Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - RECIPE -

AS quar­ter- life crises go, run­ning away to Paris is a pretty chic op­tion.

For tele­vi­sion’s new­est cooking queen, Rachel Khoo it was the fi rst step on her way to build­ing a food em­pire which now in­cludes three cook­books, trans­lated into 14 lan­guages, and a se­ries of gourmet travel shows drawing le­gions of fans around the world. A child­hood fond­ness for bak­ing, fos­tered by her Aus­trian grand­mother who fed her fam­ily on ap­ple strudels, turned into Khoo’s ticket to fame.

But the 34- year- old doesn’t mind ad­mit­ting it took some “ma­jor hus­tling” to turn her TV and pub­lish­ing dreams into a lu­cra­tive ca­reer.

She ad­mits she started by fl irt­ing her way through Le Cor­don Bleu cooking school in Paris, and con­tin­ued four years later when she sent a pack­age of choco­late bis­cuits to ex­ec­u­tives at BBC Bris­tol, tempt­ing them with her cooking tal­ents while im­press­ing with her chutzpah.

Trav­el­ling to Syd­ney and Mel­bourne two years ago, she showed the same ini­tia­tive – stag­ing pop- up restau­rants which mar­ried her pas­sion for cooking with lo­cal ta­pes­try and de­sign fes­ti­vals staged at the time.

“It came down to hard work, knock­ing on doors and try­ing to make things hap­pen,” Khoo says.

Her trav­el­ling and habit of col­lect­ing menus, food pho­tos and even nap­kins in­spired Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Note­book: Cos­mopoli­tan Cook, a 10- part se­ries ex­plor­ing cui­sine cap­i­tals in­clud­ing Barcelona, Nice, Stock­holm and Istanbul.

“It’s al­ways about dis­cov­er­ing some­thing new about your sur­round­ings, and then tak­ing that in­spi­ra­tion and mak­ing some­thing de­li­cious,” Khoo says.

“As a viewer, you should be able to see where I fi nd my in­spi­ra­tion and how I con­tained that in a recipe.”

Her lat­est stop is an­other se­ries for SBS fi lm­ing now in Mel­bourne – a favourite food des­ti­na­tion for the Lon­doner – which will air later this year.

“The last time I came here I was just as­tounded by the va­ri­ety. There’s so much Mel­bourne has to off er.”

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