What were your food influences when you were growing up and what kind of food did you eat at home or with your family?
My grandmother won a heap of awards for her Jams and cakes at the Royal Melbourne Show over about fifteen or so years. Even became a judge there for a while, so we used to have loads of really nice jams teeming out of the cupboard. And her home made tomato sauce. Amazing! Our birthday cakes were also probably the best things ever. Nan passed most of this information onto Mum, who also owned the Moosewood Cookbook, full of vegetarian recipes from New York in the seventies. She added meat to a lot of it, but we had a lot of really beautiful home cooked goodness. We traveled throughout South East Asia a reasonable amount when we were younger, so Mum picked up some influences from over there too. I don’t think we quite appreciated just how good we had it as kids, foodwise.
What dish or cuisine do you most like to eat on tour and why?
Probably either sushi or spinach and ricotta rolls. You see, I’m a pescatarian (you know, one of those vegetarians who also eat seafood, but still call themselves vegos? Another name for us is Fish and Chipocrites). I became pesco after watching a documentary on animal cruelty, and just could stomach meat afterwards. One thing I do not like, though, are vegetarians who think they are morally above people who eat meat. Everyone has their own tastes, needs and desires. Can’t we all just get along?!
What type of food do you hate, and what is the most disgusting thing you’ve ever eaten? Tell us the story.
I hate the smell of trazi (a fish paste from South East Asia). It goes through the house, making you feel like you are on a fishing boat full of off fish. But it makes everything taste so good! The most disgusting thing I have eaten would have to be wallaby stew. We lived on aboriginal communities for a while, and of all the things I ate, that was the most unpalatable. Turtle eggs, however, are amazing. So so good! (disclaimer: do not go getting yourself some turtle eggs. We were lucky enough to be with some locals, who are allowed to take them).
What type of food do you make sure to avoid before a gig or going on stage?
I try to avoid eating anything for a couple of hours before a show. I tend to eat like a pig (myself and Sid, my brother both do it. I think we learned how to eat from our dogs. Put as much food in as quickly as possible, because you never know when it is going to run out! We manage to cough or choke at least once a meal. Fitzy calls it the O’Neil choke). Because I jump around like a fool, if I eat too close to a show, I’ll feel a touch nauseas during the show.
Imagine for a second you can request anything on your rider at a gig. What food do you put on it?
I would request a chef and a restaurant’s food store worth of food. That way I could have whatever I felt like after a show. My own personal chef. Now that would be amazing!
What has been your biggest cooking disaster to date? Tell us the story.
The best one was a combined effort from Sid and myself. We were living in Apollo Bay (when I would have been about 17, Sid 13, Mum and Dad weren’t home and we decided we wanted to have roast chicken. So we prepared it and chucked it in the oven. Sid got hungry, so he turned the oven up to about 260 degrees, figuring it would cook quicker. We had a roast in about twenty minutes. None of it was edible. We had two minute noodles instead.
When you tour overseas, what food from home do you miss the most?
Vegemite and butter on freshly baked bread, hot out of the oven. Holy goodness!!!
This is your last day on earth, what is your final meal?
A massive banquet, with every type of cuisine you could imagine, fresh fruit, heaps and heaps of sweet stuff, plenty of beverages to wash it all down, and maybe I would go roman style, with a bucket so I could just keep eating when I felt sick. That way, it can’t be your final moment until after you have finished your final meal. Mine would go for about four days. Genius!!