Your favourite recipe you cook for yourself?
The lamb chops at Cassia are our favourite “go to” recipe on the weekend. I often recreate them at home on the yakitori grill.
The one thing you always have in your fridge?
Truffle mayonnaise, I can dollop it on pretty much everything.
If you could impart one piece of cooking knowledge to everyone, what would it be?
Cook with instinct, always, it is great to follow a recipe the first time you cook something unfamiliar but it is also amazing to add to the recipe or tweak it to your liking. You might improve on it.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I couldn’t eat just one food for the rest of my life, it would be a dreary existence, but if I had to choose, it would be seafood as it is so versatile.
Can you recall the moment when you knew you wanted to pursue a career in food?
When I was at the hospitality training college in India I was given the option of working with food or being front of house. When I experienced my first few days in the kitchen I knew that’s where I wanted to be.
Your go-to dinner party meal?
A spin on Peking duck, we use five spice and cook the duck on the rotisserie on our BBQ.
Who is your food hero?
Rene Redzepi for his approach to minimalism and sustainability in cooking and Ferran Adria for his contribution to avant-garde cuisine.
What music, if any, do you like to listen to while cooking?
Our resident DJ is our eight year old daughter Zoya. She is in charge of the Spotify list at home, so it’s usually set to NZ Top 50.
Biggest kitchen disaster?
When I was an apprentice chef I put salt instead of sugar in a walnut sponge and the whole batch was ruined.
Your guilty pleasure?
In all your travels, where have you experienced the best food (and what was it)?
Bali for all the flavours in the cuisine - your palate can have a party from breakfast to sundown. Authentic Indonesian restaurants in New Zealand are rare and I often find myself yearning to go back to Bali for a taste of their cuisine.
Is there one cookbook you go back to time and time again?
Sepia by Martin Benn, an Australian chef. Sepia doesn’t exist anymore and I can’t wait to try Martin Benn’s new Melbourne offering, but in the meantime I refer to the recipes and techniques in the cookbook.
The kitchen utensil you can't live without?
Microplane, it’s great for everything from nutmeg to parmesan to lemon rind.
You're currently craving?
Hainanese Chicken and rice from Singapore. We are going there on holiday soon but it is not soon enough. I can’t wait to try it at the Hawker Markets again.
Any advice to new cooks?
Start with basic recipes to build your confidence, cooking is like learning a new language, you learn the ABC’s and then build sentences before you know it you are creating poetry by combining unusual ingredients or mastering hard techniques. Practice makes perfect. ends