INTERVIEW: Teage Ezard

GT Homewares are featured in some of the best restaurants Australia wide. This impressive list of clientele includes world renowned Australian chef and restauranteur Teage Ezard. As a fixture in the culinary field, Teage owns highly revered restaurants including Ezard, Gingerboy and Ezard at Levantine Hills, which serves its beautiful dishes on our very own GT Homewares. We caught up with one of Australia’s bests, to find out more about his experiences in the food industry and what inspires his creative process.

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How would you best describe ‘Australian Freestyle’ cooking?
Australian freestyle has no boundaries. It’s a freely used term that dictates influences from around the globe that is created by our own produce.

What is it about Asian inspired food that resonates so well with Australians?
There are many types of Asian cuisines. We are very lucky to be so close to Asia and to have a lot of Asian produce farmed in Far North Queensland and the Northern Territory. Its diverse offering makes it very popular with Australians.

How important is food presentation in your restaurants?
Food must be presented as an expression from the chef. Plating styles vary from chef to chef and can be a signature status – it’s very important that this form of expression is crafted and maintained.

How can tableware change a dining experience?
Choice of tableware provides the diner a statement up front. With the varying styles on offer in the market, the chef has influences from trends, cookbooks, internet and local suppliers. Right choice of tableware extends from the crafted food to the perception it has on the diner.

If you had to portray yourself in one dish, what would it be?
It would be Australian, seasonal, good balance of flavours, local quality ingredients and as original as can be, while also using modern interpretations on classics.

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What inspired you to stray from Asian style food and open Levantine Hill Estate?
I was classically trained in my apprenticeship. My early development as a chef was guided by my mentor Hermann Schneider. He always taught me the importance of wine and food pairing. I have adopted my early learning to translate a menu written to complement the wines of Levantine Hill Estate.

What is the process you take when creating a new recipe? Do you start with ingredients, flavours, an idea?
New dishes come about from ideas. All ideas are discussed and this is the basis for originality of our style of cuisine as well as joint collaborations I have with my chefs.

At what point in your life did you realise food would be your career?
My mother taught me at a very early age to cook. She inspired me to cook and that hasn’t changed. I thank my mother for showing me how to be passionate and creative with food.

What would you say is the biggest mistake young chefs make when first entering the culinary field?
Young chefs often aren’t prepared for how hard and long days are in restaurant kitchens. Add to that a poor social life and odd working hours and all of a sudden it’s not a career for them anymore. The biggest mistake is when they want to be a cook and celebrity that goes along with it but aren’t prepared to work for it.

When it comes to cooking, which do you think is more important; experience or creativity?
Both. Creativity comes from experience. I like to think these two important pieces of the culinary puzzle are guided equally by a chef’s mentor, leader or idol.

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