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What meal do you remember most from your childhood?
Mum’s tarte tartin and her cauliflower soup bring back memories of my childhood. It was my favourite thing to eat as a child. I included both in my first book with a tribute to my Mum; can’t look like I’m stealing her recipes!
What’s your favourite dish to make?
The most satisfying dish to make is la bouillabaise. It has loads of different ingredients and takes hours to cook, but the end result is worth it. Did I mention it’s in my book?
What really drew you to cooking?
Being pretty average at school and missing out on the circus troupe auditions, I had no choice but to go and work with my dad. The rest is history; it was love at first sight.
What has been the proudest moment of your career and why?
Releasing my first book. It was a testament to my years in the kitchen and a tribute to my Mum.
What do you love about the food culture in Australia?
The amazing array of produce you can access is incredible. I especially love the seafood, and all the different styles of food on offer. Who would have thought Aussie school kids would have sushi in their lunch boxes?
What do you think the next trend in the food industry will be?
French Tapas – well I hope it is anyway. Mexican food is really starting to come into its own, and Food Trucks which are huge in the US; but we seem to do them with so much more style in Australia.
What do you think one of the most important lessons is for beginner cooks?
Keep it simple. We have such great produce in Australia, but it’s easy to try to trick it up too much. Buy a few fresh ingredients, treat them with respect and you will always have a great meal. Websites like foodontap.com.au and taste.com.au [ed: and Yahoo7 Food!] are great ways to access an array of different recipes, so buy what’s in season then look for recipes to match. Or buy my book!
What dish do you love to cook with your son?
He loves to help me and I get him to do all the jobs I don’t like doing, like peeling vegetables and topping/tailing beans, and the washing up. He hasn’t worked out they are the chores not the cooking, but it’s working for me at the moment.
If you weren’t working with food, what would you do?
I’d become a professional backgammon player! I used to play it with my family as a kid and I love it. It’s almost instinctive when I play.
Manu Fieldel will be hosting the segment, Am I really French? at The Good Food & Wine Show 2012, set to be held in Melbourne on 1-3 June and in Sydney on 22-24 June. For tickets and more information and the events nationally, visit www.goodfoodshow.com.au.
Try this classic French recipe at home: