Exclusive Pictures: On a Fleeting Visit Home, Sarah Stein Talks Life, Love and Cooking For Rick!
WE HAVE A SPECIAL "MY MOSMAN" THIS WEEK, FEATURING MUCH LOVED LOCAL SARAH "SAS" STEIN. MARRIED TO ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST FAMOUS CHEFS, THE MUM OF TWO IS ALSO A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSWOMAN IN HER OWN RIGHT, SET TO EXPAND THE LUXURY BANNISTERS BRAND, WITH A NEW HOTEL OPENING LATER THIS YEAR, AS ANNA USHER REPORTS.
Images by Graham Monro of gmphotographics
Anna: Welcome home (again!) Sas. We love it when you come back to visit!
Sas: Thanks Anna, that’s very nice of you to say. I love being home especially during this stunning time of year .. the weather is perfect!
We are back this time to visit family and friends, and we are hosting our annual Veuve Clicquot Dinner at our restaurant, Rick Stein at Bannisters Mollymook, down on the South Coast. It's such a great event.
Anna: Speaking of weather, how has the UK winter been this year?
Sas: Don’t mention it, it’s been the never ending winter and bitterly cold!
It has snowed twice in London and still they are expecting more.
Most people I know have been sick at least twice with the flu.
Anna: Does the cold weather make you miss home more?
Sas: Absolutely! I am a total sun bunny and love summer clothes.
I can’t really rock around London in my Camilla kaftans. Well I suppose I could, but I would be a bit chilly!
Anna: What do you get homesick for?
Sas: The list is endless. Where do I start?!
My family. My friends. The Aussie blue sky.
I also really miss my daily walks to Balmoral Beach.
Then there's the Golden Gaytimes, Fantales, Friday nights drinks at the BV, bumping into mates I've known my entire life in the street.
Do you want me to continue?!!
Anna: Do you realise how excited Rick's Australian fans are, to finally have a new series to watch on Foxtel?
Sas: Rick’s series on Mexico is great because it’s part adventure guide - and part cooking show. I love how he regales viewers with tales from his previous epic trip to Mexico in the late 1960s.
And I think he looks pretty cool sitting behind the wheel of his blue Mustang, don't you?!
Anna: Did you travel with Rick for the Mexican series?
Sas: No sadly I didn’t get to, as my daughter, Olivia was doing her final exams and I wanted to be around for her.
However, I am very lucky to have been to Mexico a few times with Rick.
It’s our favourite place to go on holidays and it holds a special place in my heart, as it was the first place he took me on holiday, in 2003.
Anna: How often do you return to Sydney?
Sas: I'm very lucky and get to Sydney three times a year, for about a month at a time.
We go down to Bannisters for at least a week each trip. Rick and I do an alternate Christmas in Sydney/Mollymook - and the UK.
Anna: Rick calls Mosman “your office” because you spend most of your time here when you're at home, don’t you?
Sas: Yes I do Anna. I go to the 8:30am Barre Class at Rancan Sisters - or I do a walk around either Balmoral or Clifton Gardens.
After that I'll generally catch up with buddies at Frenchy’s, take a wander into Curve Boutique, Pages and Pages and Camilla.
Then it's off to Avenue Road Cafe to catch up on emails - and perhaps a visit to the Blowdry Boutique, because I'm terrible at doing my own hair!
Anna: Where is your favourite cafe in Mosman? And what do you like to eat?
Sas: Definitely Avenue Road. I have the banana bread, a banana smoothie - and a cup of tea!
Anna: What about local restaurants?
Sas: I visit Sushi Eatery in Vista Street regularly and always have the Salmon Sashimi, Tempura Hand Roll and Miso Soup.
I also love Bistro Moncur.
Anna: Most memorable Mosman meal?
Sas: My friend Vanessa Talbot is an amazing cook and hostess.
One Easter she had about 40 of us over for suckling pork on the spit, the thought of it still makes me salivate!
She is also a Dessert Queen, so there was lemon delicious, her legendary chocolate brownies and marble cake. Incredible!
Anna: Who does the best coffee in Mosman?
Sas: Don’t shoot me - but I don’t drink coffee! I love my Earl Grey with lots of milk.
When I'm not drinking tea at Avenue Road, I am a big fan of drinking tea at Frenchy’s in Georges Heights!!
Anna: Does Rick love Mosman as much as you?!
Sas: He absolutely loves it here. It's because you can just park in the street and run into a shop. There's no way we could do that in London. Rick hates shopping malls, so the village atmosphere in Mosman suits him perfectly.
Rick is a big fan of Ewens hardware store - and makes any excuse to visit Accoutrement for kitchen supplies!
He also loves that Pages and Pages has always been such a great supporter of his books.
Anna: What do you both like to do locally when you are here?
Sas: We like to do the circular walk from Shellcove Road in Neutral Bay, past Cremorne Point, then onto Mosman Rowers, before cutting across Holt Street to go back home.
Rick and I both love going to Cremorne Orpheum and hearing Neil Jensen play the mighty Wurlitzer Organ before a movie, while having a choc top.
In fact, my daughter Olivia loves them so much, she gets me to go and buy them even when we aren’t going to the movies!
Another great place to catch up with friends is The Oaks - and there's nothing better than getting the ferry from Mosman into the city.
Anna: As an avid swimmer, does Rick spend much time in the water at Balmoral?
Sas: He tries to swim at Balmoral most mornings for about a hour and uses waterproof headphones to listen to audio books while he's in the water!
Anna: You have a very tight knit group of local friends, Sas. Do they help keep your feet planted on the ground?
Sas: I am so lucky with my Mosman buddies, we basically met when Zach and Olivia were at Sacred Heart Primary and I have my school friends from Kincoppal, we are called the Rosebuds.
It’s great because East and North have merged and everyone loves each other! Plus, I have some great neighbours and work buddies.
They really help to keep me grounded and last night is a great example. We were at bookclub and the main discussion was "who knows the best pest man?"!
Anna: Are you a good cook, Sas?
Sas: Absolutely not, I am really a good assembler and you can’t beat Fourth Village for delicious prepared delectables.
Anna: Does Rick rate your kitchen skills?
Sas: Rick is very sweet and says I would be a great cook - if I wanted to be.
I think he is delusional!
Anna: What's your signature dish?
Sas: My children Zach and Olivia love my Beef Stroganoff, it’s my step-mum Janine’s recipe - and the trick is normal cream, not sour cream.
Anna: If we came to your home for dinner, would Rick do the cooking - or you?
Sas: I don’t think we would have repeat guests if I cooked! In the early days, I attempted to help - but now I organise the music and spoon singing.
Anna: So what would Rick cook for us then?
Sas: Rick and I love to entertain, so we generally have 20 or so for dinner.
Rick loves to use our family and friends as recipe guinea pigs, so you could expect an Indian feast of 10 different curries - or a Mexican Fiesta.
His next TV series is Secret France, so we will be testing a variety of Bouillabaisses, Coq au Vin and Beef Bourguignon.
Anna: Totally! So what’s your favourite Rick Stein meal?
Sas: You are going to laugh because it's not seafood, it’s actually his Roast. I am a sucker for Rick's Roast Beef, which we buy from Penny’s.
He goes the whole hog with duck fat roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, gravy, savoy cabbage, honeyed carrots and minted potatoes. It's amazing!
Anna: Does Rick rate any Mosman restaurants?
Sas: He is a big fan of Bathers Cafe - and also Bistro Moncur.
Anna: Your Bannisters brand is expanding. Tell us about the new project!
Sas: It’s very exciting Anna!
Bannisters Port Stephens is opening in September.
Our business partner, Peter Cosgrove, is renovating the Salamander Shores in Port Stephens. It will be a four star boutique hotel, offering barefoot luxury and a “Hamptons” look and feel.
The hotel will offer 80 rooms, which will include six luxury suites and a penthouse. There will be a Rick Stein restaurant, with lots of glass and amazing views.
The menu will feature local king prawns, yellowfin bream, flathead, calamari and school whiting - not to mention the fabulous local oysters!
Anna: Finish this sentence. The best thing about Mosman is ...
Sas: The sense of community. There has been quite a few tragedies over the years and I love how everyone rallies around and supports each other.
Rick and I both feel very blessed to have a home here and we adore being able to visit regularly.
Anna: Thanks so much Sas. We'll see you both around the traps soon!