Gabriel Gate's relaxed French demeanour can be deceptive - one of Australia's most enduring celebrity chefs is also one of the hardest working. Gate has written 22 cookbooks since he followed his Australian love, Angie, a language teacher, to our shores in 1977. These days, he describes himself as a ''freelance chef''. Gate is researching his eighth season of Taste Le Tour a gourmet guide to the world's most-watched cycle race, for SBS. He lives in Melbourne.
A home kitchen …
Should be a peaceful family room to enjoy many special moments together. It makes me sad when people feel cooking home meals is a chore … It is true, some people find stress everywhere; if you want to cook in 15 minutes, at least sit down for two minutes and get your mind together. But are you hurrying because you want to watch MasterChef?
I have a very large collection of cake tins that I have collected over the years for every kind of dessert. I have three more boxes like this in the garage. I have two of everything because for TV I often need a second cake ready to show. I love the charlotte tin and kougelhopf tin from Alsace.
The books I have written for children are very special to me. Children love to cook. You must let them help and be patient … With cooking, there is a lovely flow that you don't get when you follow recipes. You can learn to visualise the process of a dish. The first time you cook a risotto, you follow the recipe. But memorise the principles and the next time you might improvise a bit.
Most memorable meal Le Petit Nice in Marseille, a contemporary seafood restaurant. I ate several courses but the highlights were a dish of sea bass and a dessert of chocolate served in caramelised tubes. It's a three-Michelin-star restaurant with an outstanding view of the Mediterranean. The service was excellent. Most inspiring person? My wife, with whom I've spent 35 years. I left my home country to be with her and we have worked together all that time. We have two lovely children.
In Melbourne I go to three or four different greengrocers, all family-run, but the pick of the lot is Toscano's in High Street, Kew.
In Sydney Quay at The Rocks is outstanding and it's always a joy to visit the Sydney Fish Market. Paddy's Market in Flemington is also amazing. Ideal neighbourhood eatery It would be great to have a smart-casual local, like the brasseries in Paris, where you can get freshly shucked oysters, a plate of cured ham and a cheese platter, as well as exciting traditional dishes.
Pantry Flip Shelton's natural muesli. It's expensive, but a bag will last us a fortnight and it keeps me going all morning. Sunbeam prunes, organic plain flour, La Gina pasta sauce and a selection of spices. Fridge Maple syrup, a selection of jams, tomato sauce, Jalna natural yoghurt, Lescure French butter, South Gippsland free-range eggs. To drink We have a cellar - about 100 bottles; a selection of French and Australian reds and whites. We enjoy pinot noir from Tasmania and the Mornington Peninsula. We love French champagne as well; Louis Roederer Cristal is $200-plus a bottle, so it is for special occasions; Mumm also, because it is lovely and affordable.
My tool kit
It is a purpose-made leather bag given to me as a birthday present by Leanne Bennett-Jones, who ran our cookery school in the early 1990s. She designed it and had it made. It is perfect; sort of my third-drawer-down for when I'm on the road. It even fits in my suitcase. I take it everywhere, along with three boxes of saucepans, an Esky full of ice and Cryovac meat to avoid cross-contamination. My favourite knives are my old Sabatier carbon steel knives I've owned since I was an apprentice 40 years ago. They are so sharp.
"Australian chefs are not generous enough with fruit. Already cherries, mangoes and apricots are available in the markets, but will you see them appearing on menus? Chefs are too busy to get out into the market."