This story first appeared on former NRMA travel site Living Well Navigator on January 20, 2015. Image courtesy of Smudge Publishing.
Sydney’s dining scene is booming. It seems every week a new cafe, restaurant or bar opens up in a different corner of the city. And now there’s a new book to help you keep up with Sydney’s greatest culinary offerings.
Flavours of Sydney by Jonette George of Smudge Publishing, a culinary travel publishing house that she established with her daughters Daniele and Kaitlyn, is a book that brings together many of the city’s best restaurants and bars, along with recipes of their chef’s signature dishes.
George spoke to us about the Flavours of Sydney and shared what makes the city’s dining scene so special.
Can you tell us a little about Flavours of Sydney?
Flavours of Sydney (RRP $69.99) is a treasure box of my favourite restaurants in and around Sydney’s CBD. We have covered the stories behind the scenes about the chef, the food, the venue and the owner to give you a glimpse of the passion required to make each venue shine. Each story is beautifully backed up with stunning photography to illustrate the tale of Sydney and its cuisine. And each restaurant has generously provided their signature recipe so that, no matter where you live, you can taste and experience the flavours that are quintessentially Sydney.
How would you describe Sydney’s food and wine scene?
Sydney has a very sophisticated approach to its food culture with cuisines represented from all over the globe. Chefs are under pressure to provide inspiring, flavoursome and distinctive menus and they are meeting that challenge. How they continue to create new and exciting dishes is beyond me – but continue they do to source, concoct, blend, and fuse, providing us with food befitting of the world stage.
What do you think makes the city unique?
Sydney is sitting in the midst of one of the world’s greatest food bowls with a never-ending array of the most amazing ingredients from the north, south, east and west. There isn’t much these chefs can’t get their hands on – and they are allowing all ingredients to shine on their plates.
Any favourite Sydney restaurants or bars that are featured in the book?
I couldn’t even start to narrow down my favourite Sydney restaurants and bars. They are all unique in their food offerings, decor, outlook and service. And that is the beauty of Sydney – you could dine out every night of the week and never be let down!
What’s your idea of the perfect meal?
The perfect meal is an expression of the cook’s love, where he shows that he cares enough to go that extra mile to make my meal special. The perfect meal shines on my plate with the passion that has gone into making it.
Do you prefer dining out to eating in, or both?
I love to eat out and have someone cook for me, but I also love trying to emulate these exciting meals at home for my friends and family. That’s why I love to be able to replicate the restaurants’ recipes at home with directions straight from the chef’s mouth.
What sort of recipes are included in the book?
The recipes are from the menus of the best restaurants, made simple for the home cook. We have a collection of dishes from entrées to dinners and desserts, with each recipe as individual as the varied restaurants they represent. Collectively, we have tried to provide a book that gives you a glimpse of the flavours to be found in inner city Sydney.
Have you had a go at cooking many of the recipes yourself? Any favourites?
Oh yes – we have tried all the recipes and had so much fun doing so. We have played with everything from kangaroo, lamb and duck, to kingfish, salmon, sardines, bugs and scallops. Sydney chefs have generously shown so many ways of utilising Australia’s best produce to place on our platters.
Do you think there are any types of cuisine that are growing in popularity in Sydney?
The beauty of Sydney is the mix of cultural influences that are being offered as single origin cuisine as well as mixed blends. The young chefs of this city have taken the liberty of turning traditional cuisine on its head and looking at each ingredient with fresh eyes. It is exciting, progressive and, above all, full of flavour.
Flavours of Urban Sydney is the sister book to Flavours of Sydney. Can you tell us a little about that and how it differs?
Flavours of Urban Sydney (RRP $69.99) came about because we couldn’t fit all our favourite restaurants into one book! We divided Sydney into inner city and suburban and two books were born. The urban book is full of secret gems alongside iconic venues that couldn’t be left out. It is full of photos, stories, recipes and flavour and is as stunning as its big sister.
Flavours of Sydney and Flavours of Urban Sydney are both available online from Smudge Publishing.