Inner East Review
Tuesday, 5 December 2023

A cook with a family flourish

Updated May 3 2022 - 6:13pm, first published 5:00am
Naomi Crisante ... food brings the family together. Photo: Morgan Hancock
Naomi Crisante ... food brings the family together. Photo: Morgan Hancock

Naomi Crisante, a Richmond food educator, cook, writer and television presenter with more than 30 years' experience in the food industry will share her Mediterranean-inspired family recipes in a regular column in the Inner East Review.

Over the years, Crisante has hosted segments on various television programs including What's Cooking, Fresh, Food 4 Life, Alive and Cooking, The Today Show, The Morning Show and The Circle.

This is in addition to her live demonstrations and online masterclasses, maintaining a food website - and a recipe book she is currently preparing.

She describes her website,, as a hub of "desirable food you can believe in". It is replete with a regular food blog, email newsletter, live recipe database, podcasts, travelogues and videos.

Her recipes are created for the home cook, making it easy to produce flavourful meals in their own kitchen.

"Although my food style is grounded in my Mediterranean heritage, I have strong knowledge of the cuisines of Europe, the Middle East and South America, due to my food travels, research and culinary experiences," she says.

For Crisante, cooking revolves around the family.

"I come from a family of mad cooks. My grandparents taught my parents, and they taught me. I really grew up in a kitchen alongside my mum. As a child, you were very much part of the process of meal creation."

Crisante says that as a family, they connected at the table. The preparation and the enjoyment of the meals was a shared experience.

"I have a 26 year-old son and 24- year-old daughter and they learned to cook alongside me," she says.

"I think it is very important for any young person to be able to cook a meal for themselves. Not only would you be eating better food, but you can gather at the table, which means it goes from being a chore to a pleasure."

Outside of the family influence, Crisante's love of food was honed at school.

"I went to a school that had a well-developed home economics course that was really innovative.

"I also enjoyed watching the cooks on TV. I was fascinated by things being created in front of my eyes and wanted to do that as well. There also was pleasure of sharing something and the joy that it brings. That's what really switched me on to it."

She said the food that she liked to cook depended on her mood, the season and for whom she was cooking.

"But all my food tends to be very full flavoured with a bit of a Mediterranean twist. It could be anything from Greek, Italian Spanish, French through to Moroccan, Egyptian, Lebanese - all of those cuisines that straddle the Mediterranean.

"I'm drawn to the ingredients. The olive oil, the spices, the fresh vegetables, the seafood, the grains, legumes, all those things tend to become combined in what I make."

Crisante's advice for home cooks is to read the recipe properly, not just the ingredients, before starting.

"Assemble all the ingredients and measure them out. Get all the equipment you need. From there, you can launch into making the recipe.

"Organisation is really the key. If you put that five minutes in at the start, you'll save yourself a lot of time and heartache.

"It is like driving a car before Google. You would not switch on your engine before before studying the map to have an understanding of where you needed to go. It is the same with cooking."