Hospo at Home with Mitch Orr
Hospitality finds out what industry professionals have been doing to stay motivated and upbeat during an otherwise trying time. Even as restrictions begin to lift, things will remain different for many hospitality workers; maintaining connections with peers and skills is important, but so is cutting yourself some slack.
What have you been doing to stay motivated during shutdown?
It hasn’t been easy! Like everyone, there are good days and bad days. Doing the Instagram posts was a way to occupy myself and engage with my followers and our customers. I’ve been trying to keep up my yoga practice (I get distracted very easily at home) and have been going for walks to the Botanic Gardens when the weather has been nice.
AdvertisementView this post on Instagram
STEP BY STEP PASTA FAGIOLI: This is one of my all time fav pastas, I think it is extremely underrated. This is a vegan version, but you can add some pancetta if that tickles your pickle. I use tinned beans because I am too lazy to use dried. 1: Sauté the garlic and eshies in some evoo, once they start to soften add in your beans (I could only find butter beans, but I prefer cannellini). Reserve some beans for the next step. Keep sautéing until the beans start to soften and break up. You can add a splash of wine, or water, or kombu stock. Season it! Cook for another 7ish minutes until everything is really nice and soft. Blitz into a beautiful smooth purée. You want the consistency of a soup. 2: In a pan with some evoo, sauté the cherry tomatoes, give them a little squish to encourage their juices, add in the remaining beans and a pinch of shio kombu. Let them sauté and the flavours mingle. 3: Cook your pasta. Honestly just overcook it if that’s how you like it. 4: Add in some nap sauce to the pan of cherry toms, add in your bean purée. Combine them into a sauce. You can adjust the consistency with some kombu stock or water. 5: Add in your pasta and a handful of chopped parsley. You can eat this dish as a pasta soup, I prefer it more as a pasta sauce. Check the seasoning, maybe a fat crack of pepper. Serve it up! You can also grate a truckload of parmo over it if you wish!Advertisement
How have you navigated productivity with timeout?
I honestly think it’s an individual thing. Not everyone can be productive in these circumstances. I have days or even weeks where I do really well, and then days where I really can’t get out of bed. I think it’s important to do what’s best for you and not beat yourself up about it too much. I do really think that being active and making that effort helps so much, even if it’s something small.
What made you want to do the Instagram recipes?
I wanted to do something to occupy myself and engage with people. We all know that everyone went and panic bought dry pasta and tinned tomatoes. I figured some simple pastas with items everyone has in their pantry would be a good place to start. I wanted to show that these dishes are classics for a reason and they’re also simple to do really well. The thought of the sh*t half-an-hour Bolognese everyone would be making was honestly depressing. Everyone had time and nothing better to do! Let’s make it properly. Time and care are often the secret ingredients.
View this post on Instagram
STEP BY STEP BOLOGNESE: This takes time! You got fired on your day off and you ain’t got shit to do! Let it take the time, look after it, care for it, be gentle with it. 1: In a heavy based pot place a good slurp of extra virgin olive oil, the carrots, celery, onion & garlic (you can blitz them in a food processor or practice your knife skills). Sprinkle in the oregano. Start sautéing over medium heat, after about 10-15 mins turn the heat down nice and low. Continue to cook, probably for 45 mins to 1 hour. Stir regularly, don’t let it stick!! This is important to develop flavour. It should be a nice even golden brown. 2: Add the meat and turn the heat back up to medium high. Stir and cook until all the meat is browned. Turn the heat back down to a low medium, add the tomato paste. Cook the tomato paste out for 30 mins, again stirring on the regular. 3: Add some water to the pot, stir it in and continue to cook the sauce over a low heat. The sauce should simmer, it shouldn’t be popping off making a mess, let it go for at least an hour and a half, you can add a little water as you go to keep the sauce at a luscious consistency. Put some RnB on and let it sing to the sauce. * Note: you can use milk instead of water, you can use wine instead of water. I had no milk and I don’t drink. I wouldn’t recommend putting your cup of tea in there. 4: Season the sauce. We’re using soy sauce and fish sauce for the extra umami (shout outs @danielpepperell). Taste! Does it taste like a white lady named Becky seasoned it? Add more. 5: In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente. 6: Add the pasta to the sauce. You can throw a fat knob of butter or another slurp of extra virgin olive oil in if you like. Stir it up, let it cohabitate and become one. Again the sauce should be thicc and wrap it’s legs around the pasta. Check the seasoning again. Eat it and add as much parmo as you like.
How have you stayed connected to other chefs, suppliers and diners?
I’m really lucky that people like Josh [Niland] reached out to see if there was a way to utilise my skills and passion during the lockdown. It helped keep a voice in the public eye and hopefully showed a new market a bit of what we do at CicciaBella. I’ve been in constant conversation with a lot of my peers like Pasi Petanen, Clayton Wells, Dan Puskas and Hongy [Dan Hong]. Phil Wood also organised a weekly Zoom trivia for a few of us (Kylie Javier Ashton, Mikey Clift, Luke Powell to name a few). It’s been hilarious and something we wouldn’t usually do. It gives us a few hours a week to connect, catch up, give each other advice and support, and most importantly, a lot of laughs.
Read what other hospitality professionals have been up to in Hospitality’s June/July issue.