Gareth Stewart was only 18 when he received his first culinary big break. He began his successful career by working at Claridge's Hotel in London. Eventually, Gareth returned home, where he is now the National Executive Chef for the Nourish Group and a columnist for dish. He believes in keeping things simple and listening to jazz while cooking.
Your favourite recipe you cook for yourself?
I love ackee and salt fish. Ackee is a tinned fruit from Jamaica and when I can find salt fish I will buy as much as I can for a Sunday brunch dish cooked with tomato, onion, capsicum and scotch bonnet. I’m the only one at home who likes it so it’s all mine!
The one thing you always have in your fridge?
Parmigiano-Reggiano – an essential for pasta.
If you could impart one piece of cooking knowledge to everyone, what would it be?
The cliché is always “keep it simple”, but you also have to plan your prep well. Organisation is key when cooking, to avoid ending up in a big ol’ mess.
If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Curry. I could eat curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Can you recall the moment when you knew you wanted to pursue a career in food?
I remember being at a dinner party at around nine years old and helping the host in the kitchen, reaping the reward of all the delicious leftovers. I’ve loved food ever since.
Your go-to dinner party meal?
Low and slow-cooked lamb shoulder. You just can’t beat it.
What music, if any, do you like to listen to while cooking?
It all started with listening to jazz in the kitchen when I was quite young and now you won’t find me cooking alone without it. The two go hand in hand.
Biggest kitchen disaster?
Your guilty pleasure?
Minute noodles, but I’ll never admit it…
In all your travels, where have you experienced the best food?
Anything I’ve eaten while in LA. The city has the best food scene. The standards are high and the produce is amazing.
Is there one cookbook you go back to time and time again?
I Love New York by Daniel Humm, for obvious reasons.
The kitchen utensil you can't live without?
The simple but effective potato peeler. Not perhaps as multifunctional as others, but it sure does save a lot of time.
You're currently craving?
Sushi – always.
Any advice to new cooks?
Read as much as you can, taste and question everything. Never settle for mediocre food and always work in the best restaurants.