The summer issue

Our summer-packed January issue is out now - featuring our guide to summer rieslings, strawberries and seafood recipes, as well as a look at the best of Bali.

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Recipes with peaches

Whether caramelised in a tarte Tartin, paired with slow-roasted pork on top of pizza or tossed through salads, this sweet stone fruit is an excellent addition to summer cooking.

Black Star Pastry to open in Carlton, Melbourne

Instagram’s most famous cake, plus a few other sweet hits, is heading south.

Knives and Ink chef tattoos

What is it about chefs and tattoos? A new book asks the inked to answer for themselves.

Ben Shewry's favourite souvlaki restaurant in Melbourne Kalimera Souvlaki Art

Attica’s chef isn’t happiest when eating soils or smears on his days off, it’s souvlaki. We follow him to his favourite spot.

Seabourn Encore luxury cruise ship

Australia is about to get its first glimpse of Seabourn Encore, a glamorous new addition to the Seabourn fleet.

Berry recipes

Whether it's raspberries paired with chocolate in a layer cake, or blueberries with lemon in a tart; berries are a welcome addition to any dessert. Here are delicious recipes with berries.

Coconut crab and green mango salad

"This salad bursts with fresh, vibrant flavours and became a signature on my Paramount menus," says Christine Manfield. "I capitalised on using green mangoes in many dishes as they became more widely available. Blue swimmer crabs from South Australia have the most delicious sweet meat. It's best to buy them whole, cook them yourself and carefully pick the meat from the shell - a tedious task but it gives the best flavour. This entree also works well with spanner crab meat (you can buy this in packs ready cooked from reliable fishmongers). The sweetness of the crab, the richness of the fresh coconut and the sourness of green mango make a wonderful partnership. It's all about harmony on the palate and using the very best produce."

Light and healthy recipes

With fresh ingredients and lots of spices, these light and healthy recipes are perfect for summer.

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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