perfect with chocolate and a sparkling Monastrell is great with winter fruits.
7. What will you be doing in 10 years time?
Travelling – leading the life of a gypsy girl.
8. Where do you love to EAT in Sydney?
The Bridge Room for its originality, elegance, sensational food and seamless service.
9. What is your favourite place to grab a DRINK in Sydney?
Monopole in Potts Point, great wine list and they make a mean Negroni.
10. When you’re not working, what do you do for PLAY in Sydney?
Watch a movie, go to the beach, have leisurely lunch with friends.