Dirty eggplant, tahini, lemon, pine nuts and raisins

Born in Melbourne in 1978, George Calombaris is a famous Australian chef, restaurateur, and author. George is also a well-known judge in the top-rating TV show MasterChef Australia.

Although George was born and bred in Melbourne, his Greek heritage with its rich and varied cuisine would later become his trademark. He began cooking in the kitchens of his mother and grandmother where he developed his passion for Greek and Cypriot foods.

His career has been exceptional from the beginning. He finished his apprenticeship at the five-star Sofitel hotel in Melbourne, where he won the Bonland National Apprentice of the Year Award in 1999. This would be followed by many more personal and restaurant awards in the next few years.

In 2006 George opened his flagship restaurant The Press Club where he serves modern Greek cuisine. His food is an exciting hybrid of classical haute cuisine and experimental ideas. His MAdE Establishment has currently grown to eleven restaurants.

George published his first cookbook in 2008, which was named after his restaurant The Press Club. In 2015 his sixth cookbook Greek was launched.

Creation by George Calombaris, The Press Club, Melbourne, Australia.

Serves 4. 

Dirty eggplant, tahini, lemon, pine nuts and raisins

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eggplant (or aubergine)



olive oil, extra virgin






lemon, juice



salt flakes



pine nuts, roasted






dill sprigs



apple mint leaves

Preparation method: dirty eggplant
  • Preheat a barbecue grill plate to high heat. Pierce the eggplant (or aubergine) all over with the tip of a knife, then place on the grill and cook until blackened all over. (Alternatively, preheat the oven to 200°C [fan-forced] and roast the eggplants for 30 minutes).
  • Place the charred eggplants in a bowl, cover with plastic film and rest for fifteen minutes.
  • Removethe skin and discard of any resting juices.
  • Cut the eggplants in half, then press flat with your hand to spread them out.
  • Combine the olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, and three to four tablespoons of water in a small bowl and season with salt.
  • Dress the pine nuts and raisins with a little dressing, then drizzle the rest over the eggplant halves.
  • Top with fresh herbs, drizzle with a little extra olive oil, and serve.

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