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The much-loved chef and founder of St Kilda landmark Mr Wolf is hugely looking forward to the festive break with her husband Michael Sapountsis and their two daughters. There’ll be a real tree and a choice pig’s ear for Rudi, the Hungarian vizsla.


How will you spend Christmas?

Because we are shooting My Kitchen Rules right up to a few days before, and we have moved out of our house while we’re renovating, we’re heading to my brother-in-law’s on the day. Then on Boxing Day we will do it all again with my family, the same combo but reversed, with about 20 people.


What’s on the menu?

Always, always salad a la russe. My grandmother is French Tunisian and she has always made this salad, with potato, beans, carrots and heavily dressed in mayonnaise. Over the years we’ve really dressed it up with crayfish, salmon roe, witlof and curly endive. I will take a grain salad with fresh and dried cherries, and maybe a little bit of a Middle Eastern feel with some mint or pomegranate molasses. That sort of thing really throws my mum. She is like, “cherries are for dessert”.


What’s the most out-there present you’ve received?

When I was 18 my mother gave me a white crocheted top and matching short, short hotpants. They were both sheer. It was the most shocking gift. I was like, “What, they are for me?”. I think she was thinking, “You are young, you are fabulous and you should be able to wear that sort of thing”. I don’t think my father felt quite the same way.


Most memorable Christmas?

One year (in the late ’70s) we went to Bowraville, near Coffs Harbour. Coming from urban Melbourne, driving there in a small Peugeot 504 over three days, it was such an adventure. The radiator only blew up once and every hour we were asking, “Are we there yet?”. I remember we had young sweetcorn from a farm nearby. I’d not tasted anything like it, it was so sweet, tender and young.


All I want for Christmas is …

A few days off, some focused time with my family and the Australian Fish & Seafood Cookbook.
And since you’re asking, I also wouldn’t go past a tiny pair of diamond earrings.


Salads & Vegetables, By Karen Martini, Pan Macmillan Australia, $39.95.
Join the celebration as Mr Wolf turns 13 in 2017.