TAKING ON THE PROS
It’s not just another cooking contest: Benowa home cook Larissa Sattler and Kiyomi chef Chase Kojima are in for a food fight
AGold Coast home cook will step up to the hot plate as part of an all-new food series premiering on Monday. Each week The Chefs’ Line will focus on a different cuisine that drives Australia’s food culture, with novice cooks challenging an entire chefs’ line from some of the country’s best restaurants – and they’re leaving the drama in the kitchen where it belongs.
The dishes will be judged by three of Australia’s hottest culinary stars: Mr Wong executive chef Dan Hong, renowned indigenous chef Mark Olive and leading food writer Melissa Leong.
Benowa physiotherapist Larissa Sattler entered the show and took part in Japanese week, working alongside Kiyomi executive chef Chase Kojima.
The avid foodie wasn’t worried about being tarred by the reality TV brush.
“When SBS advertised wanting home cooks I trusted in the SBS branding and trusted that I love their shows,” she says.
“I thought if it wasn’t going down a path that was respectful to the contestants and food I could pull out but I’m so glad I gave it a shot.
“Everyone is so positive and lovely, it’s a wonderful celebration of home cooking.”
While there’s a flood of food shows on every Australian channel, Larissa assures us The Chefs’ Line is not just another cooking contest.
“It was a contest but still at the core it was a celebration and that’s what makes it different,” she says.
“It wasn’t about drama – although there was drama in kitchen – but it was about celebrating the culture and cuisine of the region.
“It’s always nice to get through each night, but at the end of the day it was just fun to be part of it.”
If you’ve found yourself becoming tired of the classic roles mainstream television producers tend to assign contestants, this show might be for you.
“The show doesn’t milk anything or twist it – that’s what sets this show apart,” Larissa says.
“I was so surprised how positive the producers and judges and everything was.
“They wanted everyone to have fun and genuinely do their best.
“Some shows seem to care more about the people and their backstories then the cooking – this show is all about the food.”
Larissa never set out to be on a TV show, but she’s used to high pressure situations in the kitchen, regularly hosting for friends and family.
“Cooking is for me and my family and kids and what I cook is to fit into a healthy family lifestyle,” she says.
“I really had no aspirations beyond cooking for family and friends and holding dinner parties.
“I love having dinner parties and when you have young children sometimes it’s easier to host at home – you can have a few wines and there’s no rushing home to the babysitter.”
Although Larissa’s heritage is not Japanese, it’s her go-to cuisine, whether it be cooking at home or eating out.
“For me I love eating Japanese first and foremost and beyond that I love cooking with Japanese ingredients,” she says.
“I don’t have a lot of Japanese tradition but I do love to take traditional Japanese ingredients and present them in a modern Australian way.
“My cooking isn’t bound by tradition. For me it’s about using great ingredients and produce.”
Those great ingredients might include anything from enoki mushrooms to fresh fish.
“Because I’m a physio I’m quite health conscious, so the ingredients I like to work with are very good for you,” Larissa says.
“For example, miso and pickled vegetables that are good for digestion.
“Japanese ingredients are very seafood focused ... I do use red meat, but it’s generally more seafood, with all different mushrooms, seaweed, soba noodles and buckwheat noodles. Dinner for the kids might be as simple as homemade teriyaki with soba and edamame.
“Japanese food is very family friendly and quick. The flavours enhance the ingredients rather than overpower them.”
But if you’re not so savvy in the kitchen, Larissa has a couple of hot tips where you can find delicious Japanese eats right here.
“In terms of restaurants we’re so lucky on the Gold Coast,” she says.
“Kiyomi is obviously excellent for high-end Japanese.
“As I have a family I find Donto Sapporo at Broadbeach and Itoshin at Mermaid are excellent and both have been there for more than 20 years.
“Anything that’s been there for 20 years you know they’re on to something good.” The Chefs’ Line premieres Monday at 6pm on SBS
Benowa home cook Larissa Sattler will appear on new SBS show The Chef's Line.