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Favourite Childhood Recipes from Top Chefs

A new cookbook is bringing together 51 of Australia's most prominent chefs in support of a fantastic charity. LifeStyle FOOD brings you a sneak peek.

Hands Across the Kitchen is a beautiful book featuring childhood memories and photos from 51 of our top chefs along with a recipe that represents these memories. All proceeds go to the charity Hands Across the Water that supports children in Thailand who were orphaned by the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.

Find out more from the founder of Hands Across the Water, Peter Baines

Q: Why is Hands Across The Kitchen a fantastic publication?

A: The book brings together not only the culinary skills of 51 of this countries leading chefs but it engages their hearts in the process. It provides food for the table and food for your soul. The gorgeous photos and stories of the kids gives the book reason to be read, beyond the stunning recipes.

Q: What the inspiration was for Hands Across The Kitchen?

A: Food transcends every culture and so often it is used in times of celebration. We see the book as a celebration of the life we have been able to provide the children that we support and allows people preparing recipes from the book the opportunity to reflect on the lives of others they might not have otherwise met.

Q: What will the sales of Hands Across The Kitchen mean for Hands Across The Water and the children?

A: The sale of the book allows us to provide food and life saving medication for those kids we support. Equally it gives us a chance to enter kitchens of those who purchase the book and they too become part of the journey in improving the lives of others.

ADRIANO ZUMBO - Patissier, Sydney

Adriano's special childhood recipe is Blackcurrant Lollies (click through for recipe).

"My fondest memories are of growing up in a small country town in central west NSW in my parent’s supermarket. My parents migrated here in the sixties, so my memories of my family childhood food are of classic Italian food – crumbed chicken, pasta, lasagne, and the smell of minestrone or plopette in tomato sauce.

My biggest childhood love came from deep in aisle 4 where shelves were clad with lollies and sweets. It was like a junk food addiction crossed
with the fact that I had to sneak all the sweets into my bag. It was a thrill. You just never knew when Mum or Dad would come out of the
office and bust you. I packed a mixture of 3-5 250g packets of lollies a day plus 2-3 chocolate bars for the morning. After school I stopped past the shop and would usually grab a few more packets.

My menu for the afternoon would consist of a selection of shapes, lamingtons, ginger kisses, potato chips and iced vo vo’s – very healthy. The smell and taste of sweet sugar, all the artificial flavours, the colour, hard and chewy textures, soft rubbery jelly like lollies, the fizzy and sour. I lived for sweets and candy. All this had a big effect on my mums cooking as I ate too much sugar during the day. I would not eat my savoury food and was very fussy."

PETER GILMORE - Executive Chef at Quay, Sydney

Peter's special childhood recipe is Dawn's Pavlova (click through for recipe).

"Earliest memories may be not quite as early as this photo but I do remember always wanting to lick the pavlova beaters. I enjoyed the beaters as much as I did the pavlova.

Good food, cooking and entertaining was always central in my family growing up".

JANELLE BLOOM - Celebrity Chef, Sydney

Janelle's special childhood recipe is Veal Scallopine with Crispy Crumb Potatoes (click through for recipe).

"I was raised in the most loving, food-filled environment, so it’s no surprise food is my passion.

Our family home was a revolving door where friends were and still are always welcome. My mum cooked dinner every night of the week for my dad, two sisters, me and any add-ons. Mum packed our school lunches which always included yummy baked treats and, yes, she did work outside the home as well – I now wonder how she did it all.

The kitchen was and still is the hub of our family home. It was never off limits – we are always encouraged to help out.

Food in our family is about sharing; sharing time together while cooking and creating, sharing memories and conversation around a table of delicious home cooked food. When I close my eyes and think back to my childhood, my memories are crystal clear; I can smell the lingering aroma of lamb roasting, schnitzel frying, cakes, biscuits and pastries baking and dumplings simmering.

My mum and nan passed on the greatest gift of all – the knowledge that cooking for family and friends is the best way to show them how much they are loved. Having a Hungarian background, this was a regular mid-week meal growing up. I still ask Mum to make it when I go home for dinner.

These potatoes are amazing – the longer they are left in the pan the crispier they become".

The RRP for the Hands Across the Kitchen cookbook is $32.95 and is available to purchase online at the HATW online shop


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