Top Chefs' Recipes Made Easy
You don't have to be a master chef to cook restaurant-quality food at home in your own kitchen. In Top Chefs' Recipes Made Easy by Virginia and Lisa Hellier, 28 of Australia's top chefs show how simple it is to bring a taste of their professional world to your own table.
The dishes - nibbles for drinks, entrees, salads as meals, main courses and desserts - take their inspiration from Italy, France, Thailand, and Vietnam and owe their conception to some of our most talented and innovative chefs. Several creations, such as the Teriyaki Racks of Lamb, fuse different culinary traditions.
"Now home cooks can whip up the same dishes as Shannon Bennett prepares for Vue de Monde in Melbourne or Jimmy Shu serves at Hanuman in Darwin. The recipes are step-by-step and foolproof. You can impress your friends, your family and even yourself when you serve Braised Beef Spetzatino, oven-baked beef with a tomato sauce with chocolate," says Virginia Hellier.
"One recipe, Frank Camorra's Salted Spanish Almonds, only has three ingredients - raw almonds, salt and water. Recipes don't have to have 40 ingredients to be good. Top Chefs' Recipes Made Easy even extends to old favourites such as the self-saucing chocolate pudding of our childhood, only much yummier. It will leave the people at your table demanding more."
As part of their restaurant consultancy across 25 years, mother-and-daughter team, Virginia and Lisa Hellier, have brought chefs to the stage, in such diverse locations as Victoria's Yarra Valley, tropical North Queensland, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Banff Springs in Canada. They have been responsible for bringing to Australia some of the world's great chefs - Jacques Maximin, Nick Nairn, Rick Stein, Antonio Carluccio, David Thompson, Nick Malgieri, Lorenza de'Medici, and Christine Manfield.
"We decided that it would be good to compile some of the recipes from these master classes into an easy-to-read cookbook at an affordable price. Top food shouldn't be the preserve of top chefs. We should all be able to do it. As Virginia Woolf once said, 'One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well'. Virginia and Lisa are planning other books on pasta and seafood. "We feel we've got at least 10 books in us," Virginia said.
Virginia Hellier has been involved in the Australian food and leisure industry since 1973, playing a pivotal role in revolutionising the conservative Melbourne food scene. After running a private catering business for two years, she opened The Black Pudding in 1975. It was Australia's second gourmet food store and she introduced Melburnians to then unknown delights such as quiche, coq au vin and boeuf bourguignon.
"I was the Queen of Terrines," Virginia said.
"We expanded the business in 1978 to incorporate a successful international cookery school. This was decades before MasterChef.
"It's always been my belief that anyone can cook well. Use the best possible ingredients, have everything fresh - and don't be intimidated. We're so lucky in Australia - we've got every food you can imagine except foie de gras. We should embrace our produce." Virginia Hellier
is a respected food and wine mentor. For over twenty five years Virginia has been at the forefront of the food and lifestyle industry in Victoria and is credited with establishing the profile of gourmet food in this state. She was the principal of her own catering and event company and cookery school. With an encyclopaedic knowledge of food and wine in Australia, Virginia is constantly consulted on all aspects of these sectors and continues to appear as a food commentator on Victorian radio. She has also been an editorial contributor on the subjects of food and travel in numerous national and Victorian publications. Her clients include Victorian and Queensland Restaurants and Hotels and one of Australia's premier markets in the Melbourne CBD. Lisa Hellier
originally trained and worked as a chef in Melbourne restaurants including Fanny's Restaurant, Parks Restaurant and Dechaineux Brasserie. She was one of the first female chefs to work at top Melbourne restaurants. She went on to join her mother Virginia in her consultancy business, planning and designing menus, instigating kitchen and foodservice systems and kitchen designs. She assists in the development and staging of numerous guest and celebrity chefs' events and appearances across the year.
Top Chefs' Recipes Made Easy
Authors: Virginia and Lisa Hellier
Price: $9.95 Buy it now at Angus & Robertson