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In a few weeks, the Venice lagoon will host the 2012 S.Pellegrino Cooking Cup, a competition that blends two passions - sailing and fine dining - in perfect Italian style.
While waiting for the behind-the-scenes scoop and exclusive video from Fine Dining Lovers, we’d like to introduce you to the young talented chefs who will cook aboard the sail boats.
Today we are going to know Richard Ousby, 29-year-old Australian sous chef at Quay restaurant, number 29 in the 2012 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
Here is what he has revealed about himself and his food world.
Describe your cooking style with three keywords.
Flavour, fusion, fun!
Which is the first taste you remember and why?
The first flavour I can remember is eating vegetables out of the family garden. Pulling the young carrots out of the dirt, washing them under the tap and standing there, eating one after the other.
If you were a dish, which one would you be?
Chocolate cake with creamy chocolate frosting! My Nan's chocolate cake is a staple birthing cake amongst our family and it is extremely good, the cake is very moist, light but dense all in one with nice creamy thick frosting. As far as being food goes, being this lovely cake would be my pleasure.
Which is the dish you prefer to prepare and the one you prefer to eat?
I love preparing a roast. From the slow roasting meat to the preparing of the vegetables and I can't forget the sauce to accompany the rich flavours. But I think what I love about a roast meal the most, is sharing and enjoying a beautiful feast with family and friends. When it comes to eating, I love eating sashimi, soy and fresh wasabi. It really doesn’t get any better for me.
Who or what is your main source of inspiration?
I think I'm most inspired by Asian cuisine. The flavours, the textures and the technique are all so different. I love walking into a Japanese grocer and buying all sorts of thing I know nothing about, taking them home and mucking around till I find something that works.
Tradition and innovation: which is the relationship with these words, and how is it applied to your cuisine?
I think you have to respect the tradition of food but in my mind you can do whatever you desire! Nothing has to be a certain way. I have trained in a classical French restaurant but I find my food isn't classic at all. I think my style brings together the new and the old and it works for me with just the right amount of balance.
What is fine dining for you? How do you think new generations are changing this idea and making it evolve?
I think at the start of my training it was white table cloths, suited waiters and ducks carved at the table. I think over time each new generation of chefs, waiters and restaurateurs change fine dining because it is natural for things to evolve, what diners expected 20 years ago is different to what they expect today. For me personally, I'm always looking for something new and interesting. It keeps me on the tip of my toes and I think that is the same for a lot of people in the industry.
Which will be, according to you, the next big trend related to food and conviviality?
I think there is a move away from dining being a certain structured way. I believe free style is the new style. I'm not entirely sure what the next culinary fad will be but I am waiting with baited breath to see what happens next.
If you weren’t a chef, what would you be?
I think I would be a builder as I love working with my hands and my house could do with a small renovation!
Year 2050: what food do you think we’ll bring to our table?
I don't think we will be eating all our meals out of tubes but we will see an increase of ingredients. I do think though that Insects may well make their way into our diet, but personally I would still prefer a crusty loaf of bread with butter!
Update: the young chef from Australia won the S.Pellegrino Cooking Cup! His dish with with the ingredients from the Mistery Basket was: 'Chard mackerel with garlic custard, split peas, onion and Roasted Rice'