Novotel Twin Waters executive chef Steve Forrester with his pavlova.
Novotel Twin Waters executive chef Steve Forrester with his pavlova. John McCutcheon

Master chef's yuletide treats

FORGET the traditional steaming Christmas pudding with hot, creamy brandy custard a la northern hemisphere.

The Sunshine Coast's yuletide climate lends itself to something much more adventurous for the festive dessert.

At least that's the thinking of Novotel Twin Waters Resort executive chef Steven Forrester, who will be cooking for 1400 hungry guests this December 25 in three different settings.

Steven says his Christmas pavlova is a firm favourite to end any Christmas Day lunch or dinner.

And even though he is working Christmas Day, the pav will be on the menu when he celebrates a couple of days earlier with his family.

The easy-to-prepare pav also helps those who dread the thought of cooking in the lead-up to the big day.

Steven said his home Christmas menu usually included honey-baked ham and Christmas pavlova because they were both quick and simple to prepare and always delicious.

"At Christmas, I usually make something a bit more basic at home, compared to the restaurant," he said.

Steven discovered his love of cooking at age five and has even kept his first cookbook.

At 15, as soon as he was allowed, he started his chef's apprenticeship in Canberra before working in hotels around Australia.

Steven soon embarked on an international career, which took him to China, England, Switzerland and France.

He returned to Australia as Parliament House head chef in Canberra, where he had the opportunity to serve politicians from the prime minister down, as well as many visiting heads of state.

Novotel successfully lured him to Twin Waters Resort at the start of the year because he said he was attracted to the Sunshine Coast's sun and surf lifestyle.

His top tips for home cooks this Christmas include always cooking with love and making extra servings.

"It's always good to have enough for the next day as well," he said.

"There's usually a few sore heads on Boxing Day, so it's nice to have something ready."




  • 300g egg whites 900g castor sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (split)
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar


  • 200ml fresh cream
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1 large ripe mango, diced
  • 1 punnet of blueberries
  • 2 kiwifruit, peeled and diced
  • 6 strawberries, topped and diced
  • 2 passionfruit, halved


  1. Start by whisking egg whites with 300g of the sugar and the cream of tartar to medium peaks (I recommend using an electric whisk for this). Once combined, add the rest of the sugar while still whisking, and continue until you reach a firm peak. Scrape the vanilla bean and add the seeds to the mix. Fold through softly.
  2. Pour mix on to a flat, lined tray or into a cornflour-dusted cake tin.
  3. Place in a pre-heated 110C oven and bake for around half an hour. You should get about a 1cm crust on the pavlova while it stays a bit gooey in the centre.
  4. Top meringue with cream and all your diced fruit (don't be afraid to explore different flavours). Dust with icing sugar and enjoy.

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