Restaurant News

Christmas all wrapped up

Looking for the perfect present for the food-lover in your life? From binchotan charcoal to caviar, here’s what our top chefs and food identities are hoping to find under the tree.

Ben Russell, Aria, Brisbane I hope I'll find a Japanese samurai sword, but one that looks like a walking stick with the sword hidden inside. I'm also keen on taxidermy of any sort but have a particular interest in crocodiles (preferably just the legs, which would make cool bookends). Finally, an Elektra Belle Époque coffee machine. If you're not familiar with this machine it's a thing of real beauty - replete with brass eagle on top.

Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate, Porteño, Sydney We hope we'll find a 1932 Ford -an all-steel five-window coupe, to be precise.

Scott Heffernan, Smolt, Hobart This year I can't say I'm looking forward to anything more than our first child, due in December. But an apple crusher and press for making cider would also be welcome additions to the family.

Stefano Manfredi, Balla, Sydney I hope I'll find a giant cecina pan from Tuscany. A cecina is a chickpea pancake, and while it can be made in an ordinary pan, there's nothing like the real thing.

Teage Ezard, Ezard, Melbourne
I hope I'll find my favourite Hermès cologne and, for the kitchen at home, a Wüsthof forged fish filleting knife.

Brent Savage, Bentley, Sydney It would be great to find a rotary evaporator - don't think it's going to happen though. I'll settle for a small Japanese konro barbecue.

Matt Wilkinson, Hen & Coq, Melbourne I hope I'll find a little envelope with a lovely letter saying: "You've worked so hard this year, have the day off, we're going to cook this Christmas, here you go, put your slippers on and I'll get you a glass of Sherry and you relax today." If by a massive surprise that doesn't happen, I'm really in need of a new pair of backless leather kitchen Birkenstocks in the mustard-brown colour. Size 10, please.

Barry McDonald, Fratelli Fresh, Sydney I hope I'll find airline tickets to Melbourne for the same morning, and lunch booked for Christmas Day at Café Di Stasio.

Martin Benn, Sepia, Sydney I hope I'll find a new Japanese filleting knife.

Kiren Mainwaring, Dear Friends, Perth I hope I'll find a vintage WW Babcock Co wooden barrel butter churn.

Phil Wood, Rockpool, Sydney I hope I'll find a Thermomix, a box of Ladurée macarons, and a voucher to spend at Amazon.

Christine Manfield, Universal, Sydney I hope I'll find an envelope with a ticket to Bhutan to spend two weeks walking through the mountains, with a tailor-made itinerary staying at each of the Amankora lodges - Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Bumthang and Gangtey - to explore more of the Himalayan Buddhist culture, to forage for wild foods and to have the opportunity to cook with the locals.

Chui Lee Luk, Claude's, Sydney
I hope I'll find at least some of the out-of-print cookbooks that I've long yearned for: Le Livre de Michel Bras, Le Livre d'Olivier Roellinger, Pierre Gagnaire's La Cuisine Immédiate, or Florence Lin's Complete Book of Chinese Noodles, Dumplings and Breads.

Richard Ptacnik, Otto, Sydney
I hope I'll find a woodfired pizza oven. I finally have a new house with a backyard I can fit one in. Or a Bradley smoker; I have one at work and I think I could get so much use out of it at home.

Craig Will, Stillwater, Launceston, Tas I would love to find two tickets for a culinary tour of Europe with my wife Monica, starting in France to sample the breads, pastries and cheeses, then on to Spain to indulge in some great tapas before heading into North Africa to explore its earthy cuisines with their fabulous spices and flavour combinations.

Dan Hong, Ms.G's, Sydney
I hope I'll find a return flight to Tokyo with dinner vouchers for Ryugin, Sawada and Sukiyabashi Jiro.

Peter Doyle, Est., Sydney I hope I'll find a tin of caviar to go with the blini I'll be making, and a great pinot noir to go with the pork on the spit.

Paul Wilson, Albert Park Hotel, Melbourne Being a keen angler, I'd love to find a shichirin barbecue and some binchotan charcoal to grill some of our amazing local sustainable fish.

Ryan Squires, Esquire, Brisbane I hope I'll find a Nenox Corian petty knife. In saying that, I've been a good boy this year so an ultrasonic emulsifier or even an Arcobaleno pasta machine would be nice too.

George Calombaris, The Press Club, Melbourne I hope I'll find a log of fresh foie gras, and tomatoes from the island of Santorini.

Guillaume Brahimi, Guillaume at Bennelong, Sydney I hope I'll find some handwritten cards from my girls, as they're more precious than any presents.

Scott Minervini, Lebrina, Hobart I hope I'll find any cared-for copy of anything by Robert Courtine, or Penhaligon's Endymion cologne, or a bottle of Salon Champagne and some Maison Fossier pink biscuits to enjoy on the day.

Neil Perry, Rockpool, Sydney I hope I'll find a new konro barbecue, six kilos of binchotan charcoal and a pack of cedar cooking sheets. I could then spend my time over Christmas grilling beautiful fresh seafood and cooking the girls some yakitori sticks - that would make me so happy.

Hadleigh Troy, Restaurant Amusé, Perth I hope I'll find a woodfired oven for the backyard. The logistics of wrapping it may pose a problem, but the rewards for the giver will last the whole year long.

Iain Todd, Ethos Eat Drink, Hobart I would be very excited to see tickets to New York and San Sebastián (for menu research, of course; the best steak and the best tapas in the world), an antique butcher's block and a Texas longhorn steer skull for the wall at our Battery Point Steakhouse. A big block of very dark Amedei chocolate would be good too.

Lennox Hastie, Sydney I hope I'll find a large basket of the freshest local ingredients to share with my family and friends.

Jonathan Barthelmess, Manly Pavilion, Sydney I hope I'll find a charcoal barbecue and a new backyard to put it in.

Tetsuya Wakuda, Tetsuya's, Sydney I hope I'll find a cast-iron pot by Oigen.

Jim Berardo, Berardo's, Noosa, Qld I hope I'll find a 1957 red Thunderbird filled with all the latest kitchen toys and a great bottle of old red to match.

Pasquale Trimboli, Italian & Sons, Canberra Christmas always reminds me of family sitting around the table dotted with antipasti and cured meats. One of my fondest memories is of my parents' restored Berkel flywheel manual meat slicer, which was strictly used only for prosciutto, served paper-thin alongside the antipasti and freshly baked bread. So, money being no object, a vintage red Berkel Flywheel manual meat slicer would be under my tree this year.

Luke Burgess, Garagistes, Hobart I hope I'll find a suisin maguro (tuna) knife.

Mark Best, Marque, Sydney
I hope I'll find a Molteni made-to-measure range and someone to polish it.

Andrew McConnell, Cutler & Co., Melbourne I hope I'll find a Vintec wine cabinet.

Peter Gilmore, Quay, Sydney I hope I'll find a new wheelbarrow for my garden or the latest XF Jaguar. I'm easy to please.

Jowett Yu, Ms G's, Sydney I hope I'll find a leg of jamón Ibérico or jamón serrano or Prosciutto di San Daniele. Better yet, all of the above.

Jacques Reymond, Jacques Reymond, Melbourne I hope I'll find the Ferrari that my wife owes me after losing countless bets over the years. She's promised me so many times but it remains in my dreams.

Justin North, Bécasse, Sydney
I hope I'll find a lyophiliser - it's a machine used for freeze-drying.

Jason Jujnovich, Divido, Perth I'd love the ultimate getaway to get back to my roots: Perth to Italy, then a ferry trip from Bari, Italy, across to Dubrovnik, Croatia, and then up the coast to Zadar and beyond, sampling the regional food, taking in the sights and enjoying a little R & R. I know it's a big ask for this Christmas but I might as well dream big.

Dan Hunter, Royal Mail Hotel, Dunkeld, Vic I hope I'll find a cold-smoker and ageing cabinet to keep up a good supply of charcuterie at home for me and the family. I wouldn't mind one of Anthony Kumnick's (Greenvale Meats) Wessex saddleback pigs, either, to help start the ball rolling.

Alla Wolf-Tasker, Lake House, Daylesford, Vic I hope to find a clone of every single one of my wonderful restaurant team, both front of house and kitchen. Like everyone else, we could do with lots more people. The skill shortages and just simply people shortages in our industry have never been so catastrophic. I'm not asking for much, Santa, just some more folk like my brilliant team - talented, creative, passionate, loyal and dedicated - and not a single cowboy among them. Besides, we've all been very good and deserve it.

Jock Zonfrillo, Penfolds Magill Estate Restaurant, Adelaide I hope I'll find a Molteni cooking range in black with chrome trim.

Simon Johnson, Simon Johnson, Sydney I'd love to find a nice selection of heritage seeds for my kitchen garden.

Vince LaMontagna, Vincenzo's Cucina Vera, Adelaide I hope I'll find my nonna's taralli recipe and my mother's secret recipe book.