Cooking | Dani Valent

Cooking

Two of Us: Artist Vincent Fantauzzo and chef Matt Moran’s bromance

I am a contributor to Good Weekend magazine's beloved Two of Us column, in which two people talk about their relationship. In this case, it was Melbourne painter Vincent Fantauzzo (left), 41, and Sydney chef Matt Moran, 49. They met in a bar, hit it off instantly and now have a long-distance friendship based on honesty, vulnerability and a shared love of fast cars.

Korean Cooking with Buddhist monk and chef Seonjae

There is always so much to learn when it comes to food, so I was grateful for the opportunity to dive into Korean food at a cooking class and lecture in Melbourne last week. The guest of honour was Buddhist monk Seonjae, who is also a chef and the President of the Korean Food Promotion Institute.

Chef Isabella Poti – Italy’s New Guard

There's a contradiction at the heart of Bros', the two-year-old restaurant that Isabella Poti, 22, owns with her boyfriend Floriano Pellegrino, 28. On the one hand, its mission is to preserve the culinary traditions of Lecce, the restaurant's home in the southern Italian province of Puglia. But on the other hand, there's scarcely a dish served in the 25-seater that any Lecce local would recognise. "We keep our traditions, but we make them new," Poti says.

Meet Helen Goh, the Melbourne woman Ottolenghi is sweet on

It was Ottolenghi’s first yo-yo that did it. Israeli-born, London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi had never encountered the classic Australian biscuit, a double-layered melting moment with buttercream filling. One fateful day in 2006, recently arrived Melbourne recruit Helen Goh gently lamented that there were no biscuits among the patisserie cakes at Ottolenghi’s Islington cafe. A yo-yo or an Anzac and a cup of tea was exactly what she hankered for after a hard, hand-blistering shift chopping butternut pumpkins.

Blue Cheese & Cherry Bao – Adeline Grattard

French chef Adeline Grattard’s Blue Cheese & Cherry Bao is one of those mind-bending dishes that has captured the minds of culinary fans around the world. I first heard about it in the Netflix Chef’s Table documentary, which devotes an episode to the sensitive, passionate French chef and her Paris restaurant Yam’tcha, run with her Chinese husband Chi Wah Chan. Yam’tcha plucks from the French and Chinese canons to create a truly individual cuisine: fusion food is tricky to get right but it’s expressed so beautifully by Grattard and particularly in these buns. I was fortunate to visit Yam’tcha on a recent trip to Paris and you can see below how delighted I was to eat this concoction in situ.

Truffle Tales and Ravishing Recipes

It was 2010. I was in the Otways, a couple of hours west of Melbourne, writing a story about chef George Biron and his restaurant Sunnybrae (it’s now Brae, run by chef Dan Hunter). In walked truffle farmer Steve Earl with a gelati tin. We stood around the kitchen bench and he opened the tin. It was full of truffles. We were silent. We inhaled. The aroma was heady, earthy, somehow full of soil and sky at the same time. The knobbly truffles were plump and black, gently glistening, not pretty but somehow promising. I felt a wave wash over me: I was infused with excitement, fogged with the aroma, almost intoxicated. I had to grip the bench to stop from swooning. Truffles! They are incredible.

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© Dani Valent 2018