I am SO delighted to have some very special guests on the blog today.
My Australian readers – especially the ones from Tasmania – will already be very familiar with Thalia and Bianca. They are two beautiful ladies, University of Tasmania students, and extremely talented chefs, who recently made it to the top five of My Kitchen Rules (and should really have made it even further, grumble grumble…).
Thalia and Bianca made a point on My Kitchen Rules of showcasing the wonderful food produce that Tasmania has to offer, and it seems especially appropriate to publish this interview with them today, given that it has just been announced that later this year Tassie will host a major gala event for the world’s biggest foodies.
Over to them…
What do you think makes Tasmania so special in terms of the quality of the food, wine (and now whiskey!) produced here?
I think we have been very lucky to experience growing up in Tasmania because the access to great fresh food, often direct from the producer has meant the whole food experience is enhanced. I love that we can buy oysters down the road from my family shack, and they are from the lagoon across the road. We think the food we cook really reflects the Tasmanian way of life.
If you were going to cook a three-course meal showcasing the best that Tassie has to offer, what would it include?
Entrée: Salmon Rillettes with Olive Oil Crisps
Main: Pan-fried Gnocchi, slow braised beef brisket with basil pesto
Dessert: White chocolate panna cotta with raspberry granita.
And if you could ask any guests you wanted – alive or dead, famous or family, who would they be?
Neil Perry (a chef we really look up to)
Ryan Gosling (no explanation needed…)
Harry Styles (again, just for some eye candy!)
Thalia’s YiaYia (she lives in Greece so we only get to see her once a year)
Lorna Jane (An Aussie women who has started from nothing and lived her dreams)
Where are your favourite places to eat and shop locally?
If you were going on a world tour to learn about other styles of cooking and ingredients, where would you like to go?
Mexico, we would love to master their bold flavours!
Which chef’s/restaurant’s kitchen would you most like to be a part of?
Colin Fassnidge’s restaurant – 4Fourteen – tough love but you would learn a lot!
What are your store cupboard staples?
A block of Lindt chocolate, brown sugar, vanilla beans and hazelnuts.
And what is your one essential piece of kitchen equipment?
A microplane! Can’t live without it. And a sharp knife, of course!
What recipe books do you have on your shelves?
We have waaaay too many cookbooks, but a few favourites include The Art of Pasta, Rockpool, the Agrarian Kitchen and the Messina cookbook. New to the collection, Chinchin!
What’s the best meal you’ve ever eaten?
Colin Fassnidge’s Beef Brisket at 4Fourteen. Ohhh the things we would do to eat this every day!
And the worst?
An over cooked steak.
Any food-related guilty pleasures?
Does pâté count?
What’s the best brunch to restore your health after a big night out?
Definitely scrambled eggs with Persian feta and avocado. Depending on the state of the hangover, bacon may be required also!
Which MKR moment are you proudest of?
When we cooked seared tiger prawns with goats cheese tortellini. Off camera we were going through a bit of a tough time in the competition and getting dish of the day was a real surprise.
And if you could go back and do anything differently what would it be?
We try and go by the motto of living without regrets, but if we had to we would change our menu for our Ultimate instant restaurant.
What are your foodie plans now
We have started the Market Kitchen, which evolved from our instant restaurant where we demonstrated our passion for fresh Tassie produce. We now want to showcase this beautiful produce. We have started a stall at Hobart’s farmers market selling our pâté every Sunday, using all locally sourced ingredients. We are hoping to extend our range of products in the near future. Ultimately we would love to get our products on the shelves of local delis.
We also want to keep cooking for people, as there isn’t a better feeling than seeing someone enjoy food you have cooked for them. So we have started catering for private dinner parties and functions. Our menus include some of our signature dishes – many of which we cooked on the show! We can tailor a menu to suit any occasion, whether it be a birthday, corporate event or just a special occasion. Hopefully the sky really is the limit because we want to do it all. We hope to one day have a restaurant and a cookbook! Bring it on…