author of The Cook’s Companion
Six Sharp Questions
1. Congratulations, you have a new book. What is it about and what does it mean to you?
Not a new book at all but a thorough revision of my classic and very successful The Cook’s Companion.
2. Times pass. Things change. What are the best and worst moments that you have experienced in the past year or so?
I have moved house which went from being the worst possible experience to go through to the best decision I have made. I also embraced digital technology and worked with a great team to convert the full text of The Cook’s Companion to a marvellous app.
3. Do you have a favourite quote or passage you would be happy to share with us? It doesn’t need to be deep but it would be great if it meant something to you.
My dad said to me! ‘ nothing or nobody is as good or as bad as they first appear’. Interesting observation but not very profound but for some reason it has stuck in my head.
4. Writers have often been described as being difficult to live with. Do you conform to the stereotype or defy it? Please tell us a little about the day to day of your writing life.
Live alone so only have to cope with myself although that is not always easy. I write best early in morning and for long stretches in the weekends.
5. Some writers claim not to be influenced by the needs of the marketplace, while others seem obsessed by it. Would you please describe how the marketplace affects your writing (come on, tell the truth!).
I have been writing about food and produce and the power of the shared table for more than 35 years. Seem to have influenced the marketplace actually as the food media has just gone on expanding as have cookbooks.
6. Unlikely Scenario: You’ve been charged with civilising twenty ill-educated adolescents but you may take only a few books with you. What do you take and why?
The cook’s Companion volume, and also the Cook’s Companion App and get them all cooking.
Stephanie, thank you for playing.
by Stephanie Alexander
The Cook’s Companion has established itself as the kitchen ‘bible’ in over 500,000 homes since it was first published in 1996.
This 2014 revision includes two major new chapters, two expanded chapters, 70 new recipes and a complete revision of the text to reflect changes in the marketplace and new regulations. Stephanie believes that good food is essential to living well: her book is for everyone, every day. She has invaluable information about ingredients, cooking techniques and kitchen equipment, along with inspiration, advice and encouragement and close to 1000 failsafe recipes.
About the Author
For 21 years from 1976, Stephanie Alexander was the force behind Stephanie’s restaurant in Hawthorn, a landmark establishment credited with having revolutionised fine dining in Melbourne. From 1997 to 2005 Stephanie, along with several friends, ran the Richmond Hill Café and Larder, a neighbourhood restaurant renowned for its specialist cheese retailing. In her recently published memoir, A Cook’s Life, she recounts how her uncompromising dedication to good food has shaped her life and changed the eating habits of a nation.
One of Australia’s most highly acclaimed food authors, Stephanie has written fourteen books, including Stephanie’s Menus for Food Lovers, Stephanie’s Seasons and Stephanie Alexander & Maggie Beer’s Tuscan Cookbook (co-author). Her signature publication, The Cook’s Companion, has established itself as the kitchen bible in over 400 000 homes. With characteristic determination, Stephanie initiated the Kitchen Garden at Collingwood College in order to allow young children to experience the very things that made her own childhood so rich: the growing, harvesting, cooking and sharing of good food.