It's no stretch to say that Kim Terakes lives for food. He began writing about it in the late '80s and has, to date, been published in the Daily Telegraph, Vogue Entertaining + Travel, BRW and Sunday Life magazine.
By
April Smallwood

23 Nov 2011 - 9:26 AM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

It's no stretch to say that Kim Terakes lives for food. He began writing about it in the late '80s and has, to date, been published in the Daily Telegraph, Vogue Entertaining + Travel, BRW and Sunday Life magazine.

He also conducts corporate cooking classes and makes media appearances, happily assuming the role of spokesperson for blokes in the kitchen and around the barbecue. He has published four cookbooks with Penguin, including the best-selling The Great Aussie Barbie Cookbook, and has another due late 2012.

What do you consider the top three ingredients for a truly great Aussie barbecue?
Great friends, great wine and the very best produce you can afford.

Do you think blokes need special help in the kitchen?
I think they probably lack confidence and experience because, traditionally, it hasn’t been their role. But, like most things, the more you do, the better you get at it and the more confident you become.

What dish do you always prepare for a summer barbecue?
I love prawns either split, marinated and quickly grilled, or wrapped in prosciutto and sage. But there’s nothing quite like a really good steak cooked properly (meat at room temperature, hot barbecue, turn only once, rest for a few minutes).

I do a dish called back-to-front marinated steak, which is in The Great Aussie Family Cookbook. You cook a very thick steak to share, then rest it in a warm marinade of garlic, anchovies, chopped herbs, lemon zest and juice, and lots of good olive oil. The meat juices flavour the marinade and it is absorbed by the meat. There are lots of terrific barbecue recipes at www.kimterakes.com or www.aussiebarbie.com.au.

What should a guy make to impress at a dinner party? 
Depends on the dinner party. If you want to impress a girl, it’s something nice and light and not messy, so forget the chilli crab and the 600-gram steak. There’s a lovely spaghetti marinara fresco recipe, with a little crab and lobster, basil and diced tomato, for that.

If it’s entertaining your boofhead mates, an entirely different approach is called for – more likely something to soak up the booze.

If you could cook a dish for someone famous dead or alive who would it be?
Groucho Marx or Tom Waits and shut up and let them talk.

What’s your favourite dish to cook?
Probably risotto. I love the way it transforms in the pan from raw to cooked, in less than 20 minutes, and how the disparate ingredients integrate so perfectly. I do a lot of risottos, though they're always simple, like asparagus, mushroom, fennel, prawn and zucchini, and crab or prawn with homemade – laborious but delicious – shellfish stock.

Which chef do you most admire?
Neil Perry, despite the fact that he keeps taking the piss out of me in public (I’ve always said I’m a cook not a chef, but he enjoys having a dig). He really is the godfather of both modern Australian and modern Asian food in this country. [His restaurants] Blue Water Grill and Rockpool were turning points in Australia’s culinary history. Having said that, I admire the creativity and the hard work of so many great chefs, both locally and internationally.

Do you have any expert tips to share, particularly for the males?
Don’t eat the pies at a postponed race meeting. Besides that, seek out and buy great produce – shopping is an art. Also, there is a balance between being ambitious and cooking interesting things, and jumping in the deep end and drowning. Think about what you reckon you can achieve. The great training wheels, I think, are cooking simple dishes and using fabulous produce until you get your confidence. Armando Percuoco from Buon Ricordo’s wonderful figs with prosciutto and gorgonzola sauce (only four or five ingredients and impossible to screw up) is the best example of this. It’s in The Great Bloke's BBQ Cookbook.

Aside from food, what are your passions?
My wife and daughter, the great game of rugby, football, test cricket, slow racehorses and travelling.

What makes The Great Aussie Bloke’s Cookbook a bible for cooking?
It’s essentially the food from my cooking school, Boys Can Cook, and it covers all the stages of a bloke’s life, including leaving home and cooking basics, food to cook while watching the footy on TV, hangover food, food to seduce or entertain, and, eventually, cooking with your kids.