Adrian Richardson has a soft spot for meat. Author of a book dedicated to the subject, Meat – How to Choose, Cook and Eat It, the accomplished chef and television personality has been serving up platefuls of the stuff for years at his long-standing Melbourne eatery La Luna. An ambassador for Bamix and Magimix, Adrian’s food philosophy is grounded in enjoyment, with a focus on getting together and sharing meals. We asked Adrian what cooking lessons he has learnt in his career and tips for cooking succulent BBQ meat.
Your repertoire has a strong focus on meat. What is your favourite cut to work with and why?
I prefer the cheaper secondary cuts like blade, ribs and flank. They require a little more time, effort and thought, but the results are well worth it.
What are some of the most important cooking lessons you’ve learnt on the journey?
When cooking it’s best to take your time, relax and enjoy what you are doing. Taste things along the way so you can adjust your cooking as you go along. A little salt and pepper or fresh herbs added at the right moment can make the world of difference.
You started out on an aviation path before switching gear to become a chef. What prompted the change?
I enjoyed flying and still do today, although now I get to sit and relax instead of driving the plane. It’s the creative side of cooking that gives me the most pleasure, something that is not as easy to find in a cockpit.
Who do you find inspiring and innovative in cooking?
There are so many young chefs coming through nowadays with new and sometimes crazy ways of cooking, I find that this new wave of cooks are taking food and cooking to new heights. But I also still like the old simple ways of cooking and there are plenty of chefs that are great at that.
We think high-pressure cooking and Hell’s Kitchen springs to mind! Are there any similarities between that environment and what goes on in a real restaurant kitchen?
The Hell’s Kitchen style of yelling and screaming is great for television, but in the real world we tend to operate in a much calmer manner – it makes life so much more enjoyable.
What kind of experience do you want diners to have at La Luna?
I like my diners to have a relaxing, pleasurable dining experience. To me the food, wine and service should be well executed, friendly and generous.
What tools in the kitchen can you not live without?
The most important tool in my kitchen is the knife, or in my case, many knives. The knife is my tool of the trade and the first thing I go for when I start working.
Some simple tips for preparing a delicious BBQ this summer?
One of the most important tips on barbecuing is to keep your BBQ clean and well-serviced. Leaky gas hoses can be very dangerous. I also always recommend that people buy the right cuts of meat for their BBQ – quick grilling requires more tender cuts, and low slow cooking requires larger secondary cuts. I think it is always wise to have a chat to your local butcher first.
You’ve written books, hosted cooking shows and opened a restaurant. What future projects are on the cards?
The next project on the cards for me is filming another season of Good Chef Bad Chef as well as juggling a busy restaurant and a young family. Wish me luck!