Name: Ryan Pearce
CURRENTLY COOKING AT: Federation University's Prospects Restaurant
SOCIAL MEDIA: I would rather talk to real people as much as possible. If you are worth my time then I owe you 'face to face' at the very least.
GLOBAL ORIGIN: Born in Bridgend, outside of Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom.
YEARS AT THE STOVE: 20 years from 15 years to 35 years old.
1995: New Zealand, Ruby in the Dust Restaurant, Medusa Cafe, Abelone Restaurant, 95 Filleul Street
2002: Australia, Liquidity Rozelle, Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay (2 Hats)
2004:Watergrill South Yarra, Circa the Prince St Kilda (3 Hats), Escagrill Restaurant Moonee Ponds (1 Hat)
2007: Madame SOU SOU Fitzroy, Food & Desire Catering Melbourne, Luckman Catering Melbourne, 2010: Orange Bistro and Pandora's Box Windsor.
2011: Comme Hotel Melbourne, Cecconis Cantina Pure South
2012: Trident Chef Services
2013: Federation University
THINGS TRENDING ON YOUR CURRENT MENU?
No trends for me. It's local or unusually hard to get, it's weird, it's interesting, it's seasonal and a challenge. Tick all those boxes and that's what I'm here for. It's all about great classics with quirky twists or nuances.
BEST LOCAL INGREDIENT, FAVOURITE THING TO DO WITH IT?
The mushrooms in Ballarat are freakin fantastic! I went foraging with friends and guess what? Everyone had gone ripping out the pines and totally overlooked the Grey Ghosts and the Slippery Jacks, what an absolute score! Having said there I have only been here a year so I'm sure there are other delights around.
MOST MEMORABLE CHEFY ANECDOTE?
I use this one all the time with my staff, apprentices and students and it will stay with me for always. "Ask me any question you want and I won't think it's stupid. I would rather you did that than make a stupid mistake, because questions are free and 'stuff ups' cost money."
INFLUENCES WHAT'S YOUR THING?
I love seeing fellow chefs bringing flavours together from completely different spectrums e.g. sorbet foam made from water melon with a little Chartrouse thrown in to give the end of the melon flavour a little bit of bite with a slightly more heady aroma. - Genius.
Or a remoulade that incorporates creme fraiche and fully charred spring onions as a way to incorporate bitterness and tart to cut the fat and impart a smokey flavour that lifts the celeriac and the aromatic notes of the tarragon whilst toning down the salt factor at the same time. This sort of stuff is truly clever.
POLYNESIAN, FRENCH, ASIAN? GOURMET JUNK FOOD OR MAYBE JUST GOOD STUFF COOKED WELL?
I'm trained in French seafood and Mod Aus. I adore Spanish and coastal European which I continue to experiment with. Pates, terrines and smallgoods, smallgoods, smallgoods. This is what I want to see return with a vengeance. At home I love to hobby about with Thai and Balinese.
BOOKS YOU ARE READING, MAGAZINES YOU MUST HAVE?
Books: Home Smoking and Curing, Barnyard in your Backyard, The Sustainable Gardener
Magazines: Eco Home Design and anything about sustainable agriculture and boutique meat producers doing it the right way. And magazines about knives and knives and more knives.
FAVOURITE CURRY IN A HURRY?
Balinese Chicken Porridge, 20 minutes to make, spicy as you like, don't be stingy with the fish sauce or coriander.
WHAT IS WINTER FOOD ALL ABOUT?
Cheap, slow and low. Just like me on a Monday.
WHERE ARE YOU WORKING NOW AND WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Federation University, currently setting about to book the restaurant with as many exciting functions as I can possibly get, so as to give my students a really exciting experience in the kitchen. Near future holds all sorts, so much to do, see and finish, it's just a roller coaster and I am hanging on by one or two straps.
SECRET PANTRY STAPLES?
Red, green, yellow curry paste, coconut cream, everything for bread making, saffron, paprika, fish sauce, eve, bacon butter, lot's of Spanish garlic and there has to be butter.
"If you want to know why, then it's easier to learn how." The history of food is so important that if you understand the dish in it's historical context, then you can appreciate it's culmination so much more and with that knowledge you do the dish absolute justice in it's recreation. I need to know why something exists in order to fully appreciate it's existence. This is the only way I can hope to achieve maximum effect when I serve it to guests or friends.