We speak with Manu about all things French, this Bastille Day (July 14).
A self-proclaimed entertainer at heart, Manu’s sexy French accent is now famous in Australia due to his natural propensity for showmansip. Given the opportunity to spin off his culinary talent, Manu co-hosts Channel 7’s My Kitchen Rules (MKR) among other cookery programs. He's now an established cookbook author as well and we had a chance to interview him about life, Bastille Day and his latest TV as well as a new cookbook!
AGFG: What were some of the most enjoyable aspects of the last season of MKR?
Manu: Finding people who have a real passion in food creation.
AGFG: Filming for the next season of MKR is about to begin – is there anything you hope to see, taste and experience?
Manu: Good simple food, I am always saying it but it’s better to cook good simple dishes rather than complicate things and try to be too fancy. Keep it simple and do it well. I’m always interested in the different cultures and cuisines we may get to see on the show too.
AGFG: Loyal fans wait in anticipation of your new TV show due to air around Sept/Oct. What can you tell us about it? Can you also give us a hint at what will feature in your new cookbook?
Manu: Well… it contains two of my favourite things: food and travel. It’s been a long held dream of mine to replicate an old journey through many countries. It will be on 7Two after the Olympics, so watch out for it!
My new book is a collaboration with my fiancée Clarissa and contains family recipes, both from our families’ history and ones we cook at home every week as a family. It’s nice to be able to offer something different than just a French cookbook and branch into other cuisines that I (and my family) love to cook and eat.
AGFG: How do you celebrate Bastille Day at home and what are your family’s favourite French dishes?
Manu: Living in Australia now, I actually celebrate Australia Day more than Bastille Day! When I had my restaurant we used to prepare a special meal and dress up. This year though, I will be in France for Bastille Day for the first time in a long time so I’m looking forward to the traditional family celebrations.
AGFG: Some may see French cuisine as complicated, but what dish do you think our readers should try and make, at least once?
Manu: When I wrote my first cookbook, Manu’s French Kitchen, I really wanted to prove this to people. French food doesn’t have to be complicated, we have wonderful stews that are really one-pot-wonders, so you can’t get simpler than that! One of my favourite dishes, the one I can’t make better than my mum is the Tarte Tatin. It’s a great sweet dish and really quick to make, you can even make it ahead of your guests arriving and just heat to serve. Here’s the recipe.
AGFG: After the closing of your restaurant, Le Grand Cirque, are there any future endeavours to open another?
Manu: Not at the moment, to be honest, I feel a little burned by the industry and I’m not ready to re-enter the environment just yet. I have lots of ideas and plans for the future, but for now, I’m enjoying being able to be home every night with my family rather than in a hot kitchen!
AGFG: Where do you enjoy dining out most?
Manu: One of my favourite restaurants in Sydney is Sepia, but I’m just as happy at a small dumpling place in Chinatown! I love to try the ‘new kid on the block’ as such, but at the moment with so many openings and closures of great restaurants, it’s difficult to keep up.
Found out more about what Manu’s up to via his website.