Presenter & Chef

Karen Martini is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, author and television presenter. Her food message is drawn from her professional cooking career, her Tuni- sian-Italian heritage and from the challenges of feeding nutritious and stimulating food to her young family.

Karen was the founding chef at the critically acclaimed Melbourne Wine Room and Sydney’s Icebergs Dining Room and Bar. As executive chef of both restaurants, she held two chef’s hats in Sydney and Melbourne, and won, with Icebergs, the 2004 Best New Restaurant Award from The Sydney Morning Herald. After 15 years at The Melbourne Wine Room, Karen and her partner Michael Sapountsis sold in 2011 to pursue new projects. Karen and Michael still  own and run St Kilda’s much-loved pizzeria mr. wolf, which they launched in 2004.

Karen was the food editor for The Age’s Sunday Life Magazine for six years, and the food editor for The Age’s Epicure/Good Living lift-out for five years. She is joining  Good Weekend as a food Columnist from July 2019 and has contributed several articles to The Australian, and is the author of the cookbooks, Salads & Vegetables, New Kitchen, Home, Everyday, The Karen Martini Collection, Feasting, Cooking at Home and Where the Heart Is. Karen is currently working on a major book project with Hardie Grant, which is due for release in 2020.

For over a decade, Karen  has  been  the  resident  chef on Australia’s longest running lifestyle television series, Better Homes and Gardens, along the way sharing in seven consecutive Logie Awards. Karen appears as a regular judge on Seven’s hit reality cooking program, My Kitchen Rules, and is the co-host of Seven’s The Intolerant Cooks, which is currently in its third season. Karen was the regular chef on Lifestyle Café, a 13-part series on The Lifestyle Channel. In 2014, Karen hosted a prime-time special, Guide to a Classic Christmas, alongside Curtis Stone, which was shot in her home, with the pair sharing recipes for their modern take on Christmas traditions.

Over the years, Karen has cooked for many charity functions, as well as demonstrating and presenting at events and festivals.      She has been a key presenter at The Melbourne Food & Wine Festival and presented again in 2013. Karen was a Showcase Presenter at the 2012 Sydney International Food Festival, and, also in 2012, anchored a successful live auditorium show based on My Kitchen Rules. Karen is a crowd favourite at the Better Homes and Gardens LIVE shows, taking the audience through her popular television recipes in real time.

In 2014, Karen turned interviewer, conducting an intimate conversation with Yotam Ottolenghi live on stage at Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre. For Yotam’s brief visit, the pair, along with Shane Delia, also prepared a brunch for 400 people displaying their shared passion for the food of the Middle East and Mediterranean.

Karen is the Food Ambassador for Aurrum, one of Australia’s leading residential aged-care providers, designing menus, responding to feedback from residents and training the in-house chefs. And in 2018, Karen was appointed as Chef Ambassador for the house venues at the Sydney.

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This recipe is a great last minute festive solution but, if you can schedule it in now, you'll have enough time to let the flavours intensify and the cake will really sing... Christmas cake:

I’d like to say that this recipe has been handed down over generations, and that I faithfully make it every year without fail. But that would be a lie. The original recipe is actually a firm family favourite, just not from my family. A friend of mine shared it with me earlier this year and I just fell in love with its simplicity. Naturally I have made it my own with several tweaks.

You can make this on Christmas Eve, or even on Christmas Day, if time gets the better of you, but it will intensify in flavour if you can make it a week or so beforehand. #km_recipeinfeed #tistheseason #christmascake

Makes: 2 cakes
Difficulty: easy
Prep time: 25mins
Total time: 2hrs 30 minutes
225 grams unsalted butter
270 grams soft brown sugar
500 grams mixed sultanas and currants
150 grams dried pears, chopped
100 grams pitted dates, chopped
100 grams dried cranberries
50 grams mixed peel
130 grams red glace cherries
125 grams glace ginger, chopped
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons orange, finely grated zest
1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
375 ml Marsala, you could also add a slug of rum or brandy (keep the total volume the same), plus 1 tablespoon extra
3 eggs, beaten
½ teaspoon almond essence
225 grams plain flour
225 grams self-raising flour
125 grams glacé cherries, to decorate
150 grams whole blanched almonds, to decorate

Preheat your oven to 170˚C fan-forced or 190˚C conventional. Grease and line two 18cm cake tins (with removable bases), you could also use one 26cm cake tin but I prefer the smaller cakes. •  In a large, wide-based pot, combine the butter, sugar, dried and glacé fruits, spices, zest, bicarbonate of soda and Marsala, bring to the boil over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for 15 minutes. •  Add the eggs and almond essence to the fruit mix then stir in the flours until well combined. •  Pour the mixture into... METHOD CONTINUED IN COMMENTS

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After a long day filming and traveling... Silverbeet and Ortiz anchovy pennette with buffalo ricotta, semi dried kalamata & my dried chilli powder 🛫✈️🛬#20minutepasta #cookingfromthefridge ...

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