Alert

The maximum quantity permitted for this item is , if you wish to purchase more please call 1300 303 307
Food

Colin Fassnidge the New Guard

Colin Fassnidge is hands down the coolest celebrity chef on TV. Witty, roguish and charismatic, his colourful culinary journey has been about directing the fire inside.

Colin Fassnidge is in his element. He’s hosting a My Kitchen Rules season launch at his recently refurbished 4Fourteen restaurant in Sydney’s hip Surry Hills. He’s been asked to say a few words in front of a collection of influential media and assorted celebrity guests. Tall and lean, his posture is all swagger – a cross between Jagger and James Dean as he growls into the microphone, cracking a few jokes in his gravelly Irish accent before proceeding to tear strips off his co-stars Pete Evans and Manu Feildel

He then takes his seat between the editor of a trashy women’s magazine and a noted food journalist and effortlessly holds court, managing to talk ‘gossip’ and ‘serious culinary discussion’ in equal measures. He re-tells a story of when he met the owner of Channel 7, billionaire Kerry Stokes, at a network lunch.

“Hello, I’m Colin.”

“G’day, I’m Kerry.”

“Nice to meet you, Kerry. What do you do?”

 “Ha! I like you. We’ll get along fine.” 

 

Dublin to Sydney

It’s a long way for a young lad from Dublin, who played drums in a band before being bedazzled by the rock star allure of Marco Pierre White to take up cooking as a trade. He almost burned out in the regimented kitchen of Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, before taking a break and embarking on a backpacking adventure around the globe. 

He had no intention of manning the  pans again, but while in Australia, a lack of cash saw him call up old mate Justin North, who was working at Sydney’s hottest restaurant at the time, Banc, run by the Irishman Liam Tomlin, who immediately gave Colin a job. If Blanc was an Army General, Tomlin was the Gestapo, but Colin stayed. “I fell in love with the lifestyle, the beaches,” he says.

Colin Fassnidge recipe

Get Colin Fassnidge's poached rhubarb granita with cream cheese recipe

Old ways, new ways

As executive chef at Four in Hand, Colin earned two hats and a reputation – in more ways than one. His nose-to-tail food philosophy was lauded – creative, flavoursome, seasonal dishes made from secondary cuts. But he ran his kitchen the only way he knew how – with aggression. 

“At the start, I ran my restaurants with an iron fist," admits Colin. "But after a while you find yourself all alone in a kitchen because no-one wants to work with you...and the stress was huge." 

Fortunately, a change in his personal life was the catalyst for Colin to embark on a new way of doing things professionally. He and his wife Jane became parents. By the time the couple had two small daughters, Colin had mellowed, matured and learned some valuable life lessons.

“When I had my daughters it clicked into my head, ‘What is the point of having kids if you are never going to be there with them?’," levels Colin.

"So I started to trust the sous chef with more work and it worked. I started to nurture staff instead of burning through them. I found good ones and I really looked after them. I found that anger wasn’t the way to go. I still get angry, but having kids taught me to teach more.

"I learned to be a businessman. I don’t consider myself a head chef anymore, I am a restaurateur. I am thinking on behalf of the guests now, rather than just the food."

It has also seen Colin develop a new role – mentor to a host of exciting young 'new guard' chefs.

"You get quite fatherly about it," says Colin. "I went to Monopole a few weeks ago where Paul Farag, who was with me, is cooking and I said, ‘You’ve really come on from what you were – a troubled teenager to now running a two-hat restaurant’. It is a proud fatherly feeling. You've seen these people throughout the years and they've stuck by you through thick and thin." 

Celebrity Status

While Colin is an old hand in the kitchen, he's the 'new guard' celebrity chef on TV. A few appearances on MasterChef led to Channel 7 giving him a shot on MKR. He's been a hit. His good looks and Irish charm balancing out his acerbic reviews of contestants' cooking. TV seems to have come easily, but Colin admits otherwise. 

"I wasn’t good at the start," he says. "Everyone thinks they can do it until the producers tell you you're not very good. And I got told, so I got better, quickly."

Of course, being a TV celebrity has as many drawbacks as it has benefits, not that Colin is too worried by the whole thing.

"At the start of last week, a magazine had a story that I'd been fired for being hungover, while another said Pete (Evans) had been fired and I'd been given a promotion," laughs Colin. "It does put bums on seats though – my saving grace is I am often still in the kitchen at 4Fourteen – it keeps you normal in the frenzy.

"If you'd told me 20 years ago I'd be on TV, I would have said I was a sell-out. But I have a new appreciation for what these people do. It's a lot of work and long days." 

As the MKR launch event winds down late in the night in Surry Hills, Colin is still holding court for the few remaining guests. Laughing, relaxed... mellow. Long days indeed.

Colin Fassnidge's Poached pork fillet with pearl barley and wilted greens recipe

Colin Fassnidge Poached Pork fillet with pearl barley and wilted greens

Get Colin Fassnidge's poached pork fillet with pearl barley and wilted greens recipe

You might also like

Food
The Top 5 BYO Restaurants in Sydney
Words by Ben Hallinan & Patrick Haddock on 27 Mar 2017
Here are the best BYO restaurants in Sydney and the wines you should bring along with you. GOLDEN CENTURY Not only does this Chinatown landmark have a stellar list, but they also allow you to bring top Pinot to pair with duck. Open till 2 am. Recommended Wine: Aromatic dry whites like  Gewürztraminer  or  Riesling  are a great match for Chinese cuisine. However, why not try a savoury low tannin red like a Yarra Valley  Pinot Noir  or Hunter Valley  Shiraz , which match perfectly with duck and sweet pork dishes. Corkage: $8 per person 393-399 Sussex St, Sydney Visit the Golden Century website SEAN’S PANAROMA
A Bondi institution where two hatted food can be easily paired with your perennial favourites. Recommended Wine:  Vermentino ,  Pinot Grigio or  Sauvignon Blanc  match perfectly with the Mediterranean inspired menu and seaside setting. But, if your main targets on the menu are their fresh seafood dishes, then  Semillon  is the classic seafood match. For red wine purists, an excellent  GSM or  Merlot is a good option. Corkage: $25 per bottle 270 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach Visit Sean’s Panaroma website TETSUYA’S
Still the original temple of gastronomy that allows you to bring favoured and special bottles. Recommended Wine: Crisp, dry whites such as an off-dry  Riesling ,  Gewürztraminer  or Semillon match perfectly with the French inspired, Japanese cuisine on offer. Tetsuya’s is one of Sydney’s top foodie destinations, so don’t be afraid to bring out the big guns with that aged bottle of  Tyrrell’s Vat 1 Semillon  you’ve been saving. Corkage: BYO by prior arrangement at the time of booking. $30 for the first bottle, $45 for subsequent bottles. 529 Kent St, Sydney Visit the Tetsuya’s website BAR REGGIO
Possibly the cheapest yet well loved BYO in Sydney where industry folk pair Grand Cru Burgundy with pizza. Recommended Wine: When thinking of Italian food and wine, always consider ‘what grows together, goes together’. That means  Sangiovese ,  Nebbiolo , Montepulciano and Nero d’Avola for reds and  Vermentino , Fiano or  Pinot Grigio  for whites. Corkage: $2.50 per person 135 Crown St, Darlinghurst Visit Bar Reggio website ONE PENNY RED
Offers superb modern Australian food, and once a month they tailor a four-course dinner to match wines from your cellar. Recommended Wine: A savoury  Tempranillo  would be a good choice. But, just bring that special bottle you’ve been saving and see what the chefs come up with. Corkage: $80 per person inclusive of BYO and 4 course custom menu. Minimum 4 people. Last Tuesday of every month. Bookings essential 2 Moonbie St, Summer Hill Find out more about the One Penny Red raid your cellar door dinners
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
1 case has been added to your cart.
Cart total: xxx
1 case, 12 bottles, 3 accessories