Q&A with Al Brown – Author/Restaurateur
1. Recount your most forgettable dish or cooking moment
Putting on a smart cocktail party for 180 VIPs in Chicago for NZTE around the NRA ( National Restaurant Association ) show a few years back. The venue was a part of a chain called McCormick and Schmick; these were ‘semi flash’ fish restaurants. I worked all day at the NRA show doing demo’s using NZ products, then jumped in a cab with an hour and a half to spare before the guests arrived for the cocktail party. I was using the M&S kitchen brigade to help with the cooking and service, But after only a few minutes, the penny dropped, and I realised these guys were ‘heat and eats’ as I now call them. Paint by number chefs that actually don’t know how to cook…..at all! It’s one of those ‘you had to be there situations’ but without a doubt it was the most ridiculous situation and the hardest, most frustrating and actually the saddest 5 hours of my cooking career. We got there in the end but it basically was a complete ‘Cluster F–K!
2. Your 3 favorite recording artists are….
Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Indigo Girls.
3. Name your ultimate car and denim brand
Hyundai Sante Fe, Workshop.
4. What’s your favourite cut of meat (and why)
Skirt steak…….flavour, texture, affordability!
5. Your best holiday destination ever was….? Because…..?
Anywhere on the East Cape……the isolation, the locals, the Kai Moana and the lack of wankers!
6. Confess your guiltiest indulgence
Fresh Cream Buns.
7. What’s in your fridge NOW
Dog roll, Colby cheese, shelves of chutney, relishes, mustards etc, butter, Mt Edward Riesling.
8. If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now you’d be….
9. Tell us what food or food media trend you despise the most
Aerosol Cheese & MasterChef.
10. Describe, in 140 characters or less, your favourite day-off diversion
Fly Fishing road trip with a couple of mates.
11. Who would you most like to dine with and why. Preferably (optional) pick a dead person. (We’re into resurrection).
‘The Dude’ – Jeff Bridges. ’The Big ‘Lebowski’ is my favorite all time movie. We would of course start the evening off with the greatest cocktail in the world……a ‘White Russian’!
12. What is the most influential book you ever read
The ‘Little Red Book’ of fishing knots.
13. If you ruled the world, the first 3 things you would change/do would be….
i) No more Dairy Farm conversions allowed in NZ.
ii) Bringing back common sense and initiative would be high on the agenda.
iii) Outlaw vegetables being sold packaged in plastic.