Adam Liaw, MasterChef Australia winner and host of the new SBS food and wine television series, Destination Flavour, will be heating up the Essential Energy Cooking Demonstration Arena at the Tastings on Hastings 2012.
Tell us about your background; how did your passion for cooking come about?
I think a passion for cooking always comes from a passion for eating first. I grew up with some great cooks, my grandmother and my mother, and I learnt a lot from them. Then as I grew up, I moved around a lot and lived in and visited a lot of different countries – Japan, China, India and all through South East Asia – and so I got to experience a real variety of cuisines.
Known as the winner of TV’s MasterChef, what are some of your latest projects?
Lately I’ve just finished filming Destination Flavour for SBS, which airs on Thursday evenings at 8pm, which has been great fun. I got to travel around to experience some of the best food and produce in Australia and meet some amazing chefs, producers and other people involved in the food industry.
How do you feel about being a guest at one of the biggest culinary events on the Mid North Coast, Tastings 2012?
I’m really excited, because Port Macquarie has been one of my favourite places to visit since I moved to Sydney. It’s so close and convenient for a quick getaway and of course, the food is fantastic.
Will this be your first visit to Port Macquarie?
I try to get up to Port Macquarie at least once a year.
What are some of the places you have been lucky to visit during your food career? What has been your favourite foodie travel experience so far?
I’ve been lucky enough to travel a fair bit cooking, eating and writing, and I just got back from a long trip where I was writing some articles while traveling around Japan, and then I ended up in South Africa cooking at the Good Food & Wine Show in Johannesburg. It was such a new experience eating things like springbok, ostrich and kudu!
Give us some ideas as to what will you be showcasing in the Essential Energy Cooking Demonstration Arena?
The way I cook is really about introducing people to how easy, healthy and quick real Asian food is. Asian cuisines have come from peasant beginnings, and that makes them cheap, fast and easy, which are qualities that make it perfect for busy people today.
What are you looking forward to about the event?
I’m really looking forward to meeting a lot of the local producers from the region and understanding more about the regional produce from the area. I think these days that is something that’s so important.
What are some of your favourite dishes, flavours and ingredients?
I think my favourite dish of all time would have to be Hainanese Chicken Rice. It’s something I grew up with and something that is relatively simple to make (but very hard to perfect). I love eating it and making it, because even though I’ve made it literally hundreds of times, I always keep trying to improve it. It’s a great example of a simple dish with perfect balance that anyone can make.
What is your advice for aspiring chefs in the industry?
First of all, I’m not a chef, so my advice is probably more for people who just want to cook better at home. I think the most important thing for home cooks is just to try new things. It’s very easy to get stuck in a rut cooking the same old dishes again and again, but mixing it up once in a while is really essential.
Do you have any future career plans – what’s your next project going to be?
At the moment, my next project is my next cookbook, which I’m almost finished writing at the moment. It’s all about simple Asian cooking and the way I used to cook when I was working full-time as a lawyer. I know what it’s like to feel like you never have enough time in the kitchen. A little more time in the kitchen and it’ll be done, so it should be out sometime towards the middle of next year.
Interview by Jasmin Johansson.