Who is Amy Ferreira: I’m head chef and owner of The Tuck Shop at Verity Lane Market.
Best recent dining experience: It’s a tie between my neighbours at Verity Lane Market – Chimmi and Pizza Artigiana. Otherwise, when I do get a day off, I love eating at Rebel Rebel or The Old Canberra Inn.
Favourite cuisine: Definitely Indian food. I can’t get enough. I’m always trying new Indian places around Canberra to find a new favourite, and right now, nothing beats Blu Ginger in the city or a little place called Sweet Mahal in Amaroo which has amazing curries and desserts.
Most embarrassing pantry or fridge item: I would have to say instant curry packet powder mixes and instant Ramen noodle packets.
What ingredient can I not live without: Living without one particular ingredient is especially tough to answer as I love working with so many different ingredients. But if I had to choose, it would probably be butter.
Next big thing in the Canberra food scene: The next big thing in the Canberra food scene is hard for me to predict or comment on as so many new or exciting venues are always opening or have been opened. However, I will mention that Verity Lane Markets has crafty markets with awesome local creatives every Sunday. A few of our new vendors will be operating special menu items on the day.
Favourite place for lunch in the ACT: I love lunching at Sandoochie!
My go-to coffee spot in Canberra: At the moment, I’m hitting up East Row café. The coffee is great!
A must-try on our menu: If you haven’t tried our bunny chow yet – I highly recommend it. It’s a Durban curry served in a mini cob loaf and it’s a truly beautiful marriage of smokey and tangy on one plate. I’m proud of our recipe. Our boerewors roll and desserts are pretty fire too!
Biggest culinary influence: My biggest culinary influences have definitely been the many chefs I’ve seen on TV growing up. I do have a list of famous and notable chefs that I admire, but in reality, and in day-to-day life in the kitchen, I am mostly always influenced by the chefs I have and do work with. I have worked with so many talented chefs who have taught me things I never thought I could do. I’m truly grateful for those chefs who have always taken time to teach me new things.
Favourite cookbook: My favourite cookbooks at the moment are The Whole Fish Cookbook by Josh Niland and Australia’s Creative Native Cuisine by Andrew Fielke.
Who I admire in the Canberra food and wine scene: I truly admire Sean McConnell from Rebel Rebel. He has the most amazing taste in wine and always has something exciting to try on the menu at Rebel Rebel – both in regards to food and wine.
What’s the special of the week at The Tuck Shop? We will be starting lunch specials at Verity. We’ll be slinging boerewors rolls for $15 lunch times from Thursday to Sunday.
Where am I travelling to next: My partner and I will be going to Bali for the first time ever this year. We can’t wait!
Dream destination? I’d have to say I dream of travelling to Europe as I never did that when I was younger, and I am now getting a bit of a travel itch to the Europe thing. Even visiting my friends in Portland, Oregon, would be awesome, so we’ll see.
Death row meal: I’ve thought about what my death row meal would be for ages and I honestly believe it would have to be the goat curry from Blu Ginger and two litres of Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream.
My least favourite food: Ohhh, I don’t know if I have a least favourite food per se, but I do really dislike a spice. Controversially, I really don’t like Sichuan pepper in my food.
My favourite vegetable: How good are vegetables! I love yellow squash and butternut!
COVID-19 response: COVID-19 was tough, but The Tuck Shop was born out of it as a sister business to a catering company I own that needed another stream of revenue to survive. We were so lucky to get through such a stressful time in one piece, but I’ve never worked harder in my life to keep my dreams alive and survive a massive economic crisis. I am so grateful to where rediscovering South African food has led me and my team.
My top three recipe tips: Cooking for me is like a relationship: you get out what you put in. If you don’t put the right amount of stuff in it – it might not turn out great. But in saying that:
- Don’t overthink the cooking process
- Follow your gut and taste buds
- Also, don’t be scared to try new things and or recipes out – you might just surprise yourself.
The Tuck Shop is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 5 pm to 9 pm, and Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 2 pm and then from 5 pm to 9 pm. It is located at Verity Lane Market, 50 Northbourne Ave, Canberra.