Laura Neville a.k.a The Wandering Chef
“We've been lucky to have had worked with Laura in previous years and always taken by her connected approach to food. Laura connects her personal and authentic cooking experiences from traveling around the world and distills that into a modern meal experience with heart. We really could not be happier to open our pantry and rice range to the creativity of The Wandering Chef. For the next 12 months we will enjoy and share these new food experiences." – Forbidden Foods Team.
Q&A With The Wandering Chef
Why did you become a chef? Tell us a bit about The Wandering Chef.
I have always love food! Being in the kitchen was so natural for me. My mum is a fantastic cook and we have always enjoyed that space together.
I started the Wandering Chef because I wanted to help my colleagues in the hospitality industry. I saw so many struggling restaurant/cafe owners fighting for their little patch and constantly looking for a new point of difference. I decided to offer my advice and teach them how to run their business in a practical and sustainable way. This gives them the opportunity to stick it out for the long haul, rather than burning themselves out.
What is your Cooking Style?
I’m not sure I have a particular style. I like to let the ingredients speak for themselves. Food is so beautiful, the less you muck around with it the better it is!
Do you have a Signature Dish?
No, nothing that I can say is truly mine. I am a sucker for cooking fresh seafood though! My father is a great fisherman. I grew up with him teaching me how to fish and now I’m teaching him how to cook! Mussels and squid are the favourite at the moment…
Oooh! So hard! Spices are always a magical addition, they have the ability to absolutely transform anything!
What is your Food Philosophy?
“Fresh is best!”. Let the ingredients do all the talking.
Where do you go to eat on a night off?
Usually something relaxed and easy. Victoria street, Bridge Road or Swan street in Richmond are regular haunts.
How would you rate Melbourne’s culinary scene?
Easily one of the best in the world. It’s so dynamic! You can get pretty much anything you fancy on any day of the week. The price point is comfortable too. You don’t have to spend a bomb to eat well in Melbourne.
What is one culinary trend that needs to stop?
Freak shakes or anything monster sized… it’s ridiculous. It’s sickening to watch.
What celebrity chef would you like to cook dinner for? What would you cook for him or her?
I would have loved the opportunity to cook for Bourdain. He has been one of my food hero’s since I was an Apprentice. I would have done something simple but elegant, like a beautiful piece of local fish with a butter sauce and herbs. I think he would have liked that.
What is the Forbidden Foods grain you are most excited to work with?
I’m a massive fan of the Forbidden Black Rice. Although I love working with all their grains! They are just so consistent and delicious. They always cook the exact same way. The colours are fantastic and the nutritional value is great. You can’t ask for more than that!
What are you going to bring to table as the Forbidden Foods Chef for the next 12 months?
Love. I want to show just how amazing and versatile these beautiful products are. I absolutely LOVE them and I want everyone else to get on board and love them too.