Who is Jerome Felix: I am the head chef at Highroad in Dickson.
Best recent dining experience: I think the best dining experience I had was on a boat, sailing around Hobart and Bruny Island in Tasmania while eating fresh local seafood which was caught and prepared in front of me.
Favourite cuisine: Definitely Mauritian. My background is Mauritian, so I having been exposed to the amazing flavours from a young age, it reminds me of my family, and my upbringing – it takes me to a happy place.
Most embarrassing pantry or fridge item: Probably veggie stock in a bottle.
What ingredient can I not live without: Coriander. It’s a flavour that I was brought up with. It was used as a base ingredient in most of the dishes my family cooked. I absolutely love it in curries, Banh mi and chutney.
Next big thing in the Canberra food scene: The Middle Eastern or Mediterranean cuisine. Canberra takes a lot of influence from our bigger neighbouring cities. The Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food scene over there has taken off, so I think we won’t be far to follow.
Favourite place for lunch in the ACT: Ms Ba Co Vietnamese Street Food – love their Banh Mi.
Favourite coffee?: I love a small flat white and cold brew.
A must-try on our menu: The cornbread with pink peppercorn honey and espresso butter is definitely a must!
Our most-used ingredient at Highroad: Tomatoes – they’re absolutely amazing when they’re in season.
Our most authentic dish: I’d say our egg and bacon roll with house BBQ sauce, cheddar, pickles and aioli.
Our top-pick from our desserts: The French Toast, it’s simply delicious.
Biggest culinary influence: Both my grandmothers and my parents. Ever since I can remember, I was in the kitchen tasting and preparing food with my family. They introduced me to food and they helped me fall in love with it, and they also taught me about ingredients, flavours, skills and different cooking methods. I loved helping them prepare a big family feast.
Favourite cookbook: My favourite cookbook is Spice Journey by Shane Delia. Spice Journey takes you on a tour of Shane Delia’s experience in some parts of the Middle East and Europe. The recipes are not too complicated so it is easy enough to do as a home cook. It’s also got heaps of flavour and food that I want to eat.
What’s the special of the week at Highroad: Our special this week is our roast lamb sandwich with beetroot hummus, olive tapenade, ricotta salata and house pickles.
Where am I travelling to next: Hopefully to Europe next year, I would love to go to Scandinavia to experience the food scene, which really has taken off over the past few years. I have heard the people are so welcoming and the countries themselves are beautiful.
Dream destination? I’d love to take my family to Mauritius. I’ve been to the island once with my family as a teenager and I loved it for different reasons – the beaches are incredible, the food is amazing, and it was so nice to meet family that I haven’t met before or hadn’t seen in a long time. I’d really love my family to experience what I have experienced too.
Death row meal: My Dad’s pork and eggplant curry with achard.
My least favourite food: Probably jackfruit, however, I love eating everything.
My favourite vegetable: Mushrooms – they’re so versatile. There are so many varieties and they’re delicious with lots of butter.
COVID-19 response: I hope it never comes back.
My top three recipe tips:
- If it’s pastry or desserts, you can’t “wing it”
- Preparation is key
- Always taste what you are making.
Highroad is open 8 am to 3 pm daily. It is located at 1 Woolley Street, Dickson.