Best recent dining experience: The recent meatballs pop-up van that went hand-in-hand with The Pop Inn a couple of weeks ago. Created by the guys behind Good Time Studio, it was something fresh and different and totally unique. I love pop-ups because they happen and you were either there or you weren’t and that’s it.
Most embarrassing pantry item: Masterfoods Moroccan Seasoning. It’s a bit lazy, and I probably shouldn’t be using it as much as I do.
Must-buy ingredient: Kewpie mayo — it goes in everything, even pesto pasta. We used to joke that Intra was built on Kewpie as it seemed to pay the rent for the first few months when we put it on every dish.
Next big thing: I think the next big thing in Canberra will be driven by the people and the personalities in the industry. My mates Caitlin Baker and Lucas Woods from Aubergine run these incredible Fk Spiders pop-up events, for example.
Favourite place for breakfast in the ACT: Barrio. I know it’s a common response, but I love Sam and Sarah and it’s always been my go-to. I also love Some Cafe in Collector. My partner, Lauren, and I go out there on our days off to relax and get out of Canberra. You always leave there feeling chilled out.
My Canberra food secret: When I lived with my folks, we’d go to My’s Vietnamese in Weston Creek as our Friday night takeout tradition. Every week, we’d pretty much get the same thing — lemon pan-fried chicken, satay chicken and salt and pepper squid — and it was always fresh and delicious. I don’t think a lot of people in the foodie scene know about it as it’s very underrated.
Biggest culinary influence: Probably just learning from Mum and Dad to keep everything simple.
Favourite cookbook: I honestly don’t have a favourite cookbook and I very rarely read them. At the moment, I’ve just been asking our chefs at Intra what they think of different fresh, local and sustainable ingredients.
Who I admire on the Canberra food and wine scene: What Nick Smith has done with Bar Rochford is just incredible. Also, Louis Couttoupes’ food really opened my eyes to appreciating fine foods paired with natural wines.
What’s on the menu this week: We changed the menu up last week to include more quick, takeaway meals. One that we added was a falafel wrap which we make from scratch and includes a lovage emulsion, natural yoghurt and our popular pickled onions. Another new addition was a mortadella Foccacia using Under bakery’s bread.
Where I’m going next: I’m excited to get back up to Sydney as soon as we can travel again. I’d love to head back to 10 William St which is a great wine bar up there. It’s on par with Bar Rochford for sure. I also want to have coffee at Artificer Coffee in Surry Hills.
Death row meal: A serving of Josh Lundy’s anchovy toast. And a cocktail from the guys at Cicada Bar … although I’d be pretty nervous if I were on death row.
My COVID-19 response: When the pandemic hit, we moved to make everything as contactless as possible so we opened up the windows at Intra and closed the shop up to do takeaway with one customer inside at the counter at a time. Last year we started Waxtop as a pandemic response, although we sort of missed the boat because the first lockdown was short-lived. This year things have gone crazy with the wine delivery, which we aren’t complaining about.
My really simple recipe tip: Add a side of Kipfler potatoes with loads of salt to every dish. Makes everything better.
Speciality coffee and food venue Intra can be found in the funky Campbell 5 precinct at 30/12 Provan Street. Open Tuesday to Friday from 6:30 am to 2:00 pm, and Saturday to Sunday from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm.