At the table with: Richard Ptacnik

At the table with: Richard Ptacnik

Executive chef of Sydney’s Otto Ristorante Richard Ptacnik draws on the roots of Italian classics when he is cooking modern Italian in the kitchen. He draws on his skills from having worked in some great kitchens in Berlin, Switzerland, and his home city, Prague. He originally joined Otto in 2003 as a sous chef, and assumed the role of head chef in late 2009.

Sydney's Otto Ristorante executive chef Richard Ptacnik
Richard Ptacnik is executive chef of Sydney’s Otto Ristorante in Woolloomooloo. (Credit: Nikki To)

Who is your inspiration?
Jock Zonfrillo from Orana Restaurant (my ex-head chef)

What’s currently in your pantry?
A lot of the usual stuff, however I am particularly fond of Amedei chocolate from Lario International.

What’s in your fridge?
The usual stuff: milk, eggs, cheeses, a half empty bottle of Hands Lane seeded mustard that I did not get around to finishing; and I like to keep a bottle of Charles Heidsieck chilled, just in case there is an occasion to celebrate. I like good quality smallgoods so there is usually a bit of a charcuterie from Vic’s Meat hidden in there as well.

Best thing to come out of the microwave
My car keys. It’s where I like to keep them so I don’t loose them, and my dog and cat can’t borrow them either.

What did you last eat?
Pho: Vietnamese beef noodle soup with coriander , chill, and sprouts.

Where do you like to go to eat?
Yellow and Mr. Wong.

When I’m not cooking, I like to…
Cycle, kayking, a bit of exercise in the gym, go for walk with the dog, or go out for dinner. I am also fond of a quite afternoon by the water, with a well stocked hamper to accompany me.

Butter, margarine, a mix or neither?
Butter of course. I am not sure what the other is…..

Kitchen tools I can’t live without
My trusty set of Wusthof knives. They are like an extension of me, sharp, stylish, and practical, but on a serious note, without a good set of knives you are real trouble. I am a bit of a collector, but having three or four good quality knives at your disposal will allow you to do most of the dicing and slicing jobs you will need to tackle in the kitchen.

Cookbooks I always return to
My own, yet to be published 😉 But as a professional chef, you tend to take down notes or ideas on what worked well, recipes or idea’s that come to you in the moment, or to remember a particular ingredient that may have caught your eye and you want to work with in the future. I guess it tells its own story and keeps your memories safe.

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