Stefano Manfredi is recognised as one of Australia’s leading chefs and internationally as a master of modern Italian cuisine. He has influenced the way we eat since first opening The Restaurant Manfredi in 1983, which was awarded a coveted Three Chefs Hats by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 1995.
More than two decades later, Manfredi has owned and operated several restaurants in Sydney, most notably the award winning Restaurant Manfredi (1983-1996) and Bel Mondo (1996-2002). In October 2002, Manfredi traveled to Italy to be presented with the inaugural trophy from the Italian International Culinary Institute for Foreigners by the Italian Prime Minister and his inclusion as one of Italy’s internationally recognised chefs in the first English translation of The Silver Spoon 2005 firmly cemented his reputation as ‘The Godfather’ of Italo-Australian cooking. He recently contributed to the second edition of The Silver Spoon, re-released in September 2011.
Since 1989, Manfredi has continued to write on food and cooking, published four books, taught and presented master classes, made numerous television appearances locally and overseas, developed the successful coffee brand Espresso di Manfredi by Piazza D'Oro and remains a passionate advocate for local, sustainable and seasonal produce.
In December 2007, inspired by its coastal and rural setting, Manfredi took the helm at Manfredi at Bells restaurant, located onsite at Bells at Killcare Boutique Hotel, Restaurant & Spa. Here he has overseen the planting of extensive kitchen gardens to inspire a more pastoral rendition of his cuisine. While Manfredi’s influence is also to be experienced at sister property Pretty Beach House.
Whilst maintaining his commitment at Manfredi at Bells, and Pretty Beach House in September 2011, the Manfredi team opened Balla at The Star casino, heralding Stefano’s much-anticipated return to the Sydney dining scene. The 160-seater restaurant offers modern Milanese cuisine in an Italian Osteria setting.
Manfredi currently writes a weekly food column for the Sydney Morning Herald’s Spectrum supplement leads an annual cooking tour to Italy and enjoys making salami and sausages with his friend Pino. www.manfredi.com.au
"Food has a beauty of it’s own which comes from the way it’s presented simply and the freshness of the produce" - Stefano Manfredi
Stefano’s Garden, located within the grounds of Bells at Killcare, has long been a feature of the Manfredi at Bells offering. The gardens were duly recognised last year, being honoured with the Good Living Sustainability Award at the 2012 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Awards.
The award was viewed as the culmination of more than four years work, with chef Stefano Manfredi and his team building up the gardens over this period into more than 500 square metres of land now cultivated for food.
“As an Italian, gardening is in my DNA. Italian cooking is very simple and relies on the quality of the primary produce. There is nowhere to hide. So to win the Sustainability Award says a lot – it meant a lot to me and the team at Manfredi at Bells and is one of which I am most proud.” said Manfredi.
This dedication to growing his own produce ensures Manfredi’s long held tenets of quality, simplicity and seasonality are maintained, with more than 15% of the Manfredi at Bells produce coming from the garden.
Of the garden, Manfredi says, “Like all kitchen gardens, ours is a constant work in progress. We are always looking to grow something new and plan our sowing with the seasons. This produce is at the heart of our restaurant menu and we are constantly learning to synchronise what we cook with what’s growing.”
When selecting ingredients for Manfredi at Bells, Manfredi is constantly inspired by his Italian heritage, but it’s the ultimate quality and freshness of ingredients that counts. Ethical food production to Manfredi means grass-fed beef, not using battery raised chickens or eggs, sustainably sourced seafood and produce that is generally grown or raised with quality and environmental effects as primary concerns.
“The restaurant menu and what’s cooked in a particular kitchen is about where you are. If we can source most of our produce from NSW, I’m happy. However, my ultimate criteria have to be quality, flavour and ethical production.” Manfredi says.
Along with the kitchen gardens at Bells at Killcare, the property also has its own chickens and honey beehives.
"More and more the garden drives the menu at Bells. We are constantly learning to synchronise what we cook with what's growing."