The tripe at Berowra Waters was the first of Janni’s dishes I ever tried and, although at the time I didn’t know who the chef was, the flavour of it stayed with me. Intrigued, I did my research and then followed Janni’s career as much as I could afford to. This was a chef who made food I wanted to eat; full of heavenly aromas, packed with flavour and, while deceptively simple, full of an artistry and style that was totally his own.
Janni Kyritsis is indeed an innovator, not a follower!
Who could forget Janni’s ‘Anchovies deep-fried in gremolata breadcrumbs with green tartare sauce’ or his wonderfully captivating and satisfying ‘Garlic soup with poached egg + parmesan’? Janni is the king of offal with dishes like ‘Oxtail boned & braised with beef tendons & borlotti beans’, ‘Crumbed veal brains with a veal hoof & ravigote sauce’ and his inimitable ‘Quail & pig’s trotter sausage in vine leaves with iceberg lettuce’. But he’s also one of the very few chefs who habitually cooks dishes without meat, such as his ‘Braised herb-stuffed globe artichokes’, ‘Red capsicum + eggplant roll with black olive + thyme focaccia’ and his sublime ‘Risotto balls with baked green tomatoes’.
Oh how I miss MG Garage!
Janni is more than a talented chef, he often gives his food a new look, by ‘packaging’ it in a different way. Just look at his ‘Braised Trout wrapped in sorrel with anchovies + capers’, his ‘Rock lobster lettuce rolls with chervil + rock lobster sauce’ or his famous ‘Steamed fillet of beef in a bone marrow dumpling with tapenade + Madeira sauce’, all dishes wrapped, innovatively packaged and served as parcels, which always guarantees to surprise.
Janni is so unassuming that he never wanted to write a book but in the end the desire to pass on his knowledge to ‘his children’ (the talented young chefs that worked with him over the course of many decades) won out. And, with the help of Roberta Muir who managed to put his words on the page, he now has. Wild Weed Pie is indeed true to its subtitle: a lifetime of recipes. It’s also a lifetime of stories, a lifetime of experience, of love for life and love for food. Janni has created a book that speaks to the reader at many levels. It doesn’t matter if you’re a budding amateur cook or an accomplished chef, there is something in this book for everyone.
Janni Kyritsis, creator of the ‘Gold-leaf chocolate pyramid’ (a recipe spanning six pages of the book) I salute you!
Wild Weed Pie - A Lifetime of Recipes
Janni Kyritsis with Roberta Muir
Photography by Ian Wallace
ISBN 13: 978 1 92098 932 3
Published by the Penguin Group
What are you waiting for? Go out and buy one now!