DURING his current Australian visit, Sunrise showbiz editor Nelson Aspen has revealed another side to his dynamic personality.
The child actor turned entertainment journalist, who is a marathon runner and published author in fiction and non-fiction, is also a keen cook and dinner party host.
His new book, Dinner at Nelson's: Cuisine and Conversation with the Showbiz Guru, features menus themed around anecdotes and recipes from his many celebrity friends.
“These are the real deal people who you would meet if you came to my house for dinner,” said Aspen.
“These are the conversations you would hear if you came over to my house for dinner.”
One of the menus – an Aussie barbecue with American flavour – features Cameron Daddo and Louise, Heather and Mark Pennell.
“I always say if you want to have a barbecue invite an Australian over and let them do it,” he said.
“Cameron gives us all his good barbecuing stuff and Jared Crouch gives me his marinade. I fully acknowledge my incapacity at the barbie.”
Aspen says the Pennells threw one of the best dinner parties he had been to “in recent memory”.
“It was a wedding dinner party for Louise,” he said.
“I was sitting with Hugh Jackman and Jodie Foster and her wonderful family and I brought my pianist and after dinner we all sang. You can't beat that. I don't even remember what we ate because we could have cared less. We were just having fun.”
The book reflects Aspen's belief that the centrepiece of a good dinner party is the guests, not the food.
“Who cares if you burn the roast? Really, a successful dinner party is about the guests at your table,” he said.
“You're all there to enjoy each other's company. Order a pizza if everything goes south, then you don't stress about it.”
The recipes are a mix of Nelson's “fool proof” favourites and guest recipes.
“I just know how to make a few things that I make well,” he said.
Aspen wraps up his Australian visit on Friday.
Sunrise – Seven – Mondays to Fridays from 6am and Saturdays and Sundays from 7am.
Dinner at Nelson's is available from all good book stores.