Inside pastry chef Anna Polyviou's kitchen

Anna Polyviou in her kitchen at home.
Anna Polyviou in her kitchen at home. Photo: Cole Bennetts

Dubbed the punk princess of pastry, this self-confessed troublemaker is one of many successful Sofitel Melbourne alumni including George Calombaris, Gary Mehigan and Shane Delia. One day she was asked to fill in on pastry, and with that, she found her calling. She went on to work at London's Claridge's hotel and later with Pierre Hermé. Many accolades and awards later she's now executive pastry chef at Sydney's Shangri-La Hotel.

The Staples

My pantry I like brown rice because it's healthy and the Sunrice microwave one is quick to cook. I've just started getting chilli oil from Fratelli Fresh and, oh my God, I'm not going to be able to live without that now. I drizzle it on everything as a finishing touch. If I'm doing a stir-fry I serve some kimchi on the side. I love Asian cuisines. We usually have Always Fresh Mediterranean Deli antipasto handy for when I get back late from work to have with soy linseed bread. I buy Vegemite by the bucket for toast; a small jar's just never enough.

Meredity Dairy goats cheese.

Meredity Dairy goat's cheese. Photo: Cole Bennetts

My fridge

My mum makes great haloumi which I serve with antipasto, and our eggs are from a friend's farm. I make egg-white omelettes because I can't stand the taste of egg yolk unless it's in baking or desserts. Meredith Dairy goat's cheese is my favourite and I always stock up on Pepe Saya's products, especially his butter. I'm quite spoilt because I have friends who catch lobsters and give them to me so I have a couple in the freezer at the moment.

I'm cooking

Last dinner at home

I made zucchini pasta with a spiralizer and tossed it with broccolini, asparagus, chilli and Meredith goat's cheese, and served it with pan-fried salmon. It takes less than 10 minutes to cook.

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Lego Man head lolly jar.

Lego Man head lolly jar. Photo: Cole Bennetts

Secret vice

Lollies, especially Chico babies. There are rules: you eat the head first, then the feet, then the stomach. My flat mates and I usually get into the lollies after dinner and it's like our bonding session.

I'm drinking

I have a Nespresso as a latte and just pick a flavour at random each day, even though the caramel one's my favourite. I have it late at night and fall straight to sleep. I drink Don Julio and Dulce Vida organic tequila because I feel OK on it. I just have shots. The expensive stuff is quite smooth.

Saturday night tipple

If I have five or more people over I get a bartender in; they go to my pantry and freezer, grab whatever they want and make cocktails.

Graffiti cocktail shaker and coffee cup.

Graffiti cocktail shaker and coffee cup. Photo: Cole Bennetts

My toolkit

I love the Kenwood mixer. I use it for lots of things but especially my souffles. I love the attachment for folding ingredients together. My Global knives I use constantly and I do love my Nutribullet for smoothies and pureeing frozen fruit for ice creams. The Graffiti cocktail shaker's always in use and my coffee mug I'm very protective of.

Inspiration

Music, always. It gets me excited and I get lost in it. That can slow my cooking down a bit but it's always on.

Kitchen highlight

There's enough room here to dance around while I'm cooking. If anything, a bit more bench space would be nice but I'm very grateful for everything I have.

Mango jelly balls.

Mango jelly balls. Photo: Cole Bennetts

Discovery

These mango jelly popping pearls are great in desserts and cocktails.

Most memorable meal

It was at the Mandarin Oriental and I discovered a new way of eating foie gras. They served it as a mousseline in a shot glass and on the side was a pineapple tarte tatin topped with seared foie gras. But generally I don't get super excited about fine dining.