February, 2018

  • How a chef cooks for those he loves

    13 February, 2018 How a chef cooks for those he loves

    Skipping the crowds in favour of a lovingly prepared meal at home is your best bet for a romantic Valentine’s Day. This is chef Jock Zonfrillo's idea of a nice night in.
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January, 2018

December, 2017

October, 2017

September, 2017

  • Win a pro toastie pack

    18 September, 2017 Win a pro toastie pack

    Indulge in the ultimate comfort food with this kit, including a no-mess Breville press, a copy of Darren Purchese's Chefs Eat Toasties Too and a subscription to Cooked.
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August, 2017

July, 2017

June, 2017

  • Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    08 June, 2017 Winter entertaining with Gill Meller

    Gill Meller is in the country, his first time to Australia, showcasing his beautiful book Gather with a series of dinners and classes. We caught up with him to find out what's on the menu for his Aussie guests.
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May, 2017

April, 2017

February, 2017

January, 2017

December, 2016

October, 2016

September, 2016

August, 2016

July, 2016

June, 2016

May, 2016

April, 2016

March, 2016

February, 2016

January, 2016

December, 2015

November, 2015

  • Christmas basics: the perfect custard

    27 November, 2015 Christmas basics: the perfect custard

    We're looking at those staple recipes that can make or break your Christmas spread. First up, the much-misunderstood sweet seductress, custard.
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  • Halfway Home

    16 November, 2015 Halfway Home

    I’ve been sugar-free for a total of two weeks, and things are going surprisingly well...
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  • The anatomy of the perfect burger

    11 November, 2015 The anatomy of the perfect burger

    Looking for your next weekend challenge? Why not have a crack at making your own cheeseburgers from scratch? Chef Daniel Wilson shares the secret recipe to recreating his famed Huxtaburger, from bun to patty and everything in between.
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  • Bubbles or nothing

    11 November, 2015 Bubbles or nothing

    Out to impress this party season? To take your entertaining game to the next level, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Halliday Wine Companion to share tips on matching sparkling wines to a range of show-stopping canapes.
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  • No Sugar November

    04 November, 2015 No Sugar November

    This month while the boys are growing staches, I’ll be growing a conscience about all the confectionary I consume.
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October, 2015

September, 2015

May, 2015

April, 2015

March, 2015

February, 2015

January, 2015

December, 2014

November, 2014

October, 2014

September, 2014

August, 2014

July, 2014

June, 2014

May, 2014

April, 2014

March, 2014

February, 2014

  • Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    27 February, 2014 Margaret Fulton's expert guide to preserves

    Jams, pickles, chutneys, sauces, compotes and conserves are the best way to preserve abundant produce so you can enjoy your fruit and veg all year round. Margaret Fulton shares her guide to the art of preserving.
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  • Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

    27 February, 2014 Melbourne Food & Wine Festival 2014 | Our picks

    The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival, running from February 28 to March 16, begins in just over a week. We’ve put together our picks of the fest.
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  • Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    24 February, 2014 Philippa Sibley's expert guide to sweet pastry

    Master of the dough Philippa Sibley shares her step-by-step guide to making sweet shortcrust pastry, taking you through everything you need to know to perfect the art of peerless pâte.
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  • In season | Eggplant

    21 February, 2014 In season | Eggplant

    The unsung hero of the nightshade family, eggplant is found in cuisines the world over. From Sicily to South East Asia, the Middle East to the Mediterranean, many signature dishes feature the versatile aubergine. We sing the praises of the humble eggplant.
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  • Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    17 February, 2014 Everything you need to know about cuts of pork

    Meat expert and chef Adrian Richardson explains the different cuts of pork, and what you should use them for.
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  • Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    14 February, 2014 Sticky business | A guide to meat on sticks

    Skewers, kebabs, shaslicks, yakitori … Whatever you call them, meat just tastes better when cooked on a stick. We share our tips to help you ace the skewers at your next barbecue.
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  • In season | Figs

    06 February, 2014 In season | Figs

    Figs evoke the flavours of exotic decadence. Sweet and visually striking, figs make for a decadent tart topper, a sumptuous sticky jam or a delightful savoury venture with cold meats. We share some of our favourite fig recipes.
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  • Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    05 February, 2014 Guide to styling handmade edible gifts

    There's nothing more thoughtful than a handmade edible gift. April Carter shares her tips and tricks for making beautiful and delicious treats for those you love.
    Read more…

January, 2014

December, 2013

November, 2013

Cooking as theatre: Cake Bake and Sweets Show comes to Melbourne

Jane Willson
01 October, 2014

Sydney pastry chef Anna Polyviou is set to introduce her famed “twisted” dessert to a new audience.

Anna Polyviou has a creation she calls twisted (pictured) that she plans to conjure on stage in Melbourne this weekend. Its foundation is a passionfruit posset, to which she adds a little seasonal fruit, vanilla biscuit, an upside down Italian meringue, and some baby coriander.

It’s no stretch to say Anna’s sessions at the Cake Bake and Sweets Show should appeal to the sweet tooth with a fondness for cooking as theatre. Expect a DJ, screens, comics as recipe cards, nitrogen, beachballs going into the audience and prizes (a KitchenAid for best dancer).

“It’s sex in a glass,” Anna says of twisted, which has received rave reviews since she started serving it during dessert degustations at Sydney’s Shangri-La Hotel 18 months ago.

Anna, executive pastry chef at the hotel at The Rocks, says her show is about “entertainment, having some fun and from there creating a dish that you can do at home”. “The hardest thing is the meringue – if you don’t take the sugar to 121 degrees – but otherwise people can do it. I love seeing their reactions.”

Anna has been in the restaurant game for almost 15 years, starting out at The Sofitel in Melbourne with the likes of George Calombaris and Shane Delia. “Back then, it was the best hotel,” she says, “but I was a trouble maker, out partying and not taking it seriously.”

Anna Polyviou

Her path changed when she was thrown into a pastry competition. “I learnt heaps and from there switched from kitchen chef.” Les Toques Blanches named her best apprentice in Victoria in 2003 and she followed up with a scholarship in the UK, spending time at Claridges Hotel in London and, later, Pierre Herme in Paris. Recent gigs include five years as head pastry chef at Sydney’s Bathers’ Pavilion.

What’s the No.1 thing she has learnt? “Stay humble, continue learning and continue challenging yourself. Some people get a bit arrogant.”

The humble thing hasn’t been especially hard for the Greek girl who grew up in Melbourne’s South Oakleigh cooking with her mum “even if I didn’t want to”. The first thing she remembers baking was galaktoboureko – a dessert of semolina custard in filo pastry. “Mum always said, ‘I don’t mind what my daughter does, as long as it’s an honest job’.”

Anna says she met some amazing bakers in the audience at the Sydney equivalent of this weekend’s show in March. “Some really good bakers that probably would kick my arse; they’re amazing.”

What are her tips for the novice – or those who want to take her advice and continue learning?

In no particular order: always use the best ingredients (“you don’t have to spend a lot of money, but be sensible”); read your recipe properly first; follow it!; get your equipment right (test run the oven if its new to you); learn to plate (“no point doing a beautiful dessert and not plating it nice”); and be organised (“cleanliness and workflow is crucial”).

What about butter – salted or unsalted? “Always unsalted – if I want to add it, I’ll add it myself, even when I’m spreading it on bread.”

Favourite ingredients? “Heilala vanilla, Callebaut chocolate”.

Best way to line a cake pan? “Too hard; it’s different for every recipe, from butter and flour, baking spray, oil with your fingers. Or if I’m doing a baked cheesecake, I don’t line it at all.”

Anna's Berry Pop

Hot tip? Never throw out vanilla pods. “For baking, you need to use a vanilla paste, not the pod – that’s for infusing. I dry my pod on top of my oven, and then I blitz it up to a fine powder and toss it through the sugar. Or sometimes I blitz it up and put it through sea salt.”

Anna will appear in the All Star Theatre at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre as part of the Cake Bake and Sweets show on Friday October 3, 3-4pm; and Sunday October 5, 1-2pm.

Joining her at the show are American celebrity chef Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro, Adriano Zumbo, chocolate queen Kirsten Tibballs and Dean Brettschneider.

Other highlights include baking equipment, ingredients and supplies for sale, as well as a sweets marketplace. Tickets $23-$29 (less $5 when purchased online).

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