Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

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Flour and Stone Recipes

Baker extraordinaire Nadine Ingram of Sydney's Flour and Stone cooks up a sweet storm for Easter, including the much loved bakery's greatest hit.

Savoury tarts

Will your next baking project be a flaky puff pastry with pumpkin, goat's curd and thyme, or a classic bacon and Stilton tart? As autumn settles in, we're ticking these off one by one.

Fast autumn dinners

Autumn weather signals the arrival of soups, broths, roasts and more hearty meals.

Roasted cauliflower salad with yoghurt dressing and almonds

The cauliflower is roasted until it starts to caramelise, which adds extra depth of flavour to this winning salad. Serve it warm or at room temperature.

New cruises 2017

Cue the Champagne.

1980s recipes

Australia saw some bold moves in the ’80s, and we’re not just talking hairstyles. Greater cultural references started peppering the menus of our restaurants, and home-grown ingredients won a new appreciation. The dining scene was coming of age and a new band of pioneers led the charge.

Melbournes finest meet Worlds Best

Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

Roti canai

Here, we've made the dough in a food processor, but it's really quick and simple to do by hand as well. If the dough seems a little too wet just add a little more flour.

Grant Achatz interview

One of the leaders of progressive cooking in the US, Grant Achatz is heading our way. Pat Nourse talks to the chef of Chicago's Alinea ahead of his first visit to Australia.

Grant Achatz doesn't like taking the easy road. Whether it's the way he runs Alinea, his internationally acclaimed three-star fine-diner, or Next, the restaurant he opened in 2011, which reboots not only its menu, but its entire theme every few months, switching from Belle Époque Parisian cooking to Thai, or from the food of Sicily to Kyoto. If there's a path that's going to be more demanding, whether creatively or professionally, that'll be where you'll find him. And just to make sure he never has a moment of spare time, his suite of Chicago venues also includes a bar, Aviary, where modernist chef-like thinking is applied to cocktails.

This month Achatz (it rhymes with "packets") will join his mentor, the French Laundry's Thomas Keller, along with Heston Blumenthal, The Ledbury's Brett Graham, Nahm's David Thompson and Attica chef Ben Shewry cooking with Neil Perry for the Ultimate Dinner fundraiser in aid of the Starlight Children's Foundation at Rockpool Bar & Grill in Sydney and Perth. We caught him ahead of his visit to talk shop.

What's the first thing you try to teach your staff?
Respect for the process and passion for what we do.

When are you at your most creative?
By its nature creativity is very spontaneous and unpredictable. You always have to be observant of what's around you.

Eight years on from opening Alinea, do you find yourself changing the menu more or less often?
More. With the opening of Next and its related travel, me and the team feel more inspired and there's crossover from that inspiration at all three places.

The more we change our menus, the easier it is to stay current and relevant in the global culinary scene.

At Next, how have you refined the process of working from one concept to, well, the next?
In the beginning it was difficult, but now we've streamlined the process of training the front and back of house, and have locked into a rhythm. Chef [Dave] Beran and I start working on the next menu about a month after we have launched the previous one, so we have two months for refinement and training.

Has there been an idea that you've had trouble translating from concept to plate?
The idea of making food float has been a challenge. Seven-and-a-half years later, though… apple balloon.

Do you think restaurant cooking has the potential to produce trickle-down benefits for the wider world?
Absolutely. I've done some consulting for large food companies and a couple of supermarkets, and they all say that they look to chefs and restaurants for ideas. The result isn't instantaneous, though; there's usually at least a five-year lag between what you see in a restaurant and what you see on a shelf.

Can you share a few of the Next themes people have proposed that you wouldn't consider?
Australian cuisine. No, in all seriousness, every menu we've done so far has posed interesting problems to solve, and they have all proved solvable.

Speaking of Australia, you're in Sydney this month to cook for the Ultimate Dinner. What are you hoping to see in your time off?
I really want to explore the gastronomy scene, from high-end restaurants to local haunts. Visiting markets and seeing food on an everyday level is also something I like to do wherever I travel.

Australian restaurants - tell us everything you know.
Quite honestly, not much. That was one of the deciding factors to do the event, I have never been to Australia, but like I said, travel and observation often lead to inspiration for me.

Ultimate Dinner Sydney is on 28 September at Rockpool Bar & Grill, (02) 8078 1900, and on 1 October at Perth's Rockpool Bar & Grill (with David Thompson cooking in place of Heston Blumenthal), (08) 6252 1900. Tickets are $10,000 for tables of 10, starlight.org.au

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