The ‘Meet….’ series gives you a glimpse into the inner workings of some of my all time fave peeps and cheffing superheroes. I ask the same ten questions and you get their heartfelt responses.
I came across Chad & his twin bro Clayton and their best friend Lyndon via their YouTube Channel “Without Borders” in 2011. These guys are 3 chefs from Canada who filmed their out-there foodie travel adventures through Southeast Asia & became stars with their own show on TV. For me, watching them participate in sacrificial offerings, snack on tarantula, snake heart soup, fermented tofu (you can smell that stuff a block away you know?!) or duck embryo was at times a bit of a challenge, but these lads have inspired me to follow my dreams and get on with experiencing ALL that life has to offer. Like many great internet buddies, we’ve sort of become supporters of each other’s adventures over the years.
Chad has spent the last 12 years travelling the globe, working as a chef in all sorts of kitchens from restaurants to hotels, as well as a chef instructor in a hospitality academy in New Zealand.……. High fives, fist bumps and happy dancing for all the chefs out there who’ve gone through the gruelling long years of training to qualify.
How long have you been cooking / a chef?
I have been cooking for around 21 years. I started working in the hospitality industry when I was 15; my father was the Head Chef of a popular catering and deli outlet in Winnipeg, Canada. My twin brother is a Chef too, so cooking runs in the family!
Where are some of the coolest places you’ve worked? Destination jobs etc.
Wow…. Where should I start? Cooking has enabled me to work in many different countries around the world; Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Northern Ireland and now Cambodia. Never mind all the other countries I have visited in between. I lost count but I think it’s somewhere close to 45.
My brother, Clayton and my best friend Lyndon and I did a food and travel web series with no filming experience whatsoever, it was picked up by Canada’s Travel and Escape network turned into a television series, which is now airing worldwide on Nat Geo People.
Coolest job would definitely be the one I have now. I am living in Phnom Penh Cambodia and working as a Chef Trainer/Advisor for Friends-International (www.friends-international.org) It is one of the top 100 NGO’s in the world which helps marginalised children, youth and their families find work to support themselves and build their futures. I advise and train Chefs from 5 different restaurants across Cambodia and Laos with a few more we are opening up around the world. The restaurants we run are training restaurants for former street kids and marginalised youths, which gives them the training they need to get out and find jobs in the hospitality industry. Such a cool job! You don’t understand how lucky I feel to be here.
What’s your signature dish?
Everybody always asks me this question but it’s so hard to answer! I would say I make a mean crispy pork belly. I am kinda addicted to pork so it’s not hard to perfect something that you are insanely crazy about!
What was your worst kitchen disaster? Worst cut, burn etc. What happened?
I have actually been pretty lucky as far as not really injuring myself… so far!
Worst disaster might have been in Scotland I cooked a traditional Haggis Supper for Prince Edward and a few of his friends and family. I had to do this haggis ritual where I was with a bagpiper and a poet. The poet recited the poem and we all took a double shot of whiskey. After this I had to raise the haggis on a silver platter and walk around the table with it while the bagpiper was playing his song. Let me tell you that I am not very good with hard liquor, especially whiskey and definitely not a double shot. My eyes were watering and it took all the energy that I had not to hurl up on the haggis platter while walking around the table while half gagging. I was lucky enough that I was able to keep my Cheerio’s down but my god the look of disappointment on their faces was priceless.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring three things, what would they be and why?
A girl, a hammock and a ton of beer! Why??? Might as well take a shitty situation and make the best of it!
When you just want to make something simple, quick, and delicious, what do you prepare?
Nothing beats a Rib Eye steak! I am also a sandwich fanatic. I could eat sandwiches all day, every day and never get sick of them.
If you were to invite a famous person to your house for a meal (any meal) — who would it be, what would you prepare, and why?
I have always been a huuuge fan of Robert De Niro. I have seen every one of his films and I think it would be pretty sweet to have him over. Either him or Natalie Portman… She is “the girl next door” smart, academy award winner, philanthropist… Oh… she’s cute too.
De Niro seems like a meat and potatoes kinda guy. I am thinking herb crusted rack of lamb with parsnip purée, orange scented vegetables (whatever is in season), port and Bing cherry jus with a hint of chocolate.
Natalie… Hmmm….. Hopefully it would include breakfast.
What is your fave breakfast?
I must say that Aussie breakfasts are the best in the world! Tomatoes, mushrooms, free range eggs, Turkish toast and proper thick bacon rashers. Fresh juice and the coffees are to die for! oooOOOooo I miss those coffees…..
Do you do the cooking at home?
At home I usually cook roast chicken or pork shoulder or just have a BBQ. BBq’s are quick and easy and roasts are usually cheap and delicious and all you have to do is throw it in the oven and forget about it for an hour or 2. You end up having meals for days! The problem is I am usually too lazy to cook every day so I make enough for myself that I end up eating the same leftovers for like 5 days in a row.
Since I have been in Cambodia I haven’t cooked a meal once! It’s just so cheap to eat out that I can’t be bothered although I am definitely in dire need of a home cooked meal. Eating out all the time gets very boring after a while!
If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
Teleportation! I am a total travel bug, this way I could be anywhere, anytime I want, and not have to worry about those shitty 3 day bus rides any more
Chad & I, now we’ve never actually met, but I’m thinking a cheeky catch up over a deep fried spider, cricket or roach in Cambodia later this year is in order.
So tell me dear reader, are you an adventurous eater? If yes, what’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?