Books and Ideas at Montalto
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If there’s one thing that can rival Stephanie Alexander’s enthusiasm for food and cooking, it’s her delight in good conversation.
In fact, conversation has been front and centre in choosing recipes for her book, The Cook’s Table. ‘I want to be away from the table as little as possible, so I have kept last minute stovetop cooking to a minimum,’ Alexander has said. ‘I don’t want to miss the best stories. I am hungry for the latest news and opinions.’
The Cook’s Table is an especially personal collection of recipes and reflections, with Alexander revisiting memorable meals from her own life and travels in each chapter. There’s plenty there to draw from; over the course of 50 years, Alexander’s career has seen her open several celebrated restaurants as owner-chef, write 14 books including the modern-day cooking bible The Cook’s Companion and launch the pioneering Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, which has seen food education take off in school gardens across Australia.
In conversation with writer and food critic Larissa Dubecki, Alexander talks about her food, foundation and five-decade career.
Books and Ideas at Montalto series sound design and music: Jon Tjhia.
Stephanie Alexander AO is regarded as one of Australia's great food educators. Her reputation has been earned through her thirty years as an owner-chef in several restaurants, as the author of 14 influential books and hundreds of articles about food matters, and for her groundbreaking work in creating the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation.
In 2014 Stephanie became an Officer of the Order of Australia in recognition of her work with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation. Her strong belief is that the earlier children learn about food through example and pleasurable hands-on experience, the better their food choices will be throughout life. Her new book, The Cook’s Table, is released October 2016.
Larissa Dubecki is a writer and restaurant critic who began as a news reporter at the Age in 2000 before realising life would be cheaper and more rewarding if she was paid to eat in restaurants.
From 2009 to 2014 she was the Good Food Guide’s chief critic; currently she reviews restaurants for Time Out and contributes to Australian Gourmet Traveller and the Guardian, among others. A cultural refugee from Heidelberg, in Melbourne’s north-east, she completed a combined arts/law degree from the University of Melbourne, but still has no idea what the Torrens Land System involves.