Surfing, good food, travel and adventure are pretty high up our list of favourite things but are usually reserved for weekends and holidays. For Hayden Quinn, however, they are just part of his everyday life. As the co-host of Surfing the Menu – Next Generation, Hayden brings together his greatest joys to take audiences on a delicious journey across Australia.
LET’S START FROM THE BEGINNING – WHERE DID YOUR PASSION FOR FOOD AND COOKING COME FROM?
My food passion came firstly from my mum and from family life. Mum was an amazing cook and a home economist when I was young so we would always cook at home and rarely ate out – the family dinner table was very important to us. Being around that sort of passion was quite influential and I would spend a lot of time in the kitchen with her, nagging and asking as many questions as possible so that I could learn more about food. From there as I grew up, I needed to fend for myself and also loved sharing food with others. This growing love of food was a reason to train, an excuse to be creative, and a moment to savour when I was travelling.
AUSTRALIAN AUDIENCES WERE FIRST INTRODUCED TO YOU ON SERIES THREE OF MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA. WHAT WAS THE MOST VALUABLE THING YOU LEARNT FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE ON THE SHOW?
Be yourself. It’s true in television and also in life.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR TELEVISION SERIES SURFING THE MENU – NEXT GENERATION?
Surfing the Menu – Next Generation (#STMnextgen) is all about two Aussie blokes (Dan Churchill and myself) and their love for food, surfing, travel and adventure. We roadtrip from Shark Bay in Western Australia to Byron Bay on the East Coast. It’s a massive adventure in which we meet lovable characters and share stories, food and a couple of laughs …
YOU’VE BEEN BUSY FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS – AS TELEVISION PRESENTER, AUTHOR, BUSINESS OWNER, AMBASSADOR FOR AUSTRALIA, ADVOCATE FOR STARLIGHT AND THE 2012 CLEO BACHELOR OF THE YEAR. WHAT EXCITING PROJECTS CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE FROM YOU IN THE FUTURE?
I have been very fortunate to do some amazing things and work on some great projects with so many people. Coming up, 2017 is looking pretty busy. We are currently working on two new TV concepts for both here in Australia and also internationally, which is very exciting. There is potentially another book (or two) in the works, I’m writing for delicious. magazine as a contributor, plus there are probably a million other things I have forgotten. Oh, and I would love to be coming back to South Bank for Regional Flavours!
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE CULINARY EXPERIENCE?
Well I have a short memory, so this is from quite recently! The salad of roasted organic carrots at the Cured & Cultured Counter at Bennelong inside the Sydney Opera House is possibly the best thing I have eaten in the Southern Hemisphere.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE INGREDIENT TO WORK WITH, AND WHY?
Octopus! I love it! It’s one of those ingredients that I think people are generally a little scared of, but with a few simple techniques it can be your best friend and give you such a variety of dishes. Now I am not going to say I cook with it every week, but it is one of my favourites for sure.
DO YOU HAVE AN ALL-TIME FAVOURITE DISH TO COOK AND/OR EAT?
My all-time favourite style of dish to cook would be a super fragrant and spicy curry. To eat (laughs), that would have to be a good old classic Portuguese chicken burger from the chicken shop!
IF WE TOOK A PEEK INSIDE YOUR GROCERY BASKET, WHAT WOULD WE FIND?
Hmm … green beans, brussels sprouts, butter, garlic, chocolate (and chocolate ice-cream) and flowers for my girlfriend!