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Christine Manfield joins forces with Canberra chefs

Molly McLaughlin

Christine Manfield is the chef responsible for bringing spice into many Australian pantries, with iconic cookbooks like Tasting India and Fire & Spice.

An adventurous and curious cook, she has opened her own award-winning restaurants and worked alongside respected chefs around the world, drawing inspiration from far-flung places including India, Spain, Morocco, Tunisia, Bhutan and France.

Christine also prioritises supporting other women in her industry through her role as a mentor at Women in Hospitality, a not-for-profit organisation which promotes female chefs and other hospitality workers and provides access to education and mentorship initiatives.

On Thursday 22 March as part of Good Food Month, Christine will join Janet Jeffs, Director and Executive Chef of Ginger Catering, and a team of Canberra’s best female chefs for a unique dining experience at the National Arboretum.

As well as an opportunity to taste extraordinary local food and wines, the dinner will be a celebration of the often-underappreciated contributions of women to the restaurant industry, with all proceeds going to Women In Hospitality.

Christine Manfield

As Christine explains, “Gender equity is a key issue for our industry and it’s vital to encourage and nurture in a positive manner rather than laying blame or point the finger. It’s essential to establish a social community for women in the food and wine industry to engage, connect, collaborate and shine. We all deserve to flourish and need our voices to be heard so that we are not invisible.”

Christine is well-acquainted with Canberra, as she has worked with the team at Braddon powerhouse eightysix to create pop up events over the past four years.

“I love coming to Canberra to cook. Like any city, Canberra has a vibrant restaurant and bar culture but it has come into its own over the last few years in particular, in response to the demands of its dining public and attracting foodie visitors to the city.”

Over her career, Christine has learned many lessons that she is able to share with the next generation of female cooking superstars through the Women In Hospitality mentorship program.

“I have always adopted an attitude of being courageous, being respectful, looking outwards to broaden my horizons, making brave choices, knowing my competition and being prepared to stand tall alongside them. Of course, I’m also always hungry for something new.” By sharing her expertise and experience, she hopes to strengthen the industry as a whole.

Janet Jeffs. Image: Tim Bean Photography.

At the Good Food Month dinner, she will be joined in the kitchen by Danielle Brito from Winning, Laura Dale from AKIBA, Marie Koenig and Megan Comfort from Ginger Catering and Leeanne Grey from Silo Bakery. The matched wines have also been selected by women, Sarah Collingwood from Four Winds and Celine Rousseau at Eden Road Wines.

“Dinner guests can expect a fun night with great flavours, produce and wines plus the opportunity to experience the collective talents of a line up of industry professionals who just happen to be women,” Christine says. “Cooking is an act of love and sharing in its preparation with like-minded people and then sharing at the table is one of life’s great joys.”

the essentials 

What: Christine Manfield Spices Up Ginger
When: Thursday 22 March from 6.30 pm
Where: The National Arboretum
Tickets: $170 per person including beverages via Good Food Month or call Ginger Catering on 6273 4366


Molly McLaughlin

Molly McLaughlin was less than thrilled to move to Canberra a couple of years ago to study Arts and Economics at ANU, but she can confirm the city has grown on her since then. Along with writing for HerCanberra, she spends her time reading, eating noodles and planning her next adventure. More about the Author

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