While a food processor and topnotch ingredients are all you need to make a winning dip for your next cheese platter, picnic spread, footy snack or movie night, the convenience of store-bought dip is hard to beat.
And top chefs – they’re just like us. When they’d prefer to skip the prep and buy ready-made dips, they look for quality and flavour. Here are their top picks from the supermarket shelves.
Nabil Ansari, Sunda and Ansari Indian
“I’d pick Yumi’s baked Mediterranean eggplant dip with garlic. It’s one of those dips where you can actually taste the eggplant, and it’s not too creamy or rich in fat.”
Maaryasha Werdiger, Zelda Bakery
“I try to buy as local, fresh and least-processed food as possible, which isn’t always easy in a supermarket. My family home is also kosher, so all the food needs a kosher certification. I am currently obsessed with Lewis & Son sauerkraut, which is locally made by Daniel Lewis and is deliciously crunchy and sour. I also love the green tahini by Tahini Neri, and together with Mount Zero kalamata olives and some good dark rye bread, you have a great baker’s lunch!”
Joey Kellock, 1800 Lasagne
“I love a good taramasalata, but it’s really hard to find a good taramasalata on a supermarket shelf. So I’m on a constant search for a decent one – I want a white taramasalata, I don’t love pink taramasalata. But while I’m on that search, the Black Swan caviar dip is pretty good. The one at the now-closed Hellenic Republic was so good, it’s my benchmark, and trying to find something that’s really decent on a supermarket shelf? Well, I don’t know.
“You can’t go past a bloody Chris’ tzatziki. It’s just a really good standard tzatziki. It’s just simple and natural, not overdone. It’s a really great base and you can add to it – you can almost add stuff and pretend it’s completely your own. I’d add a little extra lemon and a little bit of salt, pepper and olive oil on top to garnish – boom shaka laka.”
John Rivera, Kariton Sorbetes
“My favourite go-to dip from the supermarket is Pilpel taramasalata. I always have to have it in my fridge. It’s so delicious and much more convenient than being cheffy at home and making my own, especially with the newborn keeping us busy. The wifey and I love to snack on crudités. Fresh market veggies are also a constant feature of our fridge. There’s nothing better than lathering up a crisp breakfast radish or a crunchy leaf of witlof with a good dollop of tarama.”
Stuart McVeigh, Scott Pickett Group
“My go-to brand of dip is Chris’ Foods for the variety of flavours, taste and quality. The hummus is always in the fridge. We often have it with grilled flatbread, olive oil, and dukkah as a snack. Again, the tzatziki is always around. We use it heaps for kids’ lunchboxes with crudités – it’s a great all-rounder in wraps and sandwiches. Love the spicy capsicum with corn chips – reminds me a little of harissa, obviously not as complex but completely delicious and moreish. I never have this without Branston Pickle.”
Jake Cassar, Mortadeli
“My go-to is Fresh Fodder taramasalata. If I had a spoon in my pocket, I don’t think it would ever make it home. I’ve been caught in the past smearing this wonderful pink spread on the most random food vessels and have noticed this has brushed off on my seven-year-old who’s been known to request a rye bread sandwich with tara for his school lunch.”
Jenna Holmes, Pasta Club
“This might be a left-field contribution, and I definitely could be more fancy, but I absolutely adore a corn relish! Whether you buy Black Swan classic corn relish already made or mix sweet-chilli Philly with some Masterfoods relish, it’s so damn good. I love it with either cheddar Shapes or Doritos. Am I seven years old?”
Philip Leong, Gai Wong
“I like the blue cheese, fig and pistachio dip by Chris’ Heritage. I usually add on freshly roasted pistachios and fresh chives. If I have leftover gorgonzola or blue in the fridge I will add that in as well to amp up the cheese flavour. I will have it with plain nachos or spread over toast.”
While not available in any of the major supermarkets, a handful of chefs also answered with Sarafian hummus by ex-Bar Saracen head chef Tom Sarafian. It’s Michelin-trained chef Romuald “Romu” Ouyeder’s go-to, and “the Tom Ford of dips” according to Lee Ho Fook’s Victor Liong. Find a stockist here.