Simple food the best recipe – chef
MasterChef 2012 winner and food writer Chelsea Winter will share her kitchen secrets with foodies at The Food Show this weekend. The Pt Chevalier chef talks with reporter Jess Lee about the art of cooking a good steak and not being afraid of a bit of butt
Where is your favourite place to get coffee in central Auckland?
Good One in Ponsonby. It’s a cool little place – they’re incredibly passionate about coffee and it really packs a punch. It’s nice to go there and immerse yourself in coffee culture.
Where in central Auckland would you go for a casual meal?
The Blue Breeze Inn. Their pork belly steamed buns are amazing. They have really good service and tasty food.
Where would you go if you fancy something a bit more highend, or for a celebration?
SPQR or Depot. Always great food.
Is there a dish you’ve eaten recently that you wish you could have the recipe for?
We’ve just got back from Italy and the hotel in Florence had the most incredible breakfast buffet I have ever seen. I ran out of time to ask for the recipe for their dark chocolate torte but I’m going to try making it in the next couple of days.
I’m not opposed to asking chefs for their recipes – some are quite happy to do it.
What do you like about the food culture in Auckland?
We’re spoilt for choice in Auckland for a start. The standard is so high and there’s such a huge variety of different food types and cultures. That’s something you notice especially when travelling overseas.
What’s the most important lesson for beginner cooks?
Start with what you know and with ingredients you are comfortable using. Don’t try to make really fancy, fine dining food straight out of the box. Just make good, simple food.
Taking it back to basics – having a really sharp knife is so important, even if you just invest in one really good one. The importance of seasoning and having a nice balance of salt – I’m pretty sure we all know that now though. And not being scared of a little bit of butter in cooking.
What do you think the next big food trend will be?
I’ve never followed trends. I cook what I like and know and what I know other people will like. I’m always open to trying new ingredients but I would never change my style of cooking to suit a trend.
What’s your winter dish?
My chicken pie or lamb shank are both really popular.
What’s your secret to cooking a good steak? Are there any classic mistakes that people make?
Before you even start, make sure you buy New Zealand steak – some of the best beef in the world comes from New Zealand. Bring the steak to room temperature before you start cooking it. A common mistake people make is not having the pan hot enough before it goes in so it doesn’t heat evenly.
Honest cooking: Chelsea Winter will host free cooking demonstrations tomorrow and on Sunday at The Food Show.