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My first ‘real’ job, fresh out of uni in the early ’90’s, was working for a teeny little publicity firm on William Street in Sydney. It was far less glamorous than it sounds (and paid a pittance), and involved a daily schlepp to the Kings Cross post office, large bag of mail in hand. Each return trip, there was one little ritual I would never miss…I would peer into the windows of Paramount restaurant in Potts Point, and fantasise over the menu. It was my dream to one day eat there.
That dream never came to fruition, as I moved cities before I made enough money to eat at fine diners, but I did buy Chef Christine Manfield’s excellent Paramount Cooking cookbook, which became a kitchen essential, and – 10 years after I first peered through those windows – experienced her exquisite cuisine at Universal in Darlinghurst.
The doors of Manfield’s restaurants are now shut, so opportunities to taste her food are few and far between. Canberra welcomed her last December, when she took over the kitchen of Braddon’s eightysix to whip up some spectacular desserts. Come July, she’ll be back, armed with a menu of her contemporary Asian favourites.
“It’s always been on the cards to come back after success of Dessert Divas,” says Manfield. “It will be great to again work with a team I respect and admire, and I look forward to recreating some of the Universal magic in eightysix’s busy busy space.”
What’s on the cards? Manfield says to expect her “signature, diverse, bold, inventive, dynamic flavours and some fabulous desserts.”
And keeping very much in line with the food philosophy of eightysix’s Gus Armstrong, she says that the “most important thing is maintaining the integrity of the dish – it should be simple, packed with flavour, and leave a lasting impression.”
Manfield discovered her love of cooking through travel, remarking that we learn about culture through food. These days, she leads culinary tours everywhere from Tasmania to India, and in October will release A Personal Guide to India and Bhutan, a book that she says “captures the essence” of these countries, from the best places to sleep and stay, to where and what to eat.
It’s her Oriental travels that will influence what she serves up to Canberrans next month, with 15 or so dishes showing a strong leaning towards Asian flavours and techniques – but with a unique Manfield twist.
“I find Canberra a great audience – the dining scene has come ahead in leaps and bounds, and the success of the last pop up showed there was a place in the market for this type of event.”
eightysix’s pop up chef events are extremely popular and book out fast. This is a rare chance to try some of Christine’s world famous cuisine.
What: eightysix pop up chef event – Christine Manfield
When: Reservations are available for Lunch: Thursday 2, Friday 3 and Saturday 4 July, and Dinner: Wednesday 1, Thursday 2, Friday 3 and Saturday 4 July
Call: 02 6161 8686