Jessica Tan (@are_you_hungary) started blogging to capture all of her food experiences - good, bad and ugly. She’s since found it’s a great creative outlet for her as well as the perfect way to share her food experiences with like-stomached people!
What is your secret food shame?
My ability to eat pretty much anything for breakfast, from eggs bennedict, uncontroversial I know, to leftover bolognaise, leftover roast dinners, congee "¦I don’t even try to discriminate between my meals.
What ingredient can't you live without?
Garlic! I don’t let my friends watch me cook or they might run a mile when they see how much of it goes into pretty much everything I cook!
What inspires you and your food?
Mostly my insatiable hunger. Apart from that though, the ability to share wonderful eating experiences with my friends and family, I love watching people smile when they see something I have cooked for them.
What can you learn about a person from the way they prepare their food?
Everything. Taking care in the preparation of food shows pride in your work, and respect for the people you are feeding, including yourself.
What is your favourite recipe:
Spice-rubbed, slow-roasted pork belly. That is, pork belly rubbed in fennel seeds, crushed salt, thyme, sezchuan peppercorns and black peppercorns then slow roasted in a mix of star anaise, orange juice, xiaoxing wine and cinnamon. With crispy crackling of course!
Hainanese chicken rice. The succulent chicken mixed with fragrant rice and a plain chicken broth, a perfect winter meal.
For an easy weeknight dinner?
Thai beef salad with steamed rice.
What chef has been your inspiration?
Tony Bilson inspired me to save up and eat well – I still remember the first meal I ever ate at his restaurant. Swoon. Nigella inspires me to cook well and often for the people I am lucky enough to see every day.
Tell us about your favourite food event in Australia.
I’m not sure I can pick one, I love that there are more and more sprouting up and it just seems to be a year long celebration of food and eating. Although, I don’t do so well in huge long lines for food or restaurants so am always on the lookout for a new, undiscovered feed.
What is your favourite cook book, food show and cooking utensil?
I love reading and re-reading cookbooks, they have almost replaced novels by my bed. I don’t often cook from them, though, as I struggle to follow recipes. My favourite reads are from Matthew Evans The Weekend Cook and from overseas I love the home-y-ness of Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries.
I love almost all food shows; I’ll watch anything to do with food!
My favourite cooking utensil is not mine but I’m waiting for it to be gifted to me, it’s my Mum’s cast iron wok, which she has had since she got married. Only to be used on the highest heat, it’s full of the flavours of 30 years of cooking.
What is your favourite restaurant in your area?
It’s not in my area anymore (I moved, not the restaurant) but I have such a soft spot for Sea Change Bar and Grill at Dee Why. It’s a beachside café that has served consistently high quality breakfast and lunch fare since I could afford to take myself out to eat. Their hollandaise is spot on, every time. For a feed around the corner I can’t go past Sushi Studio in Neutral Bay.
If you could be anybody in the world for a day who would you be?
Ruth Reichl, the previous editor of Gourmet magazine in the USA.
I’m up for anything, as long as it’s delicious.