Over the past months, home catering services around the world have been essential – convenient, comforting and providing a small luxury for those locked up at home. Three outstanding services we recommend include Julie Anne Rhodes of The Roving Stove in Los Angeles for delicious, specially tailored menus, Alessandro Verdenelli of Sushi Cupcake in London for Japanese/Italian fusion cuisine with a focus on health and wellbeing, and Amanda Cordony of The Cordony Kitchen in Sydney, who’s colourful and beautiful styled dishes – often traditional with a unique twist – light up social media daily. With her lovely, gentle demeanour and calm voiceovers, Amanda’s ‘stress-free’ recipe demos are a real pleasure to watch…
Amanda is a lover of all things food, having been in the catering industry for 20 years; most of her creations and ideas come from dining out at local restaurants, her travels and the recipes of chef Yotam Ottolenghi (seen with Amanda at the very bottom of this page); here she discusses her background, family and the places that most inspire her around the world…
C&B: “Amanda, you are so industrious and the meals you conjure up look absolutely divine; I love the way you present your dishes decorated with micro-herbs and edible flowers… how did you first start out on your culinary journey?”
AC: “I started my food journey as a little girl…my grandparents were Maltese and my late grandmother was in the catering industry creating a new world of cuisine in Australia with her Maltese ravioli and pastizzi; my first job was in an old school delicatessen around the corner from my house when I was just 15 years old. At 22 years of age I opened my own delicatessen and catering business which I operated with the help of my family for 8 years; now I continue to work from home, with a family of my own, catering for my regular clients…”
C&B: “Enjoying a meal is not only about the food itself but also about the presentation and creating a relaxing and inviting ambience… besides yourself, who do you consider to be the Australian expert in this field?”
AC: “This would have to be my brother, Steve Cordony (seen below, right, with Amanda on his Rosedale Farm); he has to be one of the best designers and stylists in the country – probably even the world! He has a natural eye for all things design; he was born with this talent… his skill to refine and perfect a space is second to none…”
C&B: “How has lockdown most affected your business and personal life, if at all?”
AC: “I learnt to pivot my business and to make changes so I could still work, crucial for my for my mental state; all catering stopped and I turned to homemade meals to deliver around Sydney until restrictions eased at the end of last year. Once covid restrictions have been fully relaxed and travel resumes, I want to visit Queensland, Port Douglas, The Great Barrier Reef and our next trip overseas will definitely be to Italy and surrounding countries…”
C&B: “Travel is one of the most important elements of creating in design as a whole, which places around the world do you find the most inspiring?”
AC: “I do love to travel, lots of weekends away discovering our beautiful country and local produce; I’ve also taken wonderful trips to places I will return to one day including Turkey, Italy, Malta, France, Spain, England and America… I love learning about different cultures and food so travel is definitely part of my life; it’s when I’m travelling that I grow my creative mind. I went to Bali when I was a little girl for a family vacation and I would love to go on a culinary adventure there one day; however, home is where the heart is for me – I love where I live, catering for my regular customers gives me so much gratitude…
C&B: “Which hotel and/or restaurant would you say is your favourite, anywhere?”
AC: “My favourite hotel anywhere in the world is ‘Hotel Buca di Bacco’ in Postiano, Italy. Our favourite restaurant is there – ‘Da Adolfo’ (centre, above) Such precedence is held for food and family and the fusion of both coming together as one; it’s also our ‘happy place’, where my husband and I found out we were having our first baby!”
C&B: “Which restaurant local to you is your favourite – one that you’d recommend to readers?”
AC: “‘Cucinetta, Hunter Hill’ (see below)… it’s a restaurant local to us that’s filled with my love of Italian food, delicious aromas and a bustling kitchen – for me, a fresh pasta dish with any type of seafood in it is bliss. The fantastic views of Sydney Harbour Bridge from the restaurant just add to the whole experience…”
THE CORDONY KITCHEN: linktr.ee/Thecordonykitchen
*Bring a little of Amanda’s lifestyle into your own day – above is the newly launched scented candle ‘POSITANO – amore’ by Nicky Summer, available only by special order to email@example.com; below, a delicious fish recipe by Amanda:
AMANDA CORDONY RECIPE: FISH IN A BAG – SERVES 4
4 x 120 firm white fish – boneless
1 cup of pearl couscous
1 cup of chicken stock
1 cup water
400g tomato puree
1 brown onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 fennel bulb and fennel fronds
6 ripe roma egg tomatoes
1 small lemon
salt and pepper
- In a saucepan put in couscous, stock, water, and season. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes with the lid on. Most of the liquid should be absorbed. Take off heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil so it doesn’t stick together.
- Finely dice onion and garlic. In another saucepan on medium heat place onion in with salt and olive oil. Simmer for 8 minutes. Then add the garlic, stir for 1 minute and add the tomato puree with 200ml of water. Simmer for 10 minutes.
- While sauce is cooking, finely slice the fennel with a mandoline and pick fronds off. Cut tomatoes into quarters, slice the lemon into .5cm rounds, and deseed.
- Cut 4 pieces of parchment paper large enough to wrap over each piece of fish. approx 30cm x 45cm
- Have ingredients lined up, with each parchment paper folded in half then open for filling. Place ingredients closet to the folded edge.
- Start with 2 heaped tablespoons of couscous, top with 3 heaped tablespoons of sauce, place fish on top, add a handful of fennel on fish, a slice of lemon, a few fronds (save some for garnish) add 4-6 pieces of tomatoes around fish, drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper. Fold over the other side of parchment paper to cover fish and starting from one end to the other fold the edge of the parchment paper in small, overlapping triangles. This helps create a tight seal. Repeat this 4 times for each fish portion.
- Place on a baking tray and cook at 180C for 20 minutes. let sit for 2 minutes and serve straight out of the paper bag by peeling away the parchment paper. Top with fresh fennel fronds and dried chilli.
AMANDA’S INSTAGRAM ADDRESS BOOK: