Dave was born in New Zealand, has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants such as Heston Blumenthal's The Fat Duck and currently lives and works in Melbourne. Here, he's the head chef for a well-established eatery. He strongly believes in the importance of seasoning and has a soft spot for Italian food, including fresh filled pasta.
Your favourite recipe you cook for yourself?
I make a Fennel, Lemon, Parmesan and Rice Soup that cures absolutely everything!
The one thing you always have in your fridge?
A minimum of four bottles of vermouth.
If you could impart one piece of cooking knowledge to everyone, what would it be?
Learn to season properly – salt plus acidity.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be?
Can you recall the moment when you knew you wanted to pursue a career in food?
As a child, I was completely fascinated by Yan Can Cook.
Your go-to dinner party meal?
I don't cook meat at home, so I would normally make some kind of fresh filled pasta like rotolo. Or a lasagna of wild mushrooms, nuts and greens, and then a baked dessert with good ice cream.
Who is your food hero?
Internationally – Jamie Oliver. He's a guy who's used his influence to actually try to make a considerable change for good, with no ego or ulterior motive. Locally – Stephanie Alexander. Her kitchen garden foundation is an incredible initiative that aims to educate primary age children about the benefits of eating well, through engagement and hands-on involvement.
What music, if any, do you like to listen to while cooking?
It really depends on how many people we have booked that night.
Biggest kitchen disaster?
I once worked in a kitchen where someone accidentally spilt four litres of beetroot consommé in the walk-in fridge... and then requested to be paid what he was owed so that he could leave.
Your guilty pleasure?
Cheap couverture chocolate.
In all your travels, where have you experienced the best food?
My partner is Sri Lankan and we just spent three weeks travelling the whole country, eating the most incredible food. Everywhere you go you'll find sour buffalo milk curd with varying kinds of palm treacle – that is one of the most simple and satisfying things I've ever eaten.
Is there one cookbook you go back to time and time again?
The second and thirdTartine books.
The kitchen utensil you can't live without?
You're currently craving...?
A summer holiday.
Any advice to new cooks?
Find someone you respect who will teach you. Work hard, learn as much as you can and don't think you're going to become famous.