Marion is the owner and creator or Marion's Kitchen: marionskitchen.com.au
Question: What inspired the creation of Marion's Kitchen?
Marion Grasby: It was actually my friends who inspired the creation of Marion's Kitchen. They kept asking me for my Asian recipes but most were put off by the long list of ingredients to make things like traditional curry pastes. So I decided to create a little box of essential ingredients for each of my favourite Asian dishes with step-by-step instructions and a focus on high quality produce.
Question: Can you tell us about the Marion's Kitchen range and what inspired the recipes behind the meals?
Marion Grasby: My Marion's Kitchen range includes dishes from many different Asian cuisines – Thai, Chinese, Malaysian and Singaporean. All of the recipes for each meal kit starts with what and how and I cook that dish at home. There are no fancy teams of scientific home economists that most big company's would rely on. It's just me and my Thai mum (she loves to help out) cooking each dish over and over until we're happy with the recipe. A lot of the recipes are family treasures that Mum and I have been cooking for as long as I can remember.
Question: If you were throwing a Thai-inspired dinner party on Saturday night; what dishes would you cook and why?
Marion Grasby: A Thai green curry is my most requested dinner party dish so that would definitely be on the menu. I probably start with a steamer of freshly made dumplings or my Mum's traditional Thai spring rolls. Then I'd serve a tom yum soup, wok-fried Asian greens and a spicy Thai laab salad along with the green curry. Dessert would be fresh ripe mangoes.
Question: What's the first meal, out of the Marion's Kitchen range, you'd suggest for someone who may have not cooked Thai at home, before?
Marion Grasby: Cooking Thai curries is such a brilliant way to get to know Thai ingredients. My Thai Green Curry Kit includes fragrant Thai basil leaves and kaffir lime leaves – essential Thai ingredients. And learning how to make a green curry through my step-by-step guide is easy!
Question: What sets Thai apart from other Asian cuisines?
Marion Grasby: I adore the mix of Asian herbs, big hits of chilli and the zingy citrusy flavours of kaffir lime and lemongrass. I think it's these fresh ingredients that really sets Thai food apart from other Asian cuisines. The resulting mixture of ingredients in a Thai dish is always so vibrant, spicy and tangy.
Question: What's the biggest mistake Australians make when cooking Thai dishes, at home?
Marion Grasby: The most important part of cooking Thai dishes at home is also the easiest – simply taste everything. Thai dishes are particularly reliant on getting the right balance of sweet, sour, salty and spicy. You need to taste each dish and adjust the balance of flavours with ingredients like palm sugar, lime juice, fish sauce and chillies.
Question: What originally inspired your love for cooking and creating meals?
Marion Grasby: My mum has been the biggest inspiration in the kitchen. I learned to love food and cooking from her almost by accident. I don't think it was something she necessarily thought she was doing but her own passion and love of food just rubbed off on me.
Question: If you could only purchase five ingredients, what would you buy, to create tonight's dinner?
Marion Grasby: Prawns, garlic, coriander, fish sauce, chillies.
Question: What do you love about living in Bangkok but regularly travel to Australia?
Marion Grasby: It is amazing to be based in Bangkok and exploring all different parts of Thailand as well as the rest of Asia. Simply walking down the street past the little old ladies making papaya salad or grilling satay sticks provides so much inspiration for my recipes and products. But I do miss Australia and love the fact just about every month I can head home with a new bunch of recipes under my wing to share with everyone.
Question: What's your number one cooking advice?
Marion Grasby: Never fear! There are far worse things going on in the world than a burnt pavlova.
Question: What has been the highlight of your career, so far?
Marion Grasby: Creating and building my Marion's Kitchen food range is absolutely one of the hardest and most rewarding things I've done in my life. The whole business has been very much a family affair with my fiancee taking up most of the business side and my parents being my chief taste testers. It's certainly a challenge owning your own business as any Australian small business owner will know…many sleepless nights! But it's just so amazing to be able to share all my favourite Asian dishes with so many people in Australia – more the 150 000 people every month now make one of my products for dinner. Amazing!
Question: Can you talk about a typical day, for you?
Marion Grasby: I spend some days recipe testing and writing about food for events, cooking demonstrations, my website www.marionskitchen.com.au as well as for my monthly column in Taste.com.au magazine. Other days I might need to be out with my producers finding new ingredients and developing new products. Or I might be on a plane back to Australia. No such thing as a typical day for me…which is just the way I like it!
Question: What's next for you?
Marion Grasby: I have a new cookbook due for release in April next year and I'm also working on a follow up series to my Marion's Thailand show, which screened on Foxtel's Lifestyle Food this year.
Interview by Brooke Hunter