What were your food influences when you were growing up and what kind of food did you eat at home or with your family?
When I was growing up we ate the Aussie version of boring English food – stewed our fried meat and boiled veges. I remember liking it. Maybe some silverside for lunch or my Dad made brine – chopped up bits off meat set in its own lard. That was delicious on a sandwich with corn relish. Sometimes you would open the fridge and see a big Ox tongue staring back at you. Or poking out at you more likely.
The most exciting and healthy food was the preserved fruit Mum made from the garden. We had a garden that seemed to have one of every kind of fruit tree. Orange, apple, mandarin, lemon, plum, nectarine, pear, even a persimmon tree, the only food bearing plant in the front yard. We also had an almond tree, blackberry and grape vines, and veges of course. That all sounds pretty good doesn’t it. I guess we must of eaten well.
What dish or cuisine do you most like to eat on tour and why?
Breakfast – because I love all the choices; eggs this way and that, bread from Germany or Lebanon, Muesli from Switzerland, and you can have beautiful Italian coffee with it. Australian coffee choices have improved out of sight in the last 15 years.
Dinner is no good because you’re always worried about eating too much before a gig and getting “the sleepies”.
Lunch is no good because it is from a servo.
What type of food do you hate, and what is the most disgusting thing you’ve ever eaten? Tell us the story.
I don’t hate any particular variety of food except badly prepared food.
Having said that, I find Chinese food in the country is strange because it seems to always contain pineapple. Country town bakeries can be pretty dodgy too; lots of mock cream and stodgy pastry. What a snob I am!
The only meal I can remember not finishing is a big bowl of fried baby eels in Ashfield, Sydney. Those little baby eels, the size of large garden worms, they beat me.
What type of food do you make sure to avoid before a gig or going on stage?
Like I said before – it is the quantity that is the problem. Your body goes into digesting mode and zaps your party energy. On tour you have to be at you most excited at 11pm. Tough to do if your slouched in a couch backstage, half obscured by a bloated stomach pondering sleep.
Imagine for a second you can request anything on your rider at a gig. What food do you put on it?
Seafood would be good. A little bit of everything – oysters, bugs, lobster, whiting fillets, pippies, mussels, scallops, prawns all on a bed of ice with little sprigs of parsley thrown around 70’s styles. Plenty of lemon quarters and maybe some exotic Thai style seafood dip.
Of course you would need to keep that nice and cold and under a big fly net at the summer festivals.
What has been your biggest cooking disaster to date? Tell us the story.
When I was a boy I remember trying to cook my first egg. I turned the hotplate on, stuck a frying pan on top and sat an egg in it. Then I turned to my brothers and asked, “How does this work?”
I’m not a celebrity chef, but it’s been a while since I was adventurous enough to get something too wrong. Though I can remember burning a pot on a gas stove, it was so hot you could almost see the food inside. Or adding too much chilli then trying to calm it down with heaps of palm sugar until you’re left with a inedible lolly curry.
When you tour overseas, what food from home do you miss the most?
Asian. But that is because I have never toured there.
This is your last day on earth, what is your final meal?
I once toured with an American guy who told us about a local delicacy from his part of the world. It was an entire pig soaked in Coca-Cola in a 44 gallon drum. That sat for some time, maybe a day or three, I can’t remember. Then the drum was put over a fire until the coke reduced down to a syrup and the pig was cooked. Apparently the resulting pork meat was pretty delicious.