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 Tunisian-Italian heritage and from the challenges of feeding nutritious and stimulating food to her family.

2024 is set to be a momentous year with the opening of Melbourne restaurants Johnny’s Greenroom – a spacious rooftop cocktail bar with Italian fare atop the landmark King and Godfree building in Carlton, and Saint George, a grill and tavern offering in St Kilda with Public Hospitality Group. Her feature menu can also be enjoyed at Alba Thermal Spring and Spa’s restaurant Thyme on the Mornington Peninsula.

Karen has an impressive list of credentials, previously as Founding Partner / Creative Food Director and Chef of her Hatted restaurant Hero in Melbourne’s iconic ACMI building, 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 opened St Kilda’s much-loved pizzeria mr. wolf which they stepped back from and sold in 2021. Karen finished 2021 on a high being named one of Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s “Legends of 2021”, in the Chefs, Restauranteur, Hospitality Professional sector.

2022 saw the release of her biggest book to date: ‘COOK: The Only Book You Need in the Kitchen. In this deeply personal publication, no less than 6 years in the making, Karen shares a lifetime of cooking, eating and learning about food. COOK is an essential collection of more than 1000 recipes, from old favourites to brilliant new dishes and is sure to become a fixture in kitchens around the country. Karen is the author of the cookbooks, Salads & VegetablesNew KitchenHomeEverydayThe Karen Martini CollectionFeastingCooking at Home and Where the Heart Is.

On television, Karen has enjoyed 17 years as the much-loved resident chef on Australia’s longest running lifestyle television series, Better Homes and Gardens and her recipes continue to broadcast on streaming food channels. Along the way she shared in seven consecutive Logie Awards. Karen also appeared as a judge on Seven’s reality cooking program, My Kitchen Rules and co-hosted three series of The Intolerant Cooks. Other television credits include Karen chef on Lifestyle Café for The Lifestyle Channel and Guide to a Classic Christmas, alongside Curtis Stone on Seven, which was shot in her home with the pair sharing recipes for their modern take on Christmas traditions.

Karen’s contribution to print media has included roles as food editor for Fairfax’s Sunday Life Magazine  and  Epicure/Good Living lift-out for several years. In 2019 she returned to the paper as a food Columnist for the Good Weekend magazine supplement.

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 Festivals and Sydney International Food Festivals,  and live shows around TV formats My Kitchen Rules and Better Homes and Gardens, taking the audience through her popular television recipes in real time.  Also on stage, Karen turned interviewer and conducted an intimate conversation with Yotam Ottolenghi live on stage at Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre.

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