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Q&A  •  21 October 2022


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.

What ingredient/s do you enjoy cooking with the most?

It’s really hard to name just one and when seasonal cooking is what you do it changes with each season. I do, however, love the tomato in prime summer. We have narrowed down our favourite varieties which include a range of colours and sizes. We always preserve as many as possible for using in winter braises, but it is hard to go past them sliced on sourdough with a thick layer of cultured butter and some flaky sea salt. Also, in summer the berries are something I can’t wait for, when they are so ripe they fall off the canes and they are a flavour like no other.

What is your ultimate comfort food?

Potato mash is right up there, velvety from adding lots of butter and cream and seasoned with just the right amount of salt.

What utensil do you use the most?

Without a doubt it would have to be my knives. The most used tool in any kitchen, therefore they need to be maintained and kept sharp.

If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?

Meeting your ultimate demise is not something anyone likes to think about, but if I must, it would be very simple. Good bread, cheese and cured meats with a tomato salad of course.

What are five essential ingredients you always have on hand?

Canned tomatoes, pasta, bread, red wine vinegar, butter

What is your most commonly used ingredient?

Love? . . . just joking.  I do tend to use a lot of butter, I’ve been doing a lot of baking recently, particularly pastry making, and as they say, everything’s better with butter.

What is your favourite food memory?

As food is my world I have so many food memories, but one I particularly remember from growing up is the taste of a perfectly ripe rockmelon with vanilla ice cream . . .  heaven!

What is the best way to elevate an ordinary meal?

In terms of ordinary I’m presuming boring flavour. Seasoning is everything when cooking. So many average meals lack the right amount of salt or a little acid from a squeeze of lemon or vinegar. Salt should always be added to highlight the natural flavour of the food, it should never taste salty.

What is the one life-changing cookery hack you were taught?

 A chef I was working alongside once showed me to slice an onion along the grain rather than across it and when cooking it will soften quicker. I have been doing it ever since.

What is the best and the worst cooking advice you’ve ever received?

The best cooking advice I’ve ever received was to taste, taste and taste again. This is advice I pass along to every young cook I come across. The worst cooking advice, I must’ve wiped from memory.


Ready to cook? Check out Rodney's new book, The Agrarian Kitchen

Feature Title

The Agrarian Kitchen
The much-anticipated first book from the founder of The Agrarian Kitchen in Tasmania.
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