Thursday, 15 September 2011

The Lantana Q&A

Any resemblance to the Guardian’s Q&A is entirely intentional and done without their knowledge or permission.
Tim Dorman, Head Chef at Lantana since January 2011, grew up in a small town  in New Zealand with nine siblings in a Brady Bunchesque family.

Tim is the Bobby (second from left) in the Dorman Bunch. NB. This is not Tim's actual family photo.
After a brief stint as a rousie* in a shearing gang, Tim suspected that crutching sheep had limited career prospects and decided to follow his brother into the kitchen. His first job was as a dishy in the restaurant where his brother was head chef. From those humble beginnings he worked his way up the kitchen larder via numerous fine establishments including the gunshop cafe, an award winning restaurant in my home town, Brisbane. But the bright lights of bigger cities beckoned. Tim came to London to seek out fame and fortune and found...Lantana.

What is your earliest food memory?
My mum counting down from 10 to make me eat swede and carrot mash.

Which person has had the greatest influence on the way you cook?
Good friend and former head chef at the Merthyr Bowls Club, Andrew Dale. He was my first proper teacher...the first person who really inspired me in the kitchen.

Aside from knives, what is the most expensive piece of kitchen equipment that you’ve bought for yourself?
My bright red Kitchen Aid with an array of mincing, juicing and mixing attachments. The first thing I made with it was pancakes the morning after my birthday - not really utilising its full potential. It’s now sitting in a box underneath my house in Brisbane.

What’s the worst thing a chef has ever said to you?
Too numerous and inappropriate to mention. A four year apprenticeship means you learn to deal with a lot.

What trait do you most deplore in other chefs?
Gordon Ramsay style tantrums. I’ve seen chefs make apprentices cry and then expect to have a beer and be mates after service. Wankers.

Who would play you in the movie of your life?
Will Ferrell.

What would your superpower be?

Is it better to cook or be cooked for?
To cook. I like showing off.

What is your guiltiest food pleasure?
Does wine count? (No) Then cold baked beans from the tin. But they have to be Watties, not those crappy English ones.

What is the greatest crime committed against cuisine?
The 3am kebab.

Strangest food request you’ve had from a customer?
Raw steak. We had a regular at the Merthyr Bowls Club in Brisbane who used to come in and say he’d been out in the bush hunting and needed to eat raw meat. One of the many colourful New Farm nutters.

Cheese or chocolate?
Cheese please.

Closest you've come to death?
Crashing my car into a semi trailer when I looked down to change the radio station and crossed onto the wrong side of the freeway. I left black tyre marks down the side of the truck and ended up in hospital.  The first of many car crashes. That's what you happens when you learn to drive in small town New Zealand.

What would your last meal on earth be?
BBQ rib with a cold beer on a hot sunny arvo’

If you could ask anyone, alive or dead, to dinner, who would you invite?
Goose and Maverick

Tell us a joke
A Scotsman walks into a bakery and points to a cake, “Is that a doughnut or a meringue?”

The baker says, “No you’re right. It’s a doughnut.”

*rouseabout (often abbreviated to 'rousie'), is commonly used in Australia and New Zealand to refer to shedhands who pick up wool after it has been taken from the sheep's back during shearing operations.