Food identity Marion Grasby is returning to Adelaide for the Cellar Door Wine Festival, where the MasterChef alumni, cook, food columnist and author will host a series of master classes as well as a long lunch.
Grasby, who worked as an ABC journalist in Adelaide before studying gastronomy, recently moved to Bangkok due to her Marion’s Kitchen range of products. In Thailand, the MasterChef Magazine and Taste columnist can be close to her suppliers as well as travel around Asia for inspiration, ingredients and recipes. “Marion’s Kitchen has become the main focus of what I do now,” Grasby explains about the ingredient kits, which include Thai Green Curry, Pad Thai and San Choy Bow. “I love it because I can travel around Asia looking for cool dishes and flavours, spices and ingredients and turn them into packs that everyone back home in Australia can use everyday. It really made more sense to be in Thailand where my producers and suppliers are based. It means I can be out there and making sure everything is happening the way I want. If I want to design new products I can head out and chat to the guys about it. It was a Marion’s Kitchen-focused move but at the same time, Bangkok’s pretty awesome. The city is famous for its fried chicken. There are street vendors on every corner selling fried chicken. Who doesn’t want to move to a city with fried chicken on every corner? Every time I walk to the office I walk past the grilled pork lady, the papaya salad lady and the fried chicken man – it’s such a delicious city.” The master classes Grasby will host at the Cellar Door Wine Festival are Summer Entertaining, Asian Favourites and the Decadent Valentine’s Day Extravaganza. “The cool thing about the master classes – because this doesn’t happen with every sort of food demo I do – is that you get to come along to taste the food and we run through the cooking of the dishes, so it’s really exciting.” Like her Marion’s Kitchen products, Grasby’s events at the Adelaide Convention Centre based festival will have an Asian influence. “I guess because of the way I cook and my family heritage, and I’m based in Asia now, a lot of my dishes have an Asian flavour. But the cool thing about coming to South Australia is that there’s such amazing South Australian produce – the dishes will have a little Asian flavour but I will definitely use local produce.” Grasby’s new book Asia Express will arrive this May and is based on recipes Grasby collected travelling through Asia. “I’ve been lucky enough to travel to South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam, so it features recipes from all over Asia. I always like to say I collect recipes rather than souvenirs, and when I can I smuggle in bags of peppercorn or spices – that’s not illegal in Thailand, I would never do that in Australia!” she laughs. “I guess they’re recipes I’ve collected on my travels over the last couple of years, which is really fun and also I’ve made them [the recipes] very quick, most of the recipes you can complete in about 30 minutes.” Cellar Door Wine Festival Adelaide Convention Centre Friday, February 14 to Sunday, February 16 cellardoorfestival.com.au