The Christmas issue

Our December issue is out now, featuring Paul Carmichael's recipes for a Caribbean Christmas, silly season cocktails and more.

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Chilled recipes for summer

When the mercury is rising, step away from the oven. These recipes are either raw, chilled or frozen and will cool you down in a snap.

Shark Bay Wild Scampi Caviar

Bright blue scampi roe is popping up on menus across Australia. Here's why it's so special.

Mango recipes

Nothing says summer like mangoes. Go beyond the criss-cross cuts - bake a mango-filled meringue loaf with lime mascarpone, start off the day with a sweet coconut quinoa pudding with sticky mango, or toss it through a spicy warm weather Thai salad.

Decadent chocolate dessert recipes for Christmas

13 of our most decadent chocolate recipes to indulge guests with this Christmas.

Sydney's best dishes 2016

For our 50th anniversary issue in 2016, we scoured Australia asking two questions: What dishes are making waves right now? What flavours will take us into the next half-century? Sydney provided 16 answers.

What the GT team is cooking on Christmas Day

We don't do things by halves in the Gourmet office. These are the recipes we'll be cooking on the big day.

Summer feta recipes

Whether in a fresh salad or seasonal seafood dish, feta's creamy tang can be used to add interest to a variety of summer dishes.

Paul Carmichael's great cake

"Great cake, also known in Barbados as black cake or rum cake, is a variation of British Christmas cake that's smashed with rum and falernum syrup," says Momofuku Seiobo chef Paul Carmichael. "This festive cake varies from household to household but they all have two things in common: tons of dried fruit and rum. It's a cake that should be started at least a month out so the fruit can marinate in the booze. Start this recipe up to five weeks ahead to macerate the fruit and baste the cake."

George Livissianis, restaurant designer

Restaurant designer of the moment George Livissianis creates drama with subtle style, writes Maya Kerthyasa.

Is George Livissianis the hottest name in Australian restaurant design right now? Judging by his work on some of Sydney's favourite dining rooms, the answer is a definite yes.

He's the interior architect responsible for the dramatic good looks of The Apollo and the cliché-free approach to modern Japanese lines at Cho Cho San in Potts Point, the sow's-ear-to-silk-purse work at Darlinghurst pop-up Café Paci, the recent revamp of Surry Hills' Longrain, and soon the design of the new Potts Point incarnation of Billy Kwong, and a half (Pascale Gomes-McNabb is designing the other) of the resurrected Stokehouse St Kilda, slated to open mid-2015. His work might be diverse (a Jac+Jack store and an outpost of Luxe Café at Miranda Westfield number among his other recent jobs) but the style is unmistakably contemporary. "Minimal but considered" is how he likes to describe himself if pressed. "But I wouldn't want to be designated a look because it always changes."

If you were to try to pin down the Livissianis style, you might start with muted palettes. Take the washed-out white-painted brick, birch ply and pale concrete tones at Cho Cho San, for example, or the dusty hues at The Apollo, inspired by the crags and cliffs of the Greek islands. Decorative detail is kept to a minimum, but where it appears there's always a wry touch.

And although it may not always be noticeable at first glance, it's always there for a reason.

"It could come down to the way that you detail something that might be a little bit atypical," he says, "or it might be an unexpected highlight somewhere like that very fine neon-pink paint line on top of the column at The Apollo, and in the stitched detail of the sofa." At Cho Cho San he uses the ceiling - an illuminated LED light-box stretching the length of the room - to suggest the notion of a shoji screen. "I like that subtleness about it," he says. "That it's there if you notice it."

Livissianis studied interior architecture at UNSW, moved to London to work for Virgile & Stone and then back to Australia, where he spent six years at Burley Katon Halliday before going solo. It's a blue-chip background, but he's not afraid to mix it up. With Café Paci, for instance, he created drama without the sort of budget you'd associate with a BKH project, painting the entire room and everything in it the same shade of Taubmans Iron Age grey. At the entrance he created interest with a cluster of white paper lanterns, and divided the dining room and the bathrooms and kitchen with a simple grey curtain. A smart response to a contemporary site and a small budget. "I'm open to anything that's right for the space."

Restaurant design has its challenges. Lighting and acoustics, for example, aren't Livissianis's favourite part of the job, but he recognises that all the pieces have to be considered together. "Restaurants need to appeal to everybody and that's very tricky," he says.

Looking beyond his own contributions, he says he'd love to see more original ideas in Australian restaurants - something more of a homegrown feel. "There are some things that you look at and think, I've seen this somewhere overseas," he says. "It would be great to see more things that have an aesthetic that's more Sydney or Australia."

And what of the way his ideas are perceived by the people who throng to the rooms he designs? "I'd like to think my natural style is quite understated and honest in the materials it uses," he says. "And hopefully that's what people see in the spaces."

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