Best recent dining experience: I would probably say it was at Kodiak Bar! The week we opened. It was also my birthday, and I had the amazingly talented Ben Sanderson (chef) put together a wonderful dinner for myself and my friends. It was truly sensational. Ben and the team also catered to all of my friends’ many dietary requirements, which was terrific.
We had a vast range of unique entrees, flatbreads and exquisite desserts, which were washed down with the outstanding Champagne Fleury. Our bar staff have also created the most fantastic cocktail list, so my friends also got the chance to try out all of the available cocktails and were amazed!
Favourite cuisine: For me, it depends on the day really … I like entrees, share food and a little bit of everything. I love a little from everywhere.
Most embarrassing pantry item: I have waaaay too much chocolate in my pantry. It’s literally everywhere!
What ingredient can I not live without: I cannot live without tomatoes! They go with everything, perfect base and staple in so many dishes – or just on their own.
Next big thing in the Canberra food scene: I think shopping local, staying local and supporting local is here to stay. Menus will also probably shrink, and costs will increase. Cancellation policies will be stronger, as they’ll have to be for the industry to survive. I think there is a trend toward more casual dining and drinking establishments too.
In terms of food trends: comfort food with inventive twists is something that’s here to stay.
Favourite place for lunch in the ACT: Caribou Kingston, without a doubt! My favourite is the chicken lettuce cup tacos (but hold the aioli!)
My go-to coffee spot in Canberra: Idelic Cafe and Catering in Kingston. I always get a small, double-shot oat milk cappuccino! They are so lovely there. They make everything in-house and their food and service are outstanding.
A must-try on our menu: Ooh, definitely our Kings Prawns! And the eggplant special – roast eggplant, burrata, sugo, fried garlic and basil. It’s so good! In terms of cocktails, The Yogi Bear Cocktail – whiskey and maple, and The Laney – toffee gin!
And I love the La Prova Pinot Grigio.
Biggest culinary influence: My mother is my biggest culinary influence. She’s always got healthy, homemade food on the table. Home chef of the year 1976!
Favourite cookbook: Definitely Cookidoo, aka the official Thermomix recipe book. What can I say? I’m a busy mum!
Who I admire in the Canberra food and wine scene: I’d probably say Damien Brabender from Otis Dining Hall. They are outstanding there. Amazingly talented chefs and sommeliers who are always super supportive and bring so much to the Kingston community are doing a great job.
I’d also say Louis from Onzieme Restaurant – especially watching his career from Bar Rochford to Kiosk, and now Onzieme. It’s been a delight to watch the growth and experience he has brought to the Kingston food scene. There is a lot going on in Old Kingston now and I love it!
What’s the special of the week at Kodiak Bar?: Watch out for our ever-changing blackboard specials! We have cocktails, wine and food that change every week. This week we have had several; however, a must-try is roast cauliflower, saffron dahl, whipped tofu, tomato powder and watercress. PS: keep an eye out for our new spring menu and cocktail list, which will be ready soon!
Where am I travelling to next: I’m going to Fiji for a relaxing family holiday. I can’t wait to hang out with my husband and kids, not at work, discussing work or on my computer! And to feel the sun! Where has the sun been this year? It’s been so cold!
Death row meal: Ooohhhhhh…. I can’t simplify it down to one. I love all the entrees, prawns, ceviche, oysters, and scallops! I also need champagne in my life and maybe a few delightful cocktails, whiskey or gin. Oh, and also, I can’t go past a good crème brûlée, pannacotta or sago pudding.
My least favourite food: Well, I don’t really like spicy foods, so anything that’s too hot, I tend to steer clear of!
COVID-19 response: I think Covid is here to stay, and we need to just get on with it. I find now it’s becoming too much of an excuse for businesses, organisations, suppliers and people. We need to recognise it and implement safety measures. Be responsible and take personal responsibility, operate with integrity and then just get on with it, and stop using it as an excuse. You gotta keep on going. We’ve done that each time in business, and I think industry, locals and people respect it.
My three recipe tips:
1. Keep it fresh.
2. Keep it healthy.
3. Keep it simple … and pull out all the ingredients first so you can see what you’re missing!
Kodiak Bar is open Tuesday to Saturday from 4 pm to late. It is located at Shops 2 & 3, 23 Kennedy St, Kingston.
Caribou is located at Green Square, 44 Jardine Street, Kingston.