New podcast – Christine Manfield, Tasting India, Universal

By Lee Tran Lam. First published in The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry, 3rd November 2018.

$10,099 – that’s how much someone is asking for their copy of Christine Manfield’s Tasting India cookbook on Amazon. Sure, India Today called it the book to give native newlywed couples once they head overseas, so it’s a prized publication – but luckily, the new updated version of the award-winning book is much more budget-friendly (and includes new chapters on Hyderabad, Punjab and Gujarat, too).

While Christine Manfield is known as the acclaimed chef behind restaurants such as Paramount, East@West and Universal, we spend a lot of this podcast talking about her travels to India – a country that she’s constantly visited for more than two decades. She has vivid stories of spice markets (and mountains that are literally fragrant with thriving cardamom) as well as the home cooks she’s met – their dishes are documented in her cookbook. Plus, we cover the regional (and religious) differences that shape the food on the plate. And what you have for an Indian breakfast (it is way better than toast and cereal).

It was also great to talk to Christine about gender representation in the industry (when she was a judge in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef competition last year, the Herald quoted her saying: “Where the f— are the women?”). And I loved hearing about how Christine is still recognised on the streets of India because her Gaytime Goes Nuts dessert appeared in the finale of Masterchef Australia in 2012. (The dish is not only delicious, it’s also a statement in support of the gay community, too.)

You have a rare chance to eat Christine’s food again because she’s running Tasting India dinners across Australia in November, at much-loved restaurants such as The Agrarian Kitchen outside Hobart, Anchovy in Melbourne and Lankan Filling Station in Sydney. For details, visit Christine Manfield’s website.

You can listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts or download it via RSS or directly. You can also find it on Stitcher and Google Podcasts nowadays. And high-fives to everyone who has left a nice review in Apple Podcasts or even told me upfront that they like the podcast. It’s hugely, hugely appreciated (particularly when I’m trying to finish editing a podcast at 5am)!