For the uninitiated, Cooking the Books is your quintessential guide to the ins-and-outs of the food industry. On the podcast Robbie Bell, Chef and Owner of City Larder, takes you behind the curtain and gives you the opportunity to meet the people that make the industry run - from butchers and chefs to sommeliers, cheese mongers, brewers, and anyone in between.
Among the highlights are these 10 must-listen episodes, which delve deep into the heart of what makes the wheels of the Australian food industry turn
In this wide-ranging chat from Episode 40, Robbie sat down with one of this generation's great chef minds: Ben Shewry. With three hats in the Good Food Guide and named the 20th Best Restaurant in the world in the 2018 The World's Best 50 Restaurant list by San Pellegrino, there is no doubt that Attica is one of the best restaurants in Australia right now. But just as impressive as the accolades are his views on current social issues and his unwavering dedication to sustainability throughout his restaurant. From fish to chocolate, staff to suppliers, he is playing the long game. A true crusader.
Episode 17's chat with Chef Matt Wilkinson really breaks it down and goes through the ups and downs of his career in food and shares some great advice he has picked up on the way. He also brings up some great points for discussion, like what do chefs do after 45 years old?
In Episode 50 of the podcast Robbie spoke to one of the most talked-about chefs in town, Adam D’Sylva. As Chef-Owner of Coda and Tonka in Melbourne, D’Sylva has also branched out with many other business ventures including a crockery range and cutlery range, as well as brand ambassador roles for Luv-a-Duck, Racing Victoria and Lavazza among several others.
Robbie sat down with Peter Gunn from Ides Restaurant in their eye-opening Episode 42 chat. Robbie and Pete met eight years ago when they both ran pop-up restaurants in Melbourne. Since then, Gunn impressively managed to turn his pop-up into a fixed location, and his idea for Ides has gone from strength to strength. Pete talks about his modern approach to running his restaurant, as well as telling his story and providing some enlightening thoughts on the state of the industry.
In Episode 33, Robbie spoke to Alice Zaslavsky about 'Phenomenom'; her new program designed for teachers which aims to introduce vegetables to kids in the classroom through a series of fun, short videos. Being a former schoolteacher, Zaslavsky believes that introducing kids to vegetables at an early age will help them consume more as they grow up.
They also discuss her book, Alice's Food A-Z, her segment on ABC News Breakfast, and her appearance as a contestant on Masterchef Australia.
In Episode 12, Robbie caught up with an old friend in Hugh Allen who, at the time of recording, was working at the world-famous Noma in Copenhagen. They first met when Allen was 15 and doing his apprenticeship at Rockpool Bar & Grill, with Hugh then going on to work at Vue de Monde, Noma Sydney, and Noma Mexico. Their chat provides a real insight into what it's like to work in one of the most forward-thinking restaurants in the world.
Episode 10 of Cooking the Books was a family affair, with Robbie sitting down with City Larder co-owner, Rebecca Bell. She breaks down how to get a food product on the market, as well as talking about her early pursuit to become a sommelier and being the first Front of House stagière at The Fat Duck Restaurant. This episode is full of tips for those that are thinking about starting a wholesale food business or pursuing a wine career and are not sure how to go about it.
In Episode 11 Robbie spoke with with one of Australia's finest cheesemongers, Olivia Sutton from Harper and Blohm. She gives us the low-down on everything cheese related, from what it is and how it came about, to which cheeses are a must-try and some tips when purchasing from speciality cheese shops.
In what was just the second Episode of Cooking the Books, Sanderson talks about working in some of Europe's top kitchens and breaks them down to explain how they operate so differently. He also talks about moving out of the city down to Mornington, where he is starting to build some great relationships with some outstanding suppliers.
10. Michael James (Co-Owner and Head Baker, Tivoli Road Bakery) and Pippa James (Co-Owner, Tivoli Road Bakery)
In Episode eight, Robbie sat down with the brains behind the Tivoli Road Bakery, Michael and Pippa James. Michael is thought of as one of the greatest bakers of his generation, and here he speaks about how he got started in baking, how it's all about the quality of the products you buy, and the effect that factory farming is having on our health.