Where it all began – how one dish shaped these iconic chefs’ journeys
At Miele we’re passionate about food, whether it be dining out or eating in, every meal is an opportunity to experience something new.
This month, we spoke with our ambassadors, Shannon Bennett and Michael Meredith to find out what motivated them to begin cooking and where their passion for creating new dishes started…
Michael, can you tell us what inspired you to begin a career in the kitchen?
Cooking has always been a big part of my life, particularly growing up in a Polynesian family. When there is an occasion to celebrate, preparing the food becomes a family affair with everyone getting involved in the cooking and preparation of every dish.
Being around food at such an early age, and of course my mother’s love for cooking, played a large role in my passion for food today.
What about for you, Shannon?
I started my cooking journey at high school, as we were able to take Home Economics at the school’s sister campus in our later years. I was never any good at learning a language, so they let me try Home Economics and I was absolutely rapt! It was then that I realised I absolutely loved cooking!
And, how has your cooking style evolved over the years?
Shannon: Over time, people (and myself!) have become a lot more health conscious and, as a result, I’ve had to evolve my cooking style both at home and within my restaurant menus to reflect this healthier outlook on life.
Technology has also resulted in changes to my cooking style, with many of Miele’s innovative appliances such as the Steam Oven and Vacuum Sealing Drawer allowing for me to create additional dishes I would never have done in the past. For example, I now steam my eggs in Miele’s Steam Oven – it comes out just like a poached egg, only better!
Michael: I’ve been lucky enough to work with some talented chefs throughout my career and the one thing they have said that has always resonated with me is that, technique or diversity of ingredients aside, I should remember to ‘keep it simple’. I now try more than ever to keep it basic and believe there is innovation in simplicity, while still maintaining flavour and texture.
What effect do you think Miele has had on your cooking styles?
Michael: Miele’s range has helped me create dishes with ease, while offering a streamline approach. I enjoy cooking with the Miele Steam Oven because you can put many different dishes in at one time and it won’t interfere with the flavours. I also enjoy using the Fan Plus, it’s great for gentle baking and roasting which is perfect for hearty restaurant dishes.
Shannon: I’ve been working with Miele for well over 10 years and their simplistic, efficient products have become an everyday necessity. Steaming has become a real facet of cooking that wasn’t around 10 years ago. I regularly use my Miele Steam Oven for Asian style cooking and restaurant meals as it allows the food’s goodness, texture and flavour to be retained.
I also love using Miele’s Vacuum Sealing Drawer. It’s such an amazing product that enables you to prepare your food and enhance its flavour. I use it for the kid’s school lunches as it is a great time saver!
Lastly Shannon, we know that sustainability plays an important role in the kitchen – are you able to tell us a little bit more about how you try to introduce this in your work and home life?
Sustainability is a huge focus of mine and something I’m continuing to explore more and more both at home and at work. Some easy ways that I like the incorporate sustainable practices is by choosing local, sustainable produce when cooking to try and close the loop on food waste by reusing and upcycling where I can.
At all of our restaurants we try to source the best local produce possible. This includes our new concept restaurant, Iki-jime, which places a spotlight on seafood and focuses on native ingredients and fresh locally sourced seafood from sustainable hand-caught fishing methodologies. At Iki-jime the menu changes with the season, allowing us to focus on the ingredients that are the most fresh and available.
Iki-jime is driven by a passion and respect for Australian produce and innovative gastronomic experiences; aiming to excite, inspire and most importantly, serve the most beautiful seafood in Australia.
I’m grateful to have commercial Miele appliances in the kitchen which allow us to experiment with new techniques and cooking with different types of produce to ensure we’re delivering the best possible food to our guests.