My love of food and travel from a young age is why l decided to enter hospitality. After finishing my apprenticeship at Crown in Melbourne, I’ve been fortunate to work extensively in a number of countries throughout America, Asia, Europe and Africa.
I opened my own restaurant, Steak Ministry, in Melbourne in 2013. It was there that MLA’s corporate chef Sam Burke named me the #Steakmaestro three years ago. I’ve since turned the title into an international business with a #Steakmaestro Australian native product line and a restaurant pop-up country.
There’s no replacement for the flavour that comes from grilling your food. Cooking over fire gives a wonderful barbecue charred flavour on all produce from our world-class Australian beef and lamb to seafood and vegetables. I love every aspect whether it’s sourcing and purchasing quality ingredients, preparing them for cooking or the actual moment when start grilling — that’s when I get to put my skills to use and bring the final product to eating perfection.
Grilling can be a very fast cooking method with amazing results, but the ingredients must be prepared properly; once the food is on the grill, you only get once chance to achieve the results you want. Primal cuts of meat such as fillet, porterhouse, scotch fillet and rump suit grilling the best. I prefer a thick cut Scotch fillet — approximately 3–4 centimetres thick — because it’s got a nice amount of fat in each piece. It’s good to leave some of the fat on. When it starts to melt and drips on the fire, the flames will lead caramelisation and burnt ends on the meat. And that’s definitely what you’re looking for.
A good barbecue or grilling pan is just as important as quality ingredients and heat control is essential during cooking. Starting with a cold grill or fridge cold meat will not work. You need to begin with a very hot grill and then temper the heat if needed. Temperatures that are too hot or too cold will make it difficult to achieve a beautiful outside crust while cooking to preferred “done-ness”.
I like to use the whole range of TABASCO® Sauces as it enlivens the flavours of the grilling. It’s fun to change up the flavours — sometimes going extra hot with the TABASCO® Habanero Sauce or milder with the TABASCO® Green Sauce made with jalapeños. Ultimately, my favourite is the TABASCO® Chipotle Sauce, which has a distinct smokey and full bodied spice as well as thick texture. I use it to finish everything from steak and grilled chicken dishes to fried eggs and Wagyu bolognaise, plus I use it to make mayonnaise. It’s a memorable palate kick!