The Australian. Short order: Anna Wong

Country Chef Anna Wong

Best recent dining experience: Attica. We often travel south because Jerry's mother and sister live in Geelong.

Must-buy ingredient: Fresh seafood. Cowra is a land-locked area and good fresh seafood is often difficult to come by. Pepe Saya cultured butter (I can almost eat it straight).

Most embarrassing pantry item: Nissin Ramen (2 minute noodles). No one can make noodles like the Asians. And hazelnut chocolate from Aldi.

Can't live without: Caffe Carnivale coffee roasted by Art of Espresso Coffee in Young, sourdough bread, rice.

What I'm cooking at home: Dorper lamb - we buy whole beasts that end up on the barbecue or as stews and curries. This meat reminds us most of the meat served in the local grill places in Lefkada, Greece.

Next big thing: Hopefully fresh Chinese red dates, because we grow them. Also known as jujubes. When Jerry said he wanted to grow them, I was horrified as I had only ever had the dried ones in the Asian supermarkets and hated them with a passion. The fresh ones are apple-like in texture and the flavour becomes more caramel as the fruit gets redder and riper. We use them fresh in our restaurant.

I hate: Verbose menus that do not deliver.

Favourite cuisine: At the moment my son Ari is loving all things American. We frequent places like Hartsyard and have fallen in love with the oyster Po'Boys.

Worst meal I ever ate: Commerc 24 in Barcelona, Michelin star in 2009 - the pipettes, sardine tins, toothpaste tubes all looked wonderful but ...

Biggest culinary influence: My late father Billy Kwai Fong Wong, who (now I look back at it) was doing interesting Chinese in suburban Sydney 30 years ago. My parents owned the Capital Chinese Restaurant in Lidcombe from 1976 to 1999. Dad did dishes like white cut master stock chicken, lotus nut stuffed duck, whole fish, stuffed chicken wings - some of which I wouldn't find in Chinese restaurants in regional Australia today. We had foam boxes of ong choy, water chestnuts and lotus root growing in the backyard.

Favourite cookbook: Any of Matthew Evans's ones, real food for any level of cook, and Shannon Bennett's travel books.

My last supper: Someone else can do the cooking. Eleven Madison Park in New York or La Bastide de Capelongue in Bonnieux.


THE AUSTRALIAN JANUARY 04, 2014 | Executive Living | Short order : Anna Wong