> Skip to content

Article  •  8 November 2022


5 chefs share the essential ingredients they always have on hand

Discover famous chefs’ favourite ingredients. From French butter to chocolate, these are the five must-haves that cooking pros keep on hand.

When it comes to cooking, it makes sense to follow in the footsteps of professional chefs. Not only do they have years of experience to back them up, but they also possess unique talents for blending taste and texture.

But while their skills may lie in their ability to experiment, you might be surprised to hear that most chefs have a few staples on rotation that they turn to time and time again.

Curious to find out exactly what these staples are, we caught up with a few chefs to learn more about their 'essential ingredients'. Get ready to stock your pantry!


Famous Chefs' favourite ingredients

Photo of baker Jane Dunn holding a piping bag, with a yellow background.

Jane Dunn

Who: Jane Dunn is the face behind the popular baking blog, Jane’s Patisserie. Jane started her blog whilst completing her Culinary Arts Diploma, but finding it hard to balance her course and blogging, she put it on pause until she finished her studies. After going all-in with blogging in 2018, Jane has since amassed more than 1.5 million followers across her social channels, with over 60 million visitors browsing her blog each year. Jane has also written a few cookbooks, Jane’s Patisserie and Jane’s Patisserie: Celebrate!  

Jane’s Essential Ingredients: ‘Butter, eggs, flour, sugar and CHOCOLATE!!!’ 


Chef Matt Preston wearing a pink shirt and apron, holding a pineapple.

Matt Preston

Who: Matt Preston is an award-winning food journalist, presenter, and TV personality perhaps best known for his 11 seasons on MasterChef Australia. To say that Matt knows a lot about food would be an understatement. As a senior editor at delicious and Taste magazines, his food knowledge far exceeds the average Australian's. Luckily for us all, Matt regularly contributes recipes to taste.com.au and has written and compiled some of his best recipes into Matt Preston’s World of Flavour

Matt’s essential ingredients: ‘Parmesan, lemon, feta, bacon and leeks or spring onions are the most used. But it would be a lie to suggest that I don’t always have at least 600 ingredients on hand at home whether in the fridge, the freezer, the pantry or the garden!!!’


Chef Rodney Dunn sitting in a barn on a pile of hay.

Rodney Dunn

Who: Rodney Dunn’s food story seems to have come full circle. He grew up on a rural farm in New South Wales, and after a stint in Sydney, he is once again back on the farm – albeit this time in Tasmania. Rodney’s culinary career began as an apprentice chef under the esteemed Tetsuya Wakuda. After his apprenticeship, he transitioned into food media where he developed recipes for Australia’s biggest food magazines. In 2007, Rodney left the big city to establish The Agrarian Kitchen in Tasmania, a farm-based cooking school where he has a hand in everything from growing vegetables to keeping honey bees. If you can’t make it to Tasmania, you can still experience Rodney’s wisdom from his cookbook The Agrarian Kitchen 

Rodney’s essential ingredients: ‘Canned tomatoes, pasta, bread, red wine vinegar, butter.’


Chef Scott Pickett with his arms crossed, wearing a chef's shirt.

Scott Pickett

Who: You might know Scott Pickett from his iconic Melbourne restaurants, Estelle and Matilda. After completing his culinary training in South Australia, Scott moved to Europe where he honed his skills in some of London’s most reputable Michelin-starred kitchens. To experience this talented chef’s brilliant flavour combos for yourself, we suggest picking up his book Marriage of Flavours.

 Scott’s essential ingredients: ‘Flaky sea salt, good quality olive oil, garlic, French butter, lemon.’


Chef Tobie Puttock against a white background.

Tobie Puttock

Who: When you hear the name Tobie Puttock, odds are you think of Italian food. He first fell in love with Italian cuisine while working at the Melbourne restaurant Caffe e Cucina, and the rest is history. After cheffing his way across Europe – which included a stint alongside Jamie Oliver – Tobie made his way back to Melbourne. Since then, Tobie has featured in several TV series, published multiple books, started his own YouTube channel and even created a line of ready-made, single-serve meals that focus on health for people and the planet alike.  If you want to get a sense of his abililty to make plant-based cooking delicious, we recommend checking out his cookbook SuperNatural.

Tobie’s essential ingredients: 'Excellent quality olive oil, Malden salt, good butter, garlic and fresh herbs.'


Love cooking? Subscribe to our foodie newsletter, The Secret Ingredient, to get amazing recipes, cookbook annoucements and more straight to your inbox. 

Featured Titles

Jane's Patisserie: Celebrate!
100 simple recipes to make every day a celebration, from the cross-platform sensation. For fans of The Hummingbird Bakery: Cake Days (186k) and GBBO: How to Turn Everyday Bakes into Showstoppers (196k).
Read more
Matt Preston's World of Flavour
Cook up delicious food from around the world right in your kitchen, with Matt as your wise and entertaining guide.
Read more
The Agrarian Kitchen
The much-anticipated first book from the founder of The Agrarian Kitchen in Tasmania.
Read more
Marriage of Flavours
Scott Pickett, a chef renowned for his mastery of incredible flavour combinations, shares 80 recipes for beautifully balanced, flavour-driven dishes that celebrate Australian produce through the seasons – and the secrets that make them so successful.
Read more
A beautiful collection of 100 simple, flavour-filled dishes that vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians will love.
Read more

More features

See all
4 famous cooks share their favourite food memories

Your favourite cookbook authors have spoken, and these are their favourite food memories. From ice cream in Paris to takeaway pizza, read about their most-treasured gastronomical moments.

An Australian Christmas menu for 2022

6 amazing recipes to try this holiday season.

Matt Preston reveals his favourite childhood foods

In his new book, Big Mouth, Matt Preston shares some of his favourite foods.

Authors share secrets to perfect Easter feast

Matt Preston, Alyce Alexandra and Jessie Inchauspé reveal their go-to Easter recipes and tips for a stress-free long weekend.

Poached wagyu beef short-rib with coriander and horseradish relish

A delectable summer recipe from The Agrarian Kitchen.

Mini Lemon Meringue Pies

A lemon meringue pie is one of the most fresh and zingy bakes you can make and my classic recipe features on my blog, but for this book I wanted to improve it if I could and that’s when I came up with individual Mini Lemon Meringue Pies.

Cinnamon Blondies

I am obsessed with all things ‘blondie’ and these Cinnamon Blondies hit the spot.

Ham, Leek & Mushroom Quiche

I find that a quiche is one of those bakes that lends itself well to lunchtime, dinnertime or even as part of a mid-afternoon snack.

Jane Dunn shares the best (and worst) cooking advice she's ever received

In honour of the Australian release of her latest book, Jane's Patisserie: Celebrate!, we caught up with Jane Dunn. Learn about her most-used ingredient, favourite food memory and more.

Rodney Dunn shares his 5 essential ingredients

We chatted with Rodney Dunn to get some cooking advice! Discover his 5 essential ingredients, read about his favourite food memory and more in this Q&A.

Soft Tacos with Shredded Brisket and Tomatillos

Since we realised we could make tortillas with wheat flour and our own rendered lard, we’ve never looked back.

Goat’s Curd Stuffed Capsicum with Confit Tomatoes

This dish makes a lovely starter or side. Add some prosciutto or preserved tuna in olive oil and wild rocket, and you have a light lunch.

Looking for more articles?

See all articles