At the table with: Luke Mangan

Leading Australian chef and restauranteur Luke Mangan may live in Sydney, but he’s constantly travelling around the world making TV appearances, launching a new product line, cooking for celebrities, or overseeing one of the dozen restaurants he owns.

Mangan is known for bringing French-Asian together, which he shows off in his restaurant menus including glass brasserie in Sydney, and salt in Tokyo. But when he’s not busy running kitchens, he’s also a consulting chef for Virgin Australia.

At the table with: Luke Mangan

Who is your inspiration?
Michel Roux, Mario Batali, and Wolfgang Puck; all equally inspirational and influential chefs/restaurateurs and businessman.

What’s currently in your pantry?
There’s always a decent supply of olive oil in the cupboard, as well as good quality sea salt for seasoning dishes. I always have an emergency supply of chocolate; preferably Haigs and Darrell Lea liquorice. There are a few cans of baked beans (for emergencies, they’re my secret vice on buttered toast), and some tinned tomatoes and Ortiz anchovies for a quick pasta.

What’s in your fridge?
I’ve been travelling so much lately so not a lot to tell you the truth! My mum was over at Easter so I’ve got a fresh supply of her homemade tomato chutney, which I put on pretty much everything from my home made lamb sausage rolls to BBQ steak. There’s some tonic water for a Saturday night gin and toonic, and I’ve always got eggs on hand for a lazy Sunday night omelette.

Best thing to come out of the microwave?
Nothing! I’ll be lucky to use a microwave once a year – and at best it will be to heat up baked beans or reheat last night’s leftovers, if I’m lucky.

What did you last eat?
I’m in Tokyo at the moment for a week long promotion of premium Australian food & beverage, so last night we were taste testing dishes at my Salt Tokyo restaurant in preparation for our dinner events. Last night was a sample of wild abalone, Tassie oysters, and some beautiful Queensland grain fed beef.

Where do you like to go for a feed?
If I’m at home in Sydney and the weathers good, I like a nice long relaxing lunch at China Doll or Catalina; both perfect for al fresco dining. Also Mr Wongs is great for a seriously good feed – great dumplings and Peking duck.

When I’m not cooking, I’m…
Eating out! I think most chefs will agree there’s nothing better than to have someone else cook for you. I try to tell people this but they don’t believe me, which is why I never get asked over for dinner parties!

Butter, margarine, a mix or neither?
I’m definitely a butter fan. There are some amazing butters on the market these days like Pepe Saya, it’s worth spending a little extra sometimes. You can’t beat fresh butter on fresh bread!

Tools I can’t live without
My Japanese steak knife which I’ve had for years now, I found it at a market in Tokyo and had to have it, also my blender for smoothies and pureeing soups in winter.

Cookbooks I always return to
Paris by Alain Ducasse – one of my favourite chefs. I love the images and recipes in this cook book. I keep this on my coffee table and flick through it when I need some inspiration.

Keep an eye out on Thursday for Luke Mangan’s easy fish recipe that’s perfect for a mid-week dinner.

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