Healthy Eating

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Pea and ham soup

Tarta de Santiago

"Gordita makes a splendid version of the Galician almond cake Tarta de Santiago, with its dramatic design. Would you please publish the recipe?" Michael MacDermott, Taringa, Qld REQUEST A RECIPE To request a recipe, email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au or send us a message via Facebook. Please include the restaurant's name and address, as well as your name and address. Please note that because of the volume of requests we receive, we can only publish a selection in the magazine.

Coffee culture: A history

Australia’s love affair with coffee is stronger than ever; it’s become a way of life. But exactly how did a beverage manage to shape our country’s culture?

Event: Bacon Week

A celebration of one of our favourite breakfast foods.

Curry recipes

When you're in need of rejuvenation, there's nothing better than a warming bowl of curry, whether it's gently spiced potato and egg, a punchy Jamaican goat number or an elaborate Burmese fish curry. Here are our favourite recipes.

Bread and butter pudding

Just what you need on a cold winter's night; a bowl of luscious pudding. Make sure to leave room for seconds.

Bali's new wave of restaurants, hotels and bars

The restaurant and hotel scene on Australia's favourite holiday island has never been more exciting and Australian chefs, owners and restaurateurs are leading the charge, writes Samantha Coomber.

Autumn's most popular recipes 2017

As the weather started to cool down, your stoves were heating up with spicy curries, hearty breakfast dishes and comforting bowls of pasta. You balanced things out nicely with some greens but dessert wasn't entirely forgotten. Counting down from 30, here are your 2017 autumn favourites.

Maitre d' of the year 2010: Tom Sykes, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Sydney

Tom Sykes’ first Sydney restaurant job, back in 1996, was at a little place called Rockpool. Fast-forward almost 15 years and Sykes has not only climbed the ranks from waiter to headwaiter to assistant manager to general manager in time for the Sydney Olympics in 2000 in the crucible of the city’s most talked-about restaurant, he has made his way to the forefront of the profession. Understated and unflappable without being aloof, and ever-watchful without losing his affability, he has put a face of professional good humour on one of the most polished service teams in the country.

“Tom is very even-handed,” says Neil Perry. “He has completely taken on board our philosophy of care, making sure that the staff are in a position to look after the guests, and that the guests themselves are relaxed and ready for a great dining experience.

It’s easy to think that Sykes came into this world fully dressed in a crisp suit and perfectly knotted tie, but it was deep in thongs-and-sarongs territory, working with Sunshine Coast restaurant veteran Leonie Palmer in Noosa, that he first became hooked on the buzz of service. “Tom worked with us during his university holidays at Palmer’s here in Noosa,” says Palmer, now at Noosa’s Coconut Grove. “Of course, he decided to defer because he was enjoying it. He was getting some classical training from my husband, Steph Fisher, and he was always an apt and very good learner.” Palmer remembers being very, ahem, popular with Skyes’ parents when he pretty much decided to defer his studies full time, but the decision proved to be the right one. “Tom always had a lovely manner and good people sense, so it’s no surprise to us that he’s done so well.”

As fascinating as it was to see him working the floor at Spice Temple in the months leading up to the opening of Rockpool Bar & Grill, it’s at the latter, in one of the most demanding rooms in the country, that he finds a challenge worthy of all that training and experience. Sykes credits his success in this business to the sense of loyalty, dedication and family Rockpool’s Perry and Trish Richards instil in their staff, and they’re qualities we’re going to see enriching this industry as the people who have come up under him go out into their own roles. Short of cloning him, holding Tom Sykes up as an example of how good home-grown Australian service can be seems like a pretty good idea to us.

WORDS PAT NOURSE PHOTOGRAPHY JASON LOUCAS

This article is from the September 2009 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

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