Westfield: So Westfield Knox was your local shopping centre as a kid! Any food court favourites and fond memories?
Shellie: Westfield Knox was my local for my whole life up until a year ago when I moved. When I’m there, I can't go past a delicious spicy teriyaki bowl or sushi.
Best memories: on Friday nights my family would head to Westfield Knox to have dinner and shop. It sure has changed a lot since those days. There’s a lot more variety now and heaps of places to eat!
I love buying produce at the big green grocer right in the middle of the centre, Knox Fruit and Vegetable Market. There’s nothing you can't find there – from the most obscure ingredients to a bunch of flowers to brighten up the home.
Westfield: What food trends have you seen coming through?
Shellie: A focus on authentic flavours, especially in Thai cooking. I predict that African spices will come through more and there’ll be less craziness with the insanely sweet donuts and far-out desserts.
There’ll be a stronger focus on super foods and Australians will seek out nutrient-dense meals.
Westfield: What do you most love about having a creative career in food?
Shellie: Being able to bring together everyday ingredients and transform them into something beautiful. It could be the presentation of fruit on a pavlova or what you do with fruit inside a cake. Sometimes taking risks with flavour combinations pays off big time!
Westfield: Fave winter comfort food?
Shellie: Spaghetti Bolognaise, lasagne and pho.
Westfield: No.1 culinary destination?
Shellie: Easily Japan. I can spend weeks in Japan and never tire of the food. I love the sushi, the noodles, the rice… oh my goodness, the rice! I never really thought much of rice until my visit to Japan two years ago. Since then I can't get enough of it, the Japanese seem to just cook it so well. The presentation of the food is something I never get sick of either. Whether you’re picking up a bento box at the train station, a ramen shop from a vending machine or a Michelin Star restaurant, every dish in Japan is treated with such care.
Westfield: What’s your favourite food styling prop that you’ve picked up on your travels?
Shellie: I have a vintage baking tray I found in country Victoria a few years ago. It has such an intricate pattern and has aged beautifully. It's the perfect complement to delicate macarons or iced cupcakes.
Westfield: Fellow celebrity chef you admire?
Shellie: The one who really got me interested in food was Donna Hay. I remember Mum brought a magazine home and I fell in love with these cinnamon scrolls on the front cover. I lusted over them for ages. Donna Hay was the chef that got me into food styling.
Rachel Khoo and Nigella Lawson are two other chefs I like to follow. I love Rachel Khoo's first series of Little Paris Kitchen. It's amazing to see what creations she could come up with in such a small space. It meant those of us with big kitchens had no excuses!
Visit Iron Chef Shellie at ironchefshellie.con
Follow her @ironchefshellie