Israeli-born chef Michael Rantissi and his partner and 'balaboosta' Aussie girl Kristy Frawley have drilled down to what we all love about the ingredients and flavours of the Middle East - grains and greens, generosity, pungency, sweetness, sharing. This is food that brings everyone to the table, and won't let them leave. Michael puts ingredients first and foremost, opening the door to our greater understanding and appreciation of the Middle East's hidden treasures --- tahini, baharat, halva, chickpeas, labneh, eggplant, honey, pomegranate, amba, dates, broad beans, pistachios, wild greens, ancient grains. The recipes go from basics like hummus, aioli and falafel, to Persian eggplant risotto, Cauliflower, cranberry and pearl barley salad, Harissa-braised lamb with okra. To finish, are the pastries, breads and syrup-laden cakes that turn a meal into a feast - Chocolate and pistachio baklava, Date and dukkah brownies, Persian pavlova. Living in multicultural Sydney, he says, has helped him lighten and brighten traditional recipes, without ever losing sight of their origins and traditions.' If my mother knew I was serving falafel for breakfast - and people were loving it - she would be amazed,' he says. A much-lauded home cook, Kristy adds those all-important pastries, breads and syrup-laden cakes that turn a meal into a feast, any time of the day or night.
Chef and owner Michael Rantissi grew up in Tel Aviv, watching his mum cook and feasting on the multicultural offerings of his neighbourhood. He did his professional training in Israel at Tadmor College and then studied at the EPI Academy in Paris, then the CIA (Culinary Institute of America) in New York. In 2005 he arrived in Australia where he joined the fine dining restaurant kitchen at The Bathers' Pavilion as Sous Chef. After 3 years at Bathers' he moved to Pink Salt, Double Bay then to down to The Rocks and Circular Quay to work with the 100 Group. Kristy Frawley also had her passion for food ignited in her family kitchen and dining in the restaurants of Sydney. Her skills in hospitality were gained at Le Meridien Piccadilly in London and then at The Regent, Sydney. Since 1999 she has been the office manager at the iconic Bathers' Pavilion and has assisted executive chef and owner Serge Dansereau in all facets of the business, including editing his many cookbooks.