Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Skye Gyngell

Special Guests in 2014

International and Australian stars of the culinary scene

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Costa Georgiadis Costa Georgiadis

Costa Georgiadis sees the world through different eyes.He lives for connections, creativity and community. From the way we at look and deal with our waste, to the food we produce and share around our tables, it is what drives our connection to the planet that fuels, feeds and nurtures us. He sees life and hope in the streets, roads and open spaces of our cities and towns, as the living and breathing arteries of community that need to be utilised and celebrated as places to build biodiversity and food security back into our local landscapes. Individual health starts in a garden or verge near you.

In these times of great change and uncertainty, Costa sees creative opportunity at every corner. We are what we eat and where we live, so lets create a fertile future through our daily actions, no matter how small they may appear to be because as individuals are choices matter. Landscape architect Costa Georgiadis loves growing stuff... edible plants; flowering plants for the bees and insects to dine on; and trees, shrubs and grasses that help to protect the soil and in turn feed it to feed us. He sees the connection between food, family, community and health as the most important bond worth upholding. Growing relationships is what life is about, and without communication, language and dialogue the world would be a lonely and isolated place.

Costa first burst onto our TV screens in the SBS show Costa’s Garden Odyssey before moving to the ABC where he is now host of Gardening Australia. In this role he shares his belief that the whole world is a big garden and simple day-to-day actions as individuals can help to regenerate the global garden we all rely upon. Information is one thing , but action validates the learning. Backing yourself and creating momentum is what Costa is all about. If he can do it, you can too...

Costa Georgiadis is a landscape architect who has an all-consuming passion for plants and people - he knows how to bring out the best in both of them, and as Host of ABC's Gardening Australia he takes great pleasure in bringing them together. It's all about growing from Costa's perspective: growing health through growing the soil, growing the environment and above all else growing the confidence to back yourself and grow and nurture the landscapes of our future. Food and food security are the backbone of Costa's message...a healthy nutritious supply of food grown regeneratively is the key to individual, family and community health. And it is the wonderful and unpredictable things that happen when plants and people come together that fuels his love and interest in community gardens and the diversity of ways that people can find, direction, purpose, peace and togetherness through the plants that make up our garden planet.

For Costa the whole world is a garden and it has so much to offer.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Dan Moss  Dan Moss

Dan Moss is the Executive Chef and owner of regional restaurant Terroir in Auburn. He is known for his passion for fresh, seasonal produce and is celebrated for reinvigorating the foodie scene in the Clare Valley. Dan has not yet celebrated his 30th Birthday however he has crammed a lot of experience into his youth. He completed his apprenticeship at Jolley’s Boathouse and has worked abroad in kitchens across the UK, Germany and Canada. His menu at Terroir changes weekly, to utilize local producers and ensure all dishes contain fresh, seasonal produce. 

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Darren Doherty Darren Doherty

Born in 1967, Darren Doherty is a 5th generation Bendigo farmer, developer, author and trainer. Darren has extensive experience across the world in project design, development, management and training. A career-long focus on the profitable and regenerative retrofit of broadacre landscapes has seen Darren acclaimed as a pioneer in this important and often overlooked field. Darren has been involved in the design and development of over 1600 projects across 5 continents in 45 countries, ranging from 1 million hectare cattle stations in Australia’s Kimberly region to 110,000 acre Estancia’s in Patagonia. Darren and his wife Lisa Heenan are Directors of HeenanDoherty Pty. Ltd, a family business delivering Consulting, Events, Development, AG Products and multi-award winning Media from the family farm, 'Dehesa Felix' in the Bendigo region of central Victoria, Australia. Darren and Lisa have three children, Isaebella, Pearl and Zane.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - David Prior David Prior

David Prior is a Brisbane-born, New York-based writer, creative director,  traveller and general enthusiast of real food. What exactly does that entail? Put simply, a packed suitcase and the ability to gather foreign recipes, stories and stills which, put together, tell a tale of place. Only 30 years of age, David Prior is the epitome of a “young gun”. He began his career in Sydney working as a stylist, before his love of food led him to the University of Gastronomic Science in Italy. From there, David moved to California to work for culinary icon Alice Waters of Chez Panisse. David and Alice worked together at the restaurant and at the Edible Schoolyard Project in Berkley, California. Whilst he no longer works as her Director of Communications, he continues to collaborate with Alice on creative projects. David is also a regular contributor to T: The New York Times Style Magazine, WSJ, British Vogue, Monocle, Vogue Living, Nowness and his own website Prior.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Doug Piper Doug Piper

Master Butcher Doug Piper more than earned the “master” part of his title. In over three decades in the industry, Doug has done everything meat. Nowadays, Doug brings his expertise to managing state marketing business development for the red meat industry of Sydney. First joining Meat and Livestock Australia in 2007, Doug and his team oversee workshops on carcass utilization, meat appreciation, and educational “paddock to plate” tours for chefs and butchers. He also participates in Department of Primary Industry forums and provides butchery demonstrates at the annual Royal Agricultural Show. For anyone who can’t get out to the paddock, Doug shares his meat mastery—the different types of cuts and what cooking applications they’re best suited to—with contestants on Australian Masterchef TV. And he recently developed an educational and interactive DVD for both butchers and chefs. When putting aside his mastery every now and then, Doug enjoys fishing, watching cricket, and spending time with his family.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Emmanuel Mollois Emmanuel Mollois

Emmanuel Mollois is a French-born, Perth-based patisserie chef. As a teenager in France, he hoped to become a cartoonist but was instead steered towards a culinary career by his father and uncle (a caterer). Emmanuel has since learnt to incorporate his creativity into his cuisine. He specialized in pastry making in some of France’s most highly-distinguished restaurants before moving to Melbourne, to settle down with his partner Gordana. It was in Melbourne that Emmanuel developed an understanding of the English language and the Australian palette. Following his stint in Melbourne, he moved to Perth and opened the acclaimed patisseries Le Paris Brest Patisserie Francaise and Choux Café. Emmanuelle is also a regularly featured guest on the popular ABC1 program, Poh’s Kitchen. 

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Fergus Henderson Fergus Henderson

Fergus Henderson is a self-taught and internationally acclaimed chef. He is best known for his “nose to tail” food philosophy. Fergus originally trained as an architect. During his studies he took a job at Smith’s Restaurant in Covent Garden, where he quickly developed a palette for the kitchen. In 1990, Fergus and his wife took over The French House Dining Room in Soho. Four years later, he launched his own restaurant, St John, with business partners Trevor Gulliver and Jon Spiteri. The restaurant was based in an abandoned smokehouse on the outskirts of London. The original menu was based around seasonal British cuisine and reinvigorated cheaper cuts of meat and offal, a relatively scarce concept at the time. St John’s paved the way for numerous imitations and saw Fergus win his first Michelin Star in 2009. Fergus has since opened an east London spin off, St John Bread and Wine, and St John Hotel, a slightly more accessible version of its predecessor. In between his commitments as a restaurateur, Fergus has published five cookery books, all of which trumpet his waste not, want not approach to preparing, cooking and eating meat. 

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Grant Hilliard Grant Hilliard

Grant Hilliard has a background in film study and production and restaurant floor manager and sommelier. He started Feather and Bone eight years ago with the goal of sourcing carcasses direct from local farms where soil health, genetic diversity and accountably-raised and slaughtered poultry and livestock form the exclusive basis of the product offering. This, coupled with a commitment to visit every source-farm (54 down, currently 8 to go) and a determination to embrace ‘old school’ artisan butchering practices of extended dry-aging and in-house production, has meant that Feather and Bone is now recognised as a leader in the supply of premium-quality, ethically raised meat and poultry to both the restaurant and private markets in NSW. Grant runs Feather and Bone with his partner Laura Dalrymple, who writes the company’s influential weekly newsletter where the thorny issues of sustainable production, (what it is and how to recognise it when you see it!) are discussed in an engaging and provocative way. Restoring transparency and respect to the process of food production, distribution and consumption is at the heart of Feather and Bone.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Ian Curley Ian Curley

Born in Coventry, England, Chef Ian Curley moved to Australia in 1988 after honing his skills in classical cuisine working in London restaurants.
After gaining renown whilst working at the Point restaurant, Albert Park, Ian became Executive Chef at the European Group of restaurants, encompassing a classical bistro, a wine bar, a fabulous Supper Club and a rooftop bar overlooking Parliament House in Melbourne, amongst others. He is Executive Chef for 7 diverse venues, 5 kitchens and manages a kitchen brigade of over 30 staff. His cooking is often sought by other industry professionals, both International and local and has prepared meals for many a visiting celebrity be they actor, musician or sportsperson.

An extremely talented Chef, Ian has become well known in the industry and beyond for his classical approach to preparing creative meals utilizing the whole beast, long before it became a culinary trend. He sources the best produce available, focusing on seasonality and presents it simply. This is why Chef Ian Curley is on top of his game and in demand.

Ian is considered to be one of Australia’s foremost Chefs and is regularly requested by media for his wealth of knowledge, expertise and wicked sense of humour. He is often quoted in newspapers and cuisine magazines including The Age, The Australian, The Herald Sun and Gourmet Traveller. He has had radio programs on 3RRR and currently appears twice a week on radio station 3MP talking about matters culinary. He has appeared on television shows such as the Circle, as a guest Chef on the Master Chef program and featured in his own reality show, Conviction Kitchen, teaching recently released prison inmate’s skills to provide them with a new start in life.

In keeping with this theme of lending a hand Ian is a passionate supporter of many charities. His primary focus is with Youth Projects, helping to establish a drop in centre for the homeless and mentally ill, providing medical care and support. The Starlight foundation and other charities often auction off an Ian Curley cooking encounter raising much needed funds and providing their patrons with the Ian Curley experience.

Ian is currently an ambassador for the following organizations;

  • Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food (in Australia)
  • Ovarian Cancer research foundation
  • Golf Australia

Ian is a self professed golf tragic without the skills to match. Whoever said “practice makes perfect” has never been on the Golf Course with Curley. Ian is a shocking dancer, a fabulous father to girls, Cooper and Cassidy and a nuisance to partner Simone. He is respected by many and beloved by a few.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - James Henry James Henry

30 year old, James Henry is an Australian-born, Paris based chef. His Parisian restaurant Bones has received critical acclaim for bringing French cooking back to its bare bones. James began his culinary career washing dishes but quickly found his way into the kitchen. He trained under legendary Victorian chef, Andrew McConell, and worked at popular Flinders Lane eatery Cumulus Inc. After relocating to France, James worked for high-end restaurant Spring and assisted with the opening of Au Passage, before opening Bones in a quiet side-street in the city’s 11th arrondissement. The restaurant reflects James’ personality, it unpretentious, clean and humble. Furthermore, it has given him complete control over produce selection, with courses changing frequently to reflect the evolution of the seasons. Outside of the culinary spotlight, James is recognized for his signature tattoos and penchant for punk rock music.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Jeffrey Grosset Jeffrey De Rome

Jeffrey De Rome is head chef at Kitchen by Mike. Food has been a passion of Jeffrey’s since watching ‘Boiling Point’ at age thirteen, a TV show starring Gordon Ramsay, before he was launched on to the world cooking stage. Jeffrey secured his first cooking job at age 15, after completing his School Certificate. Once he got a taste for creating dishes, there was no looking back. He enrolled in TAFE and took every course required to become a fully qualified chef. Jeffrey’s hotel career started at Pacific International Inn Sydney, where he began a four-year apprenticeship which he later completed at Sydney’s Sheraton on the Park in 2003. His career then took him overseas to work at London’s prestigious Lanesborough Hotel under the guidance of Paul Gayer. Upon his return to Sydney in 2007, Jeffrey secured a senior chef’s position at Neil Perry’s famous Rockpool restaurant, where he gained the valuable menu design, cooking and food styling skills that he brings to Four Seasons Hotel Sydney as Kable’s Restaurant Chef.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Joel Salatin Joel Salatin

Joel Salatin, 56, is a full-time farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. A third generation alternative farmer, he returned to the farm full-time in 1982 and continued refining and adding to his parents’ ideas. The farm services more than 5,000 families, 10 retail outlets, and 50 restaurants through on-farm sales and metropolitan buying clubs with salad bar beef, pastured poultry, eggmobile eggs, pigaerator pork, forage-based rabbits, pastured turkey and forestry products using relationship marketing. He holds a BA degree in English and writes extensively in magazines such as Stockman Grass Farmer, Acres USA, and Foodshed.

The family’s farm, Polyface Inc. (“The Farm of Many Faces”) has been featured in Smithsonian Magazine, National Geographic, Gourmet and countless other radio, television and print media. Profiled on the Lives of the 21st Century series with Peter Jennings on ABC World News, his after-broadcast chat room fielded more hits than any other segment to date. It achieved iconic status as the grass farm featured in the New York Times bestseller Omnivore's Dilemma by food writer guru Michael Pollan and the award-winning film documentary, Food Ince.

A sought-after conference speaker, he addresses a wide range of issues, from “creating the farm your children will want” to “making a white collar salary from a pleasant life in the country.” A wordsmith, he describes his occupation as “mob-stocking hervbivorous solar conversion lignified carbon sequestration fertilization.” His humorous and conviction-based speeches are akin to theatrical performances, often receiving standing ovations. He has authored eight books, four of them how-to types:
  • Pastured Poultry Profits: Net $25,000 in 6 months on 20 Acres
  • Salad Bar Beef
  • You can farm: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start and Succeed in a Farming Enterprise
  • Family Friendly Farming: A Multi-Generational Home-Based Business Testament
  • Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer’s Guide to Farm Friendly Food, is an attempt to bring producers and patrons together in mutual understanding and appreciation
  • Everything i want to do is illegal: War stories from the local food front.
  • The sheer ecstasy of being a lunatic farmer
  • Folks, this ain't normal: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
  • Fields of farmers: Interning, Mentoring, Starting, Continuing

His speaking and writing reflect dirt-under-the-fingernails experience punctuated with mischievous humor. He passionately defends small farms, local food systems, and the right to opt out of the conventional food paradigm. Four generations of his family currently live and work on the farm.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Katie Quinn Davies Katie Quinn Davies

Katie Quinn Davies is a Dublin-born, Sydney based, freelance photographer and writer. She is also a regular contributor to Delicious Magazine. Katie’s photography is specific to food and lifestyle. She is respected in the industry for capturing stills of the subjects in candid and rustic states. Between freelance projects, Katie works on her website ‘What Katie Ate’. The website features a collection of recipes that have been written, developed, cooked, styled and photographed by Katie. In 2012 Katie even collaborated with Penguin Books Australia, Penguin New York, HarperCollins U.K. and Hachette Livre in France, to publish a selection of the recipes from her website in a hardback ‘What Katie Ate’ cookbook. 

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Martin Boetz Martin Boetz

Acclaimed Australian chef, Martin Boetz, is a champion of fresh ingredients. Martin trained in both European and Asian cuisine. His key focus in the kitchen however, has always been incorporating local, seasonal and sustainable produce. Martin is best known for his 13 year reign as Executive Chef at Longrain in Sydney and 7 year stint at Longrain Melbourne. Martin’s fusion of Chinese influences with traditional Thai cuisine, along with the produce driven menus at Longrain, are said to have redefined modern Asian cuisine in Australia. Martin’s new Sydney restaurant Rushcutters, draws heavily on European influences but is once again, dedicated to fresh produce. The restaurant utilises ingredients from his most recent venture the Cooks Co-Op, which is a project dedicated to providing restaurateurs and chefs with direct links to their own sustainable, seasonal produce, grown in Australia.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Matt Wilkinson Matt Wilkinson

English born, Melbourne based chef Matt Wilkinson believes in getting his hands dirty. Matt spent a large portion of his childhood hunting rabbits in South Yorkshire and he has carried on this hands-on approach through his selection of produce and cooking. Matt first earned the spotlight for his work at Circa, the Prince in Melbourne. During his time at Circa, Matt took great pleasure in demonstrating the art of butchering and utilising the restaurant’s kitchen garden to inspire menus and source ingredients. He has since launched unorthodox eatery Pope Joan in East Brunswick with business partner Ben Foster. Pope Joan incorporates a café, produce store, weeknight watering hole and kitchen garden, of course. Matt is also a proud ambassador for the Victorian Farmers’ Markets Association, a partner with boutique eatery Spudbar and the author of “Mr Wilkinson’s Favourite Vegetables”.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Max Allen Max Allen

Max Allen is an award-winning wine journalist and author. Max is wine columnist for The Weekend Australian, wine editor for Gourmet Traveller magazine, Australian correspondent for jancisrobinson.com, and a 2013 Creative Fellow at the State Library of Victoria. Max’s book The Future Makers: Australian Wines for the 21st Century was named Best International Wine Book at the Louis Roederer Wine Writers Awards in London in 2011; his latest book is Wine Know How, a beginner’s guide to the joys of fermented grape juice. Over the last 20 years, Max has been a regular - if rather sceptical - judge at various Australian wine competitions including, most recently, stints as chief judge at the innovative Australian Alternative Varieties Wine Show, the Organic Wine Show and the Australian Cider Awards. Max also plays bluegrass mandolin and is a backyard cider maker.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Mike McEnearney Mike McEnearney

Former Rockpool executive chef Mike McEnearney is the brainchild behind Kitchen by Mike, a canteen space dedicated to candid cooking and responsible food. Placing emphasis on seasonality, simplicity and freshness, menus are crafted daily to highlight the best of local, ethical produce found at the markets that day. Prior to this Mike has been cooking up a storm abroad, spending over 10 years working in restaurants across Europe.

Favourite Restaurant?
I’m inspired by many restaurants, what they all have in common is they choose ingredients from the seasons and treat it simply. I’m so looking forward to visiting Maggie Beer’s pheasant farm because she has always followed these core values.

Favourite SA Wine?
Who could not love Hill of Grace and Grange? But if I were to choose something a little more everyday I love Whistler Wines Semillon and also wines from Joe Grilli.

What are you looking forward to most about your involvement with Tasting Australia?
Meeting producers and other passionate chefs.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Milton Wordley Milton Wordley

Milton Wordley is a professional photographer, committed to the Photographic Industry for many years. Professional Photography has been Milton Wordley’s working life. Early on in his career he worked as a photojournalist on many Newspapers, including the Adelaide News, The Australian, the London Daily Express, the Australian Womens Weekly and the Bulletin. He was the inaugural national president of the Australian Society of Advertising, Commercial and Magazine Photographers (ACMP) and been involved on many other national committees. Milton established Southlight Photo Agency in the early 1980′s as a cooperative for freelance photographers, presently living, working and playing near the Adelaide Central Market. As a person with a passion for food and wine, Adelaide’s a great village for Milton.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Nick Ryan Nick Ryan

Nick Ryan is a Wine Writer, Wine Judge, Wine Educator, Bon Vivant and Raconteur. Thrown out of university in Adelaide and moving to Sydney, Nick Ryan used the knowledge he’d gained raiding his old man’s cellar to land a job with one of Sydney’s leading wine merchants. Realising that writing about it was easier than lifting it has led him to where he is now. He’s a regular contributor to Men’s Style Australia and Gourmet Traveller Wine and has judged in many Australian and international wine shows. He is excited by wines that are just as interesting by the fourth glass as they are at the first and would give it all up to play one game for the Port Adelaide Football Club.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Nick Stock Nick Stock

Nick Stock is one of Australia's most respected and prolific wine critics. Growing up in Adelaide, Nick spent a lot of time in the Barossa Valley as a kid, sparking an interest in food and wine. The now Melbourne-based wine writer and retired sommelier, Nick travels around the world to talk about Australian wine. Nick engages all readers, from the most sophisticated and involved collector to the enthusiast and novice wine drinker, with his savvy, informed and user-friendly style. He makes this highly complex and detailed subject enjoyable and intriguing, an approach that has earned him international acclaim. Nick was awarded Best Drinks Journalist at the 2007 Le Cordon Bleu World Food Media Awards. Nick trains his palate and sharpens his skills as a taster through the wine show system in Australia, a unique Australian system of wine competitions that happen in wine regions.
From 2004, d'Arry's Verandah Restaurant was Nigel’s home until the launch of his restaurant, The Elbow Room.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Paul Wilson Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson has been labeled one of the most extraordinary culinary talents in the Commonwealth. Hailing from London and living in Australia, Paul is best known for his creative flair with Latin cuisine. Paul has been recognized for blending classic ideas with the exotic origins of food cultures to create contemporary dishes. Some of his most celebrated restaurants include Melbourne institutions Newmarket Hotel and Acland St Cantina. Paul’s innovative approach to traditional cuisine has seen him recently appointed culinary director for Icebergs Dining Room & Bar in Bondi Beach, one of Australia’s most iconic restaurants.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Peter Morgan Jones Peter Morgan Jones

Celebrated chef, Peter Morgan Jones, has cooked for royalty, along with sporting and cultural elite. However, he takes the greatest pride in his current role as Executive Chef and Food Ambassador for HammondCare, where he has the opportunity to improve people’s lives through food. Peter has a long list of culinary highlights. He has catered private functions at Buckingham Palace, managed hundreds of on-site chefs at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and has worked at some of Sydney’s most prestigious restaurants. For five years, Peter was employed as Head Chef at the Art Gallery of NSW but has now taken a step in a new direction. In 2012, Peter was lured to HammondCare because of the “care factor” involved in the project. The role allows Peter to share his knowledge of food and love of cooking in a way that improves the quality of life for many elderly people in the community. Peter hopes to change the food philosophy for aged care and, eventually, create a catalyst effect across the sector.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Robert Mann Robert Mann

Robert Mann is the Chief Winemaker at Margaret River vineyard Cape Mentelle. He is the grandson of wine icon Jack Mann and took over as head of the team in 2005 to develop the vineyard’s quality portfolio of wine.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Rodney Dunn Rodney Dunn

Rodney Dunn is a recognized chef and food editor. He recently returned to his grass roots in the country to launch cooking school (for want of better words) The Agrarian Kitchen just outside of Hobart in the Derwent Valley. Rodney was raised in country New South Wales. Whilst he moved to the city for work, he has always been a country boy at heart. He worked as a chef in prominent restaurants, such as Tetsuya’s, before channeling his passion for food into journalism. Rodney worked as a full-time food editor at Gourmet Traveller until 2007 when he moved to Tasmania with his wife and child to launch The Agrarian Kitchen. The Agrarian Kitchen is nestled in a 19th Century School House. It is a cooking school with a difference, where classes involve sourcing produce from the property and learning from local industry leaders. The Agrarian Kitchen has received warm responses from locals, along with instate and overseas visitors. Furthermore, the project has given Rodney the opportunity to combine his culinary and communication skills, with his love of food, produce and the land.

Tasting Australia Special Guests 2014 - Sammy and Bella Jakubiak Sammy and Bella Jakubiak

There are very few home cooks that can claim to have impressed and blown the minds of several world renowned chefs. For Sydney sisters Sammy and Bella that is exactly what they did when they won Channel Sevens hit show My Kitchen Rulesseries two. The girls took a gamble and both quit their jobs in the fashion industry to take part in the number one series, which has paid off and given them a head start in the food industry.

The girls trace their roots back to their Polish and Hungarian heritage through food – cooking is in their blood as female family members pass down recipes through the generations. Their parents migrated to Australia over 30 years ago armed with only a suitcase and a love for food. Their grandmother Ursula is the main source of the girls’ inspiration to cook… she worked as a caterer for various embassies in Warsaw and even had the honour of cooking for Bill Clinton.

The girls’ food experiences started from a very young age. Their families’ approach (“home cooked food is the best food”) meant that they were always helping out in the kitchen and they gained a great appreciation for foraging, with fresh and food taking centre stage in family outings to orchards, mushroom picking and fishing. They live by the motto that fresh, local and seasonal is always best.

Sammy and Bella showcased both traditional and reinvented Polish Cuisine as contestants on My Kitchen Rules. Their famous Beetroot Broth with Wild Mushroom Tortellini was their most traditional dish and a true testament to their grandmother’s influence. Sammy and Bella are now focused on bringing Central European flavours to the Australian palate.

Travel has always been central to Sammy and Bella’s lives, the girls live to eat international food and have since developed skills in cooking food from many different cultures around the world.

The girls are also prepared to try it all – including nose to tail eating which they are very passionate about. Respect for the animal means never turning your nose up at food and the girls take this seriously with some of their favourite foods being duck liver pate, Brazilian BBQ’d chicken hearts, braised pigs trotters, roasted bone marrow and blood pudding.

Since appearing on My Kitchen Rules, the sisters have thrown themselves into a food career with a blog (www.sammyandbella.com) and personal chef business. The girls launched their business spectacularly with a hit dinner party at Larry Emdur’s house, feeding 10 celebrities including Tom Williams, George Hourvadas and of course Pete Evans and Manu Feildel who judged their food 11/10.

The girls plan on expanding their food careers by hosting cooking classes and team building, writing a cook book and presenting a food/travel TV series.

Tasting Australia Local Hero 2014 - Shane Delia Shane Delia

Shane Delia is regarded as one of Melbourne’s most innovative chefs and restaurateurs. He is recognized for his fresh Mediterranean approach to Middle Eastern cuisine. At the age of 21, Shane was appointed sous chef of Eleanore’s at Chateau Yering in the Yarra Valley. He was promoted to Executive Chef in 2003. In 2008, he opened his first restaurant, Maha Bar and Grill. The restaurant has since received chef’s hats in the 2009, 2010 and 2011 editions of ‘The Age Good Food Guide’, and won the Restaurant and Catering Association of Victoria award for the Best New Restaurant in 2008. Shane is the star of his own SBS TV series, “Spice Journey” and the author of a popular cookbook “Maha Middle Eastern Home Cooking”. He has also contributed to culinary magazines, such as Gourmet Traveller and is a charity ambassador for OzChild.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Skye Gyngell Skye Gyngell

Skye Gyngell is an acclaimed chef, author, contributor and food editor. Above all, she is passionate crusader of local and seasonal produce. Skye was Australian born and began her career working in some of Sydney’s culinary institutions.  She left Australia for Paris to complete formal training under Anne Willan at La Varenne, before moving on to Dodin-Bouffant. From there she migrated to London, to flex her culinary muscles at The French House and The Dorchester. In 2004, Skye became head chef for the inaugural launch of Petersham Nurseries Café. It was in Petersham Nurseries Café that Skye was able to embrace the origin of produce. The restaurant’s relatively short menu changed weekly and was inspired by the seasonal ingredients growing in the nursery. The Petersham Nurseries Café was awarded a Michelin Star in 2011. The following year Skye left to work on a collaboration with Heckfield Place and was named Culinary Director of their three restaurants. Skye has also written the acclaimed cookbook “A Year In My Kitchen” and contributed to publications, such as The Independent on Sunday and Vogue as a food editor.

Tasting Australia Special Guest 2014 - Stephanie Alexander Stephanie Alexander

Culinary icon, Stephanie Alexander, originally studied to be a librarian and spent her early twenties traveling the world. It was through travel that her love of food blossomed. Stephanie opened her first restaurant, Jamaican House, in 1964. Her next venture was Stephanie’s Restaurant which opened in Fitzroy in 1976 and moved to Hawthorn in 1980. Stephanie’s Restaurant operated for 21 years before closing in 1997. Stephanie has gone on to publish thirteen cookbooks. The most iconic being ‘The Cook’s Companion’, her A – Z kitchen bible. In 2004, Stephanie launched the non-for-profit Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. The primary aim of the foundation is to introduce a structured food education program into selected Australian primary schools. The program teaches students to grow, harvest, prepare and share fresh produce. Tasting Australia is thrilled to have been able to collaborate with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, to incorporate elements of the program into the 2014 event. 

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