5 Minutes with George Calombaris

Best known for his judging role on Network Ten’s Masterchef, George Calombaris is a force to be reckoned with.  Not only does he have a ‘Chef of the Year’ title under his belt, but his flagship Melbourne restaurant, The Press Club, was awarded The Age Good Food Guide ‘Best New Restaurant’ in 2008 as well. Luckily for us, George is heading our way for Brisbane’s Good Food and Wine Show which will be held this weekend at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

We took five with George to discuss all things (good!) food and wine-related…

What are you looking forward to most at this year’s Good Food and Wine Show?
I can’t wait, as my new cookbook, GREEK is out, so I’ll be around signing copies for everyone after my demonstrations.

We’re most looking forward to your cooking demonstration! Can you give us a hint at what you’ll be ‘plating up’ for us and what techniques we are set to learn from you?
Yes, I’m going to be cooking 3 recipes from my new book, all easy to make at home, including a delicious dessert I like to call it Hellenic mess!

The Good Food and Wine Show is based in Brisbane’s iconic South Bank precinct. Are you looking forward to checking out any local South Bank restaurants or spots while you are here?
Yes, I love Brisbane, the weather is always that bit nicer. The South Bank precinct has a number of incredible restaurants so it’s hard to pick one. I always hit up my great mate Alastair McLeod for some local tips too.

When you get some downtime from the work kitchen, what do you cook when you are at home and how does your cooking differ between the two (work and home)?
To be honest, I don’t really cook much at home, I find it a bit domestic in a sense as I love getting into my kitchens at the restaurants and being really creative. I’m also really lucky that my partner is such a great cook at home and makes delicious, healthy meals!

Your food is very much connected to your heritage and family, who has had the greatest influence on your cooking and why?
Yes, I draw a lot of inspiration from my own culture and upbringing, my mum and grandmother were always in the kitchen together, while I was on the other side of the bench watching – never allowed in the kitchen, at home it was a place for the women. But I love getting over to Greece when I can to see what’s happening in the food scene there. I am proud to be an Australian with strong Greek roots.

Having traveled extensively for work, we can imagine you have had some truly memorable food experiences, which one stands out most in your mind and why?
I am extremely lucky indeed, and sometimes I have to pinch myself. However I just ate at DINNER by Heston at Crown Melbourne when it opened and it was truly delicious, Australia is really attracting such world renowned great chefs these days, we forget how lucky we are.

In the last season of Masterchef you demonstrated a few ‘food trends’ which were dominating the industry at the time, what’s your hot tip to be ‘the next big foodie trend’ in 2016?
Hmm yes, I reckon the food that tastes ‘yum’ is the food that is driven by technique. We can’t just get away with putting a carrot on a plate. People go out for an experience it’s our job to give them one.

Pssst…Our friends at the Good Food and Wine Show are offering eatSouthBank readers 20% off tickets!

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