Joyeux Noel 2014

Once again another year seems to have flown by, but it was one filled with new projects, good food, exciting news and even a bit of extra travel.

I started 2014 in Malaysia, the birth country of my fiancée, and while there her family treated us to a traditional engagement celebration. Then in April I launched my newest cookbook, French For Everyone.

The book tour gave me the opportunity once again to travel around Australia and hold launch events in restaurants across the country, including one of my favourites, Berardos in Noosa.

French for Everyone Book Tour

I have always been told The Kimberleys in Western Australia is one of the most beautiful places you can visit. Arriving there for the Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster in May this year I was not disappointed.

Ord Valley Muster

While in Western Australia I ventured out to an even more remote destination to really get away from it all (as they say!).

As we flew in to The Berkeley River Resort I felt like James Bond. There was stunning scenery and nothing — and when I say nothing I mean absolutely nothing — else for as far as you can see.

Western Australia

We had no phone or Internet reception so it felt like a desert island, a rather fancy one but definitely deserted. The restaurant here was amazing, with a different set-menu offered each night. The meal included five courses, just devised from what was caught the day before, and showcased two young chefs cooking amazing food with limited resources.

The only way to travel was by helicopter and a day trip out of the hotel saw us left in the middle of valleys and on edges of cliffs with a picnic and no one else except crocodiles! If you ever need a break from the rat race The Berkeley River Resort is the place to go.

For those avid TV viewers out there you may remember the debut of my new series, My France with Manu, in early 2014.

Manu in France

I returned to France in June to shoot some more episodes and traveled from the mountains to the sea, discovering some amazing food stories and having fantastic experiences along the way. Some of those experiences really tested my own fears too and the new episodes will hit your screens in the new year, so keep an eye out for it. In the meantime you can see some of the filming highlights here.

Together with my co-hosts I’ve been busy filming the upcoming series of MKR. We have had some fantastic cooks this year and got to travel to some places in Australia that I as yet had never visited, including a memorable stop in Mount Isa. I’m sure it is going to be a great series.

In early November I was off to Hong Kong — it’s a good thing that New York already nabbed the title of the city that never sleeps because Hong Kong certainly puts up a good fight for it. I hit the ground running as I was only there for a few days, but that seemed to suit the pace of life.

Hong Kong Pork Buns

We visited some great places while there, and although I can’t tell you too much about my trip just yet a few things really stood out. During one stop we had some of the best pork buns I’ve ever eaten, and Meat Street, where the stalls sell every part of the animal all cleaned and beautifully displayed, is a really interesting place to take a wander through. As soon as I have more news about this personal project I’ll make sure to share!

2015 is already looking to be a big year. I’ll soon be shooting more recipe videos for my YouTube channel — including a few fan-requested dishes, and the 6th season of MKR is already recruiting. Of course my beautiful fiancée and I have a new baby arriving soon too, I think there will certainly be more than enough to keep us out of trouble!

In anticipation of all that’s on the horizon I’ll be putting my feet up and spending time with family over Christmas. So I’ll leave you with wishes for a very festive holiday season, a happy New Year, and plenty of delicious food!

Joyeux Noël
~ Manu



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