MY PHILOSOPHY: Support Australian made and locally produced. People are increasingly interested in the provenance of their food. I want to know where it comes from and how it was grown. It is for this reason that I love shopping at growers’ markets. Eat seasonally. Simple is nearly always best – a good piece of meat or fish doesn’t need fancy ingredients to ‘trick it up’. Cook within your comfort zone
FOOD TRENDS: People are increasingly interested in the provenance and sustainability of food which is great. Coffee continues on the up and up as does single origin chocolate and cooking at home. I’m loving Brazilian Chiaroscuro and cooking with real fire and smoke, new wave Mexican and chefs and people alike growing some of their own food, especially heirloom varieties. Not sure about apps or the way people are texting and tweeting rather than talking to their dining companions and please can we keep soil for the garden and not the plate. We’ve seen more celebrity butchers and more grass-fed beef. Great to see cuts like onglet and bavette in restaurants though it needs careful cooking. I’m uncomfortable with homogenisation and we now seem to have home brand everything.
MY IDEAL DINNER PARTY: We tend to have big dinner parties, at least 12 people. This is because we are so busy it is easier to do one for 12 rather than two for six. So naturally I think about something which won’t keep me in the kitchen too long. So a cold entree is often the best – perhaps freshly shucked oysters, crab salad using the fabulous Noosa spanner crab, New Zealand King salmon tartare etc. Then I love to cook duck breast – so quick and easy to cook and also to serve. If it’s a week night ripe cheese from one of Australia’s artisanal producers to finish.
ADVICE FOR HOME COOKS: Just have a go and cook for yourself and those you love. It doesn’t have to be complex, you can start out simple, just cook with love. Someone once told me that the worst home-made cake is better than the most perfect shop bought one. I think this is true of all cooking.