1. Your restaurant/business:
Hartsyard; Newtown, Sydney.
2. Describe your kitchens:
Small, efficient and definitely not flash.
3. Favourite Chef item and why:
Utility shirt; it’s very egalitarian.
4. First job:
A Dishwasher in a restaurant back home in America – I loved hanging out with Mexicans, slam dunking glass racks, running really fast and sliding over wet kitchen floors (not in proper shoes).
5. Your cookbook:
Fried Chicken and Friends – The friendly fried chicken. Producing a cookbook wasn’t actually in the cards but we were approached by Terry Durack and Jill Dupleix and couldn’t pass up the opportunity. I enjoyed all aspects of it except the early Tuesday mornings spent dictating recipes.
You can purchase ‘Fried Chicken and Friends’ here: http://hartsyard.com.au/shop/
Opening another business and still remaining sane.
7. Your cooking inspiration:
A TV guy, Pasquale, this old Italian guy, he used to ride his bike to the markets. He was on TV at like 3:30 or 4 in the afternoon, I was probably 12-13 – I would watch it every day after school. It was all in Italian. My style is salty, fatty, greasy – Believe it or not I love vegetable.
8. Your speciality dish:
Fried Chicken. It’s probably the most exact and precise thing that we do. Things are measured exactly and things are timed. The chickens are received the same day, it’s butchered the same day, and it’s brined the same day. We don’t deviate from the process which makes it consistent.
9. Favourite dish to eat:
Pizza. New York style pizza, two slices not too hot. It’s the perfect meal. Try dipping hot pizza in beer.
10. Wierdest thing you have ever eaten:
Balut - fertilised egg – a friend of the family who is Filipino gave it to me. I actually asked her as I was curious. It tasted like chicken but I couldn’t finish it.
11. Favourite ice cream flavour:
Half-Baked Ben & Jerrys.
12. Favourite drink:
JD – neat.
13. Favourite wine:
Anything with bubbles!
14. Who would you most like to cook for:
My family. We try to cook every Monday together with my wife’s family. Boxed, cold fried chicken or my mother’s chicken a la king (fettucine with broccoli, cream, cheese and chicken). Most birthday dinners featured chicken a la king and apple crisps.
15. Who would you least like to cook for:
Vegans…my menu is very meat orientated.
16. Favourite things to do outside of the kitchen:
Reading cookbooks and watching terrible TV.
17. Your latest project:
The Gretz – a neighbourhood drinking establishment with a seafood focus.
18. Favourite city and why:
Oslo, Norway – Perfect sized and has all the elements perfectly balanced.
19. Your greatest indulgence:
Any takeaway order. Food that you don’t cook yourself often tastes better.
20. Your all time best culinary tip:
Do it because you love it!
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