Australia's own Spice Girl, Christine Manfield, is known for her love of fragrance and bold flavours, and for her technically challenging, architectural desserts. Universal in Sydney's Darlinghurst is her fourth successful restaurant venture in Australia and she ran the acclaimed East@West in London's Covent Garden from 2003 to 2005. She travels regularly, seeking inspiration as well as conducting spice tours with small groups. She has developed a range of spice pastes and written seven cookbooks. She shares her apartment in harbourside Elizabeth Bay with her partner, Margie Harris, a personal trainer.
Last dinner at home We had grilled snapper, spiced beetroot and coconut salad. That's pretty typical of what we eat at home - a bit of protein, salad. I'm not carb-phobic but I never eat carbs at night. If we have people over, which we do fairly regularly on the weekend, the food is served family style, never plated up in the kitchen. Secret vice Salted butter caramels from La Maison d'Armorine but I rarely eat them. Food discovery Cedar Street haloumi from Maleny in Queensland. We get it direct from the farm; it's a very small production. It's handmade with buffalo milk and it has the most perfect silky texture and creamy taste.
Most memorable meal
I went to Michel Bras in Laguiole in France last year. The attention to detail is extraordinary - it's considered, unpretentious and ever so stylish. It's also a fabulous place to stay. We had an all-day lunch, which was a vegetable-based degustation. He has been foraging for 25 years, so he put that trend on the map.
Marco Polo Vert or Kusmi Vert Bouquet are my favourite green teas. I don't do coffee any more; naturopath's advice, it was too acidic. But I still stand by the coffee machine and inhale. Saturday night tipple Negroni is my perennial favourite, before or after dinner, I've always loved them. Aperol Spritz in the summer is the perfect thirst quencher. Having said that, I'm on a bit of a gin junket at the moment and really like Nolet's, which I discovered a couple of years ago in the States. We're expanding the range of handmade boutique gins at work. Vintage champagne is perfect for a celebration. My attitude to alcohol is if it's not fabulous, don't waste your time. It's got to be totally worth it or I'd have water.
Books, books and more books. Nothing beats the tactility of a book and flicking through pages.
My pantry We're pretty healthy but if we have chocolate at home, it's generally Valrhona. My partner Margie likes milk chocolate, so there's Jivara and Caramelia, and I like dark, which is the Manjari one. I've tried a lot of mueslis but my favourite is Sonoma Honey Spice. Nolans Road olive oil is fruity and robust. And I have all my spice pastes. My fridge There's lots of vegetables and fruit for making juice every morning - beetroot, celery, kale, carrot, green apple and kiwifruit. There are also mangoes, peaches and blueberries for snacks and yoghurt.
My tool kit
Glassware is Riedel O series stemless. I have a SodaStream for making sparkling water, a KitchenAid mixer and a Le Creuset braising pot. Favourite I can't live without my juicer and my Japanese knives.