Interviwed by Susan Streit, De Gustibus Blogger
Are any of the elements of the food you grew up eating in Australia in your cooking here in New York?
No. I do not think there are any individual elements of Australian food in my cooking. Traditional Australian food comes from a broad range of ingredients from many cultures. Influences from the English and other traditional European countries play a role, but there is such a large range in the cuisine. The ingredients include lots of fresh seafood, given Australia’s location, and fruits and vegetables, and many Indian and Asian spices. I would have to say that there is more Indian and Asian influence in Australian food, and less traditional European.
You’ve worked at very prestigious restaurants in Australia, Switzerland, France, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. What ultimately brought you to New York City?
New York is the biggest and best city to make a name for yourself.
When you came last year from One if by Land, Two if by Sea, what were the first changes you made to Le Cirque?
There were just a few things, at first. Le Cirque didn’t have a chef for a month or two. I changed the sauces and the making of sauces. Sourcing of ingredients was another thing I changed.
You first came to cooking as a way to supplement your surfing career. As an executive chef, now, do you ever find the time to surf?
Do you cook on your day off?
I do, at home, sometimes. It’s very simple, usually.
Where do you like to grocery shop in New York City?
I live near a great Whole Foods, and I like to go to the [Tribeca] Greenmarket in my neighborhood and see what they have available there.
Any items the fall menu at Le Cirque right now that you are particularly excited about?
We are still at the end of summer in the menu, but seasonal items to come include venison, white truffles, shaved salads. The soup will probably change to an artichoke soup.
Do you see yourself turning into a restauranteur in the near future?
Yes, I do.