Created with Sketch.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry
77 minutes | 15 days ago
Paul Carmichael – Momofuku Seiobo
“I literally got here and the first two weeks, everybody quit." Despite this challenging start to becoming Momofuku Seiobo's executive chef, Paul Carmichael has since scored many awards (both Gourmet Traveller and Time Out named him Chef of the Year) and he's been called one of the world's greatest chefs by his boss, David Chang. The restaurant has received two glowing reviews in The New York Times and been ranked as one of the best places to eat in the world by Besha Rodell in Food & Wine. Paul isn't about basking in the acclaim, though. "You’ve got to become comfortable with failing,” Paul says. "We’d make something, it’d be shit." Then, after a lot of work, it becomes great. At Momofuku Seiobo, he's created a one-of-a-kind menu that reflects his upbringing in Barbados. The food is also a way to represent the Caribbean, which people often reduce to holiday-spot stereotypes. “I feel like the way they talk about it, they talk about it like a club,” he says. For Paul, it's his life – not a gimmicky theme – so throughout the podcast, we talk about dishes from the region: like coucou, which his mother makes with a special stick that's older than Paul; and roti that originated in India and ended up in Trinidad – which he grew up eating as a kid. A lot of these dishes have travelled. “It had an origin somewhere, but this is where it ended up being," he says, "The Caribbean is 500 years of fusion. Maybe that should be the name of my book.” Migration and colonisation also shaped the cuisine – as did slavery, which isn't as far into the past as we'd like to think. The chef doesn't want to “elevate” dishes that have generations of history, but also show that you can present a dish that's rice and vegetables and prove how it can belong in one of the city's top restaurants. “It looks like a pile of goop - but there’s so much that goes into it,” he says. Paul also talks about how people still turn up to Seiobo thinking it's a Japanese restaurant (five years after Paul introduced his Caribbean menu), how he lived off supermarket specials while Seiobo was closed during the lockdown, using "mum tricks" to stretch Seiobo's budget in its current COVID-adapted incarnation (where staff also wear face masks in the colours of the Barbados flag). We also talk about his favourite budget meal, what to order at his favourite Chinese restaurant – as well as tougher topics: like having to deal with blatant racism and the cops pulling a gun on him just for asking for directions. We also cover the media pressure of taking over a highly acclaimed restaurant, too. This podcast was recorded last year, but is especially relevant now with Momofuku Seiobo announcing its last service for late June. I loved talking to Paul on this episode, I hope you enjoy this podcast, too. Support me on Patreon (from $1.50 a week) and you'll get a bonus member-only Crunch Time podcast - where I round up the latest food news and also talk about what I'm eating, reading and writing (with bonus details on projects I've worked on – from podcast interviews to food stories): https://www.patreon.com/leetranlam.
61 minutes | 6 months ago
Joanna Hunkin – Gourmet Traveller
Reporting from murder scenes and interviewing Lorde live at the Grammys – that's what Joanna Hunkin did before she became editor at Gourmet Traveller. Enduring these high-pressure situations meant she wasn't too shaken by her first year at the magazine – which has been incredibly eventful and challenging, and involved her relocating from Auckland to take up the role. On her very first day on the job, at the Restaurant Awards at Bennelong last year, she was handing out honours to chefs Ben Shewry and Kylie Kwong. Then, as the pandemic hit, she found herself having to produce a magazine under lockdown – a tricky feat, given that photo shoots, recipe testing and other group activities are key to Gourmet Traveller's coverage. Her team used some leftfield ideas to complete cover shoots and other editorial work while socially distancing! We talk about some of the most memorable stories that have run in the magazine in the past year as well as relevant topics such as "authenticity" in food and how chefs feel about dealing with dietary requirements (from diners who claim they can't consume anything "shiny" or beginning with the letter 'A' to legit allergies to gluten and wheat – I wrote about this for the October issue of Gourmet Traveller). We also cover her early days in Hong Kong (where her mother fed her microwave bacon!) as well as Joanna's return to the city later in life, where she dined at secret restaurants hidden inside Hong Kong's high-density apartments. Joanna also chats about her top three Australian restaurant experiences of the past year, as well as her favourite dining spots in Auckland.
83 minutes | 6 months ago
Topher Boehm – Wildflower
They're not obvious candidates for making beer: wattle, strawberry gum and leftover sourdough from Ester. Topher Boehm turns to flower cuttings and other NSW-only ingredients to create wild ales for Wildflower, the Sydney brewery he runs with brother-in-law Chris Allen. They've named beers after their children – including the wild-raspberry-flavoured St Phoebe, which was selected over 1500 drinks to be named Australia's best beverage. And his curiosity with fermenting has led to Topher brewing 200 litres of soy sauce in a barrel, just for fun. Maybe his revved-up creativity shouldn't be a surprise – Topher once had 70 home-brewing experiments on the go in his apartment (until his wife fairly decided that perhaps that was just a little too much to co-habitate with). So how did Topher go from making frozen sandwiches for his family in Texas – and studying astrophysics and considering a career in shoemaking – to brewing beers that are found in 10 William Street and other top bars and restaurants around Australia? It's a pretty surprising path that also involves a really sweet love story (and a literally stinky town in New Zealand). You don't have to be a deep beer nerd to enjoy this episode, as Topher is a great storyteller – just listen to the unbelievably "epic" tale behind the coolship vessel that's being made for his spontaneous beers. The vessel has survived bushfires and flood – intense conditions that literally swallowed a truck belonging to the Blue Mountains blacksmith who is making the coolship. And while Topher has learnt about beer from hanging out in Europe and the US, he is keen to create a beverage that gets its flavours from sources you can only find in his home state. “We were calling beer local, but it was made that way from where it was brewed, not the ingredients it was from,” he says. Which means Topher is especially interested in bush foods, like saltbush, and is experimenting with the idea of bringing back his sold-out St Phoebe run using native raspberries. This episode actually features two parts: one recorded in January (before the pandemic) and a part two that sees us catching up remotely a few months after lockdown sets in. We also cover historical aspects of beer: it's the reason for the world's oldest recipe and, despite its cliched blokey image today, it was actually women who traditionally were brewers. (Go back to Ancient Egypt and it was women who tended to beer.) PS The cherry beer you hear fermenting in the background is actually now available from Wildflower (it's delicious)!
43 minutes | 10 months ago
Natalie Paull – Beatrix and "Beatrix Bakes"
Natalie Paull once pointed a brûlée torch flame in the wrong direction – and accidentally set a whole docket rail of dessert orders on fire. She's endured brownie explosions and baking disasters, too. But people rightly associate Natalie with oven-baked triumphs – like the brilliant sweets from her popular Beatrix bakery in Melbourne. Think passionfruit cloud chiffon cakes, Tart-A-Misu, Moroccan Snickers tarts, cinnamon-glazed apple fry pies (without the fryer’s remorse!) and more. Her sugar-laced cakes have a transformative power – even for people who've undergone heartbreak and tragedy. Natalie has received letters of appreciation that have made her cry. Because Natalie is a big believer in "cake for breakfast", we talk a lot about desserts – from the blockbuster "floating" cake she made for own wedding, to the four-hour spiced quinces from her Beatrix Bakes cookbook, which have the most surprising story behind them. She also recalls her days working with chef Greg Malouf (after his heart transplant), Maggie Beer, Cath Claringbold and more. We also cover some of the "all-time favourite cakes" she's ever eaten around the world, from Kanazawa to Barcelona and beyond (including the "most perfect bite of cheesecake" in Tokyo)!
42 minutes | a year ago
Shinobu Namae – L’Effervescence, Bricolage Bread & Co.
Shinobu Namae runs one of Tokyo's best restaurants: L'Effervescence. It has two Michelin stars and is known for its sustainable focus (nearly everything served to diners comes from Japan, even the cheese) and the menu is inspired by everything from McDonald's fried apple pie to world peace. Even the dish names are memorable (you can order something called 'Hurrah')! Namae-san has worked for Michel Bras in Hokkaido (the story behind this proves that overeating in New York is always a good thing to do) and he was Heston Blumenthal's sous-chef at The Fat Duck. Even though Namae-san grew up with an American-influenced diet, the chef has devoted his career to showcasing Japanese ingredients, from the artisanal wheat in the oven-baked goods at his cafe, Bricolage Bread & Co., to the menu at L'Effervescence. (The story behind the Japanese cheeses at the restaurant is pretty surprising.) He also talks about some of the memorable food he's had around the world – including his experience at Alice Waters' Chez Panisse, which he calls one of the best meals of his life. (He also has a sandwich inspired by her on his menu at Bricolage.) This episode was recorded when the chef was here last year, for Tasting Australia.
47 minutes | a year ago
Charlotte Ree – "Just Desserts"
Charlotte Ree once ate 30 different kinds of croissants during a trip to France – then got a croissant tattoo afterwards. She's so dedicated to pastries that she'll stay up until 5:30am to finish a baking marathon. Pulling 120 cakes out of the oven during the hours people reserve for sleeping – and then going to work the next day, as communications manager for Pan Macmillan (the publisher of Hetty McKinnon's cookbooks) – well, that's just a normal whirlwind day for Charlotte. Charlotte's love of all things sweet is clear on every page of Just Desserts, her latest cookbook. It features recipes for Nutella thumbprint cookies, peach and raspberry tray cake, tiramisu swiss rolls and chocolate ganache Bundt (Charlotte likes big Bundts and she can not lie). Just Desserts also includes "a nod to the king of biscuits" and is laced and frosted with a good dose of puns (sieve the day)! Charlotte talks about how to land a cookbook deal (when you're not a celebrity chef), being on the publicity trail with Hetty McKinnon, as well as Charlotte's personal baking triumphs, fails and memorable moments. Plus, we take an express trip to her favourite patisseries around the world (I've saved her Tokyo recommendations for my next trip)! Note: this was recorded a few months ago, before the current pandemic and lockdown hit. So, social distancing is paramount, but please take note of eateries you can still responsibly support as they need the help right now. And there's plenty in the podcast archive (the Christina Tosi episode, the one with Lune Croissanterie's Kate Reid!) if you're keen for a self-isolation soundtrack or audio company during this unprecedented time.
72 minutes | a year ago
Angie Prendergast-Sceats – Angie's Food, Two Good
Angie Prendergast-Sceats once was an olive oil judge, where she had to watch out for vintages that tasted like "rancid feet" and "baby vomit" (such references really did appear on the flavour chart that's deployed in these contests). But for the last three years, she's been the culinary director and head chef of Two Good, which used recipes by top chefs (Peter Gilmore, Christine Manfield, Ben Shewry) to create soups and salads that would be sent to women in domestic violence shelters. You'd order two soups: keep one and the other would be donated to someone in a refuge. The food was cooked by women from shelters, who were paid above-award wages to do so. In her role, Angie would oversee this work – and there some memorable/hilarious times when they did their cooking in a nightclub's not-so-conventional kitchen – and she also ran Two Good's Work Work program, training long-term unemployed women, refugees and disenfranchised people to help them get jobs. It was far from the aggressive stereotype of a kitchen where you could yell at someone to hurry up with the carrots; in working with people who might not know how to hold a knife or are still dealing with trauma, cooking 1000 meals a week is a different kind of challenge. We also talk about Angie's recipes – which appear in the new Two Good cookbook, her memorable trips to Japan (where she had nine bowls of ramen in five hours and visited a 1000-year-old miso shop) and what she's doing next with her Angie's Food enterprise.
39 minutes | a year ago
Monty Koludrovic – The Dolphin, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar
“I was the guy who had the cream gun explode, trying to top the iced coffee.” Monty Koludrovic's early days in hospitality were "pretty calamitous", but one triumph was ending up in the kitchen of The Boathouse at Blackwattle Bay. It was a meal there, at age 12 (that he can still recap with incredible accuracy), that inspired him to pursue a career in restaurants. Since 2014, Monty Koludrovic has overseen dishes at Icebergs Dining Room and he later became executive chef of Maurice Terzini's other venues: The Dolphin, Scout, Bondi Beach Public Bar and Ciccia Bella. Besides introducing excellent dishes (like the Tokyo 7/11 sandwich at The Dolphin), he's also played a role in the restaurant group's collaborative events, like Aperitivo Hour, where Luke Burgess might turn The Dolphin's wine room into a falafel house or Ben Shewry might DJ in a safari suit as his Attica team lay down snacks from his award-winning restaurant. There was also the pizzeria pop-up by Joe Beddia (who makes the best pizza in America, according to Bon Appétit magazine) at the Bondi Beach Public Bar and, most memorably, $1000 dinners for Good Food Month featuring Hiroyuki Sato, whose Hakkoku sushi restaurant in Tokyo has a six-month waiting list. (Despite the hefty pricetag, all six sessions sold out.) The Icebergs team built two custom sushi counters for the events and the restaurant's seafood supplier said of the beachside location: “When you’re eating fish and you look at the fish’s home, the fish tastes alive.” Monty says, “We billed it as the world’s best sushi restaurant that day.” Monty also recaps his memorable (and hilarious) time eating at the OG Hakkoku in Tokyo, which also involved an encounter with attendees of the vampire-themed bar nearby. We talk about why the quality of food in Japan is so exceptional (“You’ve got 70-year-old sous-chefs over there and they’ll never be head chef unless their dad retires”). We also discuss what's next for Monty, now that he's leaving the Icebergs group after six years, as well as his final Aperitivo Hour at The Dolphin which is on this Sunday, December 1: it's Monty's Last Supper, featuring Clayton Wells, Dan Hong, O Tama Carey, Mat Lindsay and The Venezuelans (who are copywriters and baristas who were such regulars that they ended up doing their own Aperitivo Hour after the Attica guest slot). It's on from 5-10pm, see you there!
75 minutes | 2 years ago
Josh Niland – Saint Peter, Fish Butchery
Josh Niland can make fish scales taste like sugary cereal and fish eyeballs resemble prawn crackers. In his hands, seafood can become Christmas ham, mortadella and caramel slice. He can even turn calamari sperm into something you'd want to eat (no really)! His creative, waste-free approach to using every fin and scale is a response to the typical method of ditching 60 per cent of everything caught from the sea (“How is that 40 per cent of a fish is getting all the credit?”) and his innovative thinking is showcased at his acclaimed Saint Peter restaurant, Fish Butchery shop, and within the pages of his new publication, The Whole Fish Cookbook. Niland's interest in food started not long after he was diagnosed with cancer at age eight. His mum's chicken pie and the excitement of food media offered comfort after intense chemotherapy treatment – he even pinned pictures of chefs he admired on his bedroom wall. These well-known figures later ended up applauding him when he won Best New Restaurant for Saint Peter at the first national Good Food awards. Before opening Saint Peter with his wife Julie Niland (“Julie and I thought about this restaurant for so long – in every single meal that we ate together"), Josh worked at Est., Glass and Fish Face and shares the many "hectic stories" of his culinary education. A crab-eating competition, funnily enough, led him to being mentored by Fish Face's Steve Hodges, and ultimately inspired him to open Saint Peter (which landed Niland multiple Best Chef honours and a World Restaurant Award nomination alongside Massimo Bottura and Dan Barber). It's fascinating to talk to Josh about everything from the Starlight Foundation wish he was granted as a kid to all the unending possibilities he sees in every scrap of seafood (from cultivating single-origin bottarga to using fish fat like butter in desserts). Many of these ideas are featured in his book, which René Redzepi calls, "an inspiring read, something to return to again and again", and are compelling even if you don't eat fish. (That said, I'm hoping Josh can be convinced to bring back his self-saucing potato scallop one day.)
71 minutes | 2 years ago
Jordan Toft – Bert's, Coogee Pavilion, Bar Topa, The Collaroy
Jordan Toft has been a chef for Saudi royalty and he's run a chalet in the Haute-Savoie in the French Alps. In Sydney, he's known for his work at Bert's (which was nominated for New Restaurant of the Year in the last Gourmet Traveller restaurant awards), The Collaroy, Bar Topa and Coogee Pavilion. His next venture – a restaurant on the middle floor at Coogee Pavilion – has been more than four years in the making. Jordan started his career as a teenager and has since worked with many great chefs (he was mentored by Peter Doyle during an influential stint at Est). His career has sent him to Italy and France – and we spend a lot of this conversation talking about Europe because a) Jordan had one of the best meals of his life at Michel Bras's restaurant in Laguiole, France (the lunch he ate preceding it is pretty hilarious, BTW) and b) because Jordan and I recently went on a Eurail trip that zipped through Spain, France and Switzerland. We talk about the highlights of travelling via train carriages through this part of the world while flexing a Eurail pass. Some of the memorable experiences we had included eating at Llet Crua, in Barcelona (a cheese shop that specialises in revived Catalan cheeses); foraging for wild Spanish flowers and herbs on the Costa Brava coastline with Evarist March (a "gastrobotanist" who works with the acclaimed El Celler de can Roca); eating desserts inspired by old books and Game of Thrones at Rocambolesc (the gelato parlour run by Jordi Roca, the world-renowned pastry chef); Jordan running into a strangely familiar face at a traditional Lyon restaurant; and taking ultra-scenic trains around Lake Geneva, including the GoldenPass Classic "Belle Epoque" trip up a Swiss mountain to eat mushroom fondue and see Gruyère cheese being made from two-hour-old milk at Le Chalet. Oh and there's the time Jordan bought 150 euros of jamón and schlepped it through two entire countries, too! This was a fun country-hopping conversation. Thanks to Eurail and Example's Rebecca Gibbs for making the aforementioned trip possible! You can see my Instagram Story highlights of the trip here (featured are some of the places that Jordan and I chat about during the podcast).
56 minutes | 2 years ago
Kirsha Kaechele – Eat The Problem, MONA
Sweet and sour cane-toad legs. Multiple cat recipes. A deadly cocktail you’re not meant to serve. These are some of the fascinating (and deliberately provocative) things you’ll find in Eat The Problem, the 544-page book by American artist and curator Kirsha Kaechele. It’s part cookbook and art project, with an impressive list of collaborators (including chefs Dominique Crenn, Peter Gilmore, Christine Manfield and Enrique Olvera) and pages that are filled with creative ways of dealing with invasive species (pig's eyeball margaritas or starfish-on-a-stick, anyone?). Eat The Problem is also the inspiration behind an exhibition of the same name at MONA, Hobart (running until September 2) and a guest dinner series happening on August 6 at Melbourne's Vue de Monde, Byron Bay's Harvest on August 7 and Brisbane's Urbane on August 8. Kirsha is the perfect candidate for imaginatively addressing pests, given that she grew up on Guam, which was overrun with brown snakes – the "rock star of invasive species". They even landed coverage in The New York Times and inspired WTF solutions (paracetamol-laced mice were dropped from parachutes to deal with the snake problem). Also, her wedding dress was made out of invasive deer, she carries a cane toad purse and thinks we should make candles using fat from culled animals. Thinking sustainably comes naturally to her and it was her plan to hold a zero-waste food market at MONA in 2013 that helped kickstart the Eat The Problem project. Kirsha is fascinating to talk to and she approaches the issue of sustainability like no one else – instead of being overly serious and dour, she addresses environmental issues with plenty of invention and an unmissably bright palette (the feasts that launched the Eat The Problem exhibition, after all, took place on the world's biggest rainbow-coloured glockenspiel). Even her cutlery designs, which force people to share their food or feed someone across the table, are meant to provoke conversation and social interactions. She also talks about her 24 Carrot Gardens Project and her favourite places to eat and drink in Hobart (and Sydney, too).
35 minutes | 2 years ago
Ardyn Bernoth and Roslyn Grundy - Good Food and Good Food Guide
Eating near a nuclear submarine base on a Chinese island and dining with Tamil tea pickers in Sri Lanka – these are some of the memorable meals that Ardyn Bernoth and Roslyn Grundy have experienced over the years. Given their many years covering food (Ardyn is currently the national editor of Good Food, Ros is the deputy print editor of Good Food – and both have senior roles on the Good Food Guide), it's not surprising that they've eaten far and wide. What is surprising is how restaurant life is something they both experienced very early on – when their families entered the hospitality world. Ardyn and Ros also talk about their reviewing disasters, the lengths you have to go to ensure your restaurant coverage is accurate (“stealing copies of menus is something I’ve done many times, I’m ashamed to admit”) and some of their career highlights – like interviewing your heroes (Yotam Ottolenghi, "number one cookbook writer in the world"), your story landing on the front page of the newspaper and covering fascinating people like Icebergs Dining Room and Bar restaurateur Maurice Terzini (“his energy is 10 people rolled up into one frenetic bundle"). And of course, given their role as national restaurant reviewers, they share some of their favourite places to eat around Australia (Ester, Africola and Lee Ho Fook are some of their picks).
39 minutes | 2 years ago
Luke Burgess – Only In Tokyo
Tokyo isn't the most obvious place to seek out pizza, but the wood-fired slices here are better than anything you'd find in Italy. That's what chef Luke Burgess believes – and it's a case he makes in Only In Tokyo, the new book he's co-authored with fellow chef (and Japan-o-phile) Michael Ryan. In the podcast, we really nerd out about Tokyo's best pizza spots (from the life-changing Savoy to new favourite Pizza Studio Tamaki, both photographed by Luke for the book). We also talk about the book's other Tokyo highlights (from the city's best egg sandwich to a truly next-level kaiseki restaurant), as well as discoveries that aren't documented within its pages – from a four-seater noodle joint hidden behind a pastry shop to a Norwegian-inspired bakery in a traditional part of Tokyo. (The Japan talk begins at the 16:29 mark.) We retrace Luke's fascinating career path, too: from his start at Tetsuya's, his time at Noma (where he bumped into Ben Greeno) and the launch of his memorable restaurant, Garagistes – along with the opening of MONA, it helped usher in a new wave of interest in Hobart. He talks about how he ended up buying $17,000 worth of lamb for the restaurant and why he closed Garagistes (despite being awarded Best New Talent by Gourmet Traveller). Outside of his guest chef appearances (he recently turned The Dolphin into a falafel joint), he's currently working on a Tasmanian farm – so he has good recommendations for dining in Hobart and beyond (to add to his extensive Tokyo-visiting suggestions)! PS Shout-out to Trisha Greentree and the crew at 10 William St for letting us record this podcast upstairs at their ace wine bar. PPS If you're keen for a signed, personalised copy of Only In Tokyo, check out Luke's online shop.
38 minutes | 2 years ago
Hugh Allen – Vue de Monde, Noma
You don't need a roof or floor to run a great restaurant – that's what Hugh Allen learnt while working at Noma's Mexico pop-up. And yes, there were issues. "If it rained, the guests had to come sit in the kitchen," he says. Simple things, like boiling water, became a mission that could take hours. And yet, this ended up being one of the best working experiences of his life. The chef's three years with Noma also spanned its Sydney residency and its recent relocation in Copenhagen. I met Hugh last year, after saving up to eat at Noma, and I witnessed him parading the famous celeriac shawarma. It turns out there's a secret back-story to this Instagram-winning dish (#shawarmagate) and we find out about the status of the "show shawarma". After his time at Noma, he's returned to Australia to become Vue de Monde's current executive chef. For the menu, he's experimented with wattleseed Tim Tams, billy-tea traditions and classic memories of the Aussie milk bar. He's not allowed, though, to mess with the soufflé – it's been a Vue de Monde staple for 19 years. (He does sing to it, though.) Hugh has come a long way since working at Rockpool Bar & Grill at age 15 (and later winning the Gault Millau's Potentialist of the Year award, which led to him spending quality time in France's Champagne region). We also talk about his highlights from working at Noma and Vue de Monde and he also shares his favourite places to eat in Copenhagen and Melbourne.
65 minutes | 2 years ago
Mark Best – The Final Table, Bistro by Mark Best, Marque
Imagine being a 16-year-old working in a Western Australian gold mine. This was Mark Best's life, straight after high school. It was a tough way to earn money as an electrician, so he eventually left. “I arrived in Sydney and found myself unqualified for above-ground work.” He ended up even deeper underground, claustrophobic and covered in fibreglass and varnish, trying to install battery packs on submarines at Cockatoo Island. “I literally will die if I don’t do something with my life,” he told himself. So he decided to cook professionally. Not long after this career path detour, he won the Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year award. In 1999, he opened Marque, where he maintained three chef’s hats for 10 consecutive years and was honoured with a Breakthrough Award by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. By the time of Marque's final dinner in 2016, many impressive people had worked in Mark's kitchen: Isaac McHale (now running The Clove Club in London) and Mette Søberg (current research chef at Copenhagen's Noma) spent formative periods there. Of the talented locals (Victor Liong, Daniel Pepperell, Brent Savage, Adam Wolfers, Pasi Petanen, Hanz Gueco, to name a few), three would win the Young Chef of the Year award: Dan Hong, Daniel Puskas and Lauren Eldridge. We talk about "The Pesto Years" of the 1990s, how travelling throughout France inspired Marque's beginning, the history of his calamari risotto dish, trying times in the kitchen ("I may have held a sausage to someone’s head"), the memorable last dinner at Marque and why he chose to close the restaurant. We also cover: his current role as a World Restaurant Awards judge, what it's like developing menus for cruiseships (which he does for his Bistro by Mark Best business) and his appearance on The Final Table, Netflix's cooking contest. After getting hate mail from doctors while on Masterchef, he decided to take a different onscreen approach on The Final Table (SPOILER WARNING: we talk about that show's ending, from 53:15 to 58:12 on the podcast). It was also surreal to discover his fellow competitors owned his cookbooks. (Turns out he's quite qualified for above-ground work after all.)
71 minutes | 2 years ago
Tim Watkins – Black Market Sake, Automata
Tim Watkins' parents needed a cooking course to learn how to use a microwave (which led to one Christmas turkey disaster) and he didn't eat broccoli or cauliflower until he was an adult. So life in the restaurant world might not have been the most obvious career path. After a few detours (including a stint as a shoe salesman), he ended up serving diners at acclaimed restaurants such as Pilu at Freshwater. He got a reputation for singing "Happy Birthday" in Italian to guests and he would go on to win Sommelier of the Year in the Good Food Guide for his work at Automata. We recorded this interview just before he started his new role at Black Market Sake (although we did use this as a good excuse to talk about breweries in Japan) and we also chat about the time he impersonated a Canadian Olympic athlete, went on a TV game show and witnessed quite a few forgeries. Oh and of course, we had to talk about that anti-organic-wines hashtag and his impressive collection of shorts.
65 minutes | 2 years ago
Kate Reid – Lune Croissanterie
Would you line up at two AM in zero-degree weather, just for a croissant? People would regularly do that all the time, purely for the chance to try Kate Reid's pastries. The New York Times, after all, said her croissants are "the finest you will find anywhere in the world, and alone worth a trip across the dateline". Other fans include René Redzepi, Nigella Lawson and Helen Goh. Originally, Kate spent over a decade pursuing her dream job of being an aerospace engineer for Formula One car racing. She was the only woman in her role (and in fact, there wasn't even a female toilet where she worked). But when her career aspirations crumbled, and her life in London proved hugely isolating, Kate took solace in obsessive weight loss. Her eating disorder left her dangerously ill – she was six weeks away from dying – but her recovery was a key part of her starting Lune Croissanterie in Melbourne. It was inspired by a pivotal (and entirely impromptu) visit she made to Du Pain et des Idées in Paris. After a stint at the boulangerie, Kate started selling her own croissants from a tiny space in Elwood. The blockbuster reaction was incredible (people would arrive hours before opening, with movies on their iPad to pass the time), and has since led to Lune Croissanterie opening in Fitzroy and the CBD. Even the French newspaper Le Monde has given Kate's croissants an endorsement. But she is as upfront about the lows of her career as well as the big-time highlights. I really loved talking to Kate: she's so engaging, friendly and very honest. Catch Kate being interviewed by The New York Times food editor Sam Sifton, about The Power of Obsession for Melbourne Food and Wine Festival on March 9.
56 minutes | 2 years ago
Daniel Puskas – Sixpenny
Daniel Puskas started his career slicing tomatoes, but eventually ended up in the kitchen of Alinea, the acclaimed Chicago restaurant known for turning mozzarella curds into balloons filled with tomato foam. His experience there was part of his Josephine Pignolet Young Chef of the Year prize. It's one of many honours he's earned throughout his career: he was also named the Citi Chef of the Year in 2018’s Good Food Guide, and Sixpenny is one of only three Sydney restaurants that's achieved three chef hats in the latest guide. You currently have to book two months ahead to get a table at Sixpenny. And it's worth the wait (Bar Ume's Kerby Craig cried when he last ate there). Dan worked at some all-star kitchens early in his career (at Tetsuya's, alongside Shannon Debreceny, Darren Robertson and Phil Wood; at Marque with Mark Best, Pasi Petanen, Karl Firla and Daniel Pepperell), before becoming head chef of Oscillate Wildly at age 23: he'd arrive to work on his skateboard and play Mario Kart with chef Mike Eggert before service started. At Oscillate Wildly, he met James Parry (another Young Chef of the Year winner), and they took Bob, their sourdough starter from the restaurant, and opened Sixpenny together in 2012. The menu is truly inspired, even down to its bread (including the ‘recycled’ loaf transformed with spent coffee grounds and golden syrup), and features fascinating ingredients (from emu eggs to anise hyssop). Sixpenny’s current sommelier Bridget Raffal is aiming for gender equality on her wine list. Dan is really open about the restaurant’s ups and downs (from the time he sat on a champagne glass, because he was shocked Sixpenny hadn’t scored two hats – to its recent ascension to three-hat status). He also shares some very funny stories from the many acclaimed restaurants he's worked in – he was truly great to talk to.
81 minutes | 2 years ago
Caitlyn Rees – Cirrus, Fred's, Momofuku Seiobo
How to make cider from 300-year-old pear trees, what it's like to work alongside Dan Barber at one of the world's best restaurants and how it feels scoring Gourmet Traveller's Sommelier of the Year award – Caitlyn Rees can give you a first-hand account of all of these standout experiences. When she was at Fred's in Sydney (where she served fascinating wines from the Adelaide Hills to Armenia), she was singled out by Gourmet Traveller as Australia's best sommelier in the magazine's 2018 restaurant guide. And because she won Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s Hostplus Hospitality Scholarship, she ended up doing time at three places on her worldwide wish list: Relae in Copenhagen (a Michelin-starred restaurant that upended her expectations about how chefs and wait staff should work together), Dan Barber's Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York (her behind-the-scenes stories about this acclaimed restaurant are truly amazing) and helping Eric Bordelet in Normandy, the ex-Arpège sommelier who collects fruit from centuries-old trees to make his famously great cider. She also talks about the "rough red" that her grandfather made (and how it was her first encounter with booze), her time at Momofuku Seiobo (another wish-list job of hers), why she left Fred's (even though she loved working there) and what she's currently doing at Cirrus. Plus, a tragic story about suitcase wines and we hear her list of favourite places to eat and drink in Sydney (including the restaurant where she's spent practically all of her birthdays).
42 minutes | 2 years ago
Carlo Mirarchi – Roberta's, Blanca
A near-death experience in Australia plays a surprising role in the launch of Roberta's, the much-loved New York pizzeria. When Carlo Mirarchi almost drowned on the NSW coastline, it inspired him to rethink his career path – and galvanised him to help start Roberta's in Bushwick. In 2007, it opened with such a minimal set-up (there was no gas and staff had to boil water in the wood-fired oven), so the chef often prepped food at home before getting to the restaurant. Despite its lo-fi beginnings, Roberta's would end up ranked #6 on list of 20 Most Important Restaurants by Bon Appétit and Mirarchi himself was named Best New Chef by Food + Wine. Roberta's would also inspire a frozen pizza range, an LA location and, when it was targeted by Pizzagate conspiracy theorists, its team responded in the best way possible: by launching a beer named Pizzagate. Mirarchi also runs Blanca, an ambitious Michelin-starred restaurant that has been reviewed by Pete Wells twice. The chef talks about what it's like to be on the other side of a New York Times review, plus: where he's had the best pizza in the world (“it changed my life”), whether pineapple is a legit ingredient on pizza, and we cover the origin story behind his collaboration with Lennox Hastie for Firedoor's fantastic Fireside series last month. For this occasion, Mirarchi brought Roberta's to Sydney via the Fire & Slice pop-up event, which took place at Firedoor and involved the Gelato Messina crew helping out on tiramisu-making and other duties. Also: shout-out to Lauren and Claire for listening to this podcast!
Terms of Service
Do Not Sell My Personal Information
© Stitcher 2021