This article first appeared on Broadsheet on August 26, 2021, during Melbourne’s sixth lockdown.

Lockdown is rotten. What’s considerably not rotten, though, is that Melbourne’s chefs have been keeping us fed and watered with some of the best takeaway we’ve seen since all this started. But that got us thinking: who’s keeping them fed and watered? We decided to ask 11 of our favourite chefs that very question. Here are their answers.

Rosheen Kaul, Etta
“I had a banh mi from Anchovy during an earlier lockdown (three? four? five? who knows) and it absolutely blew my mind. I didn’t stop talking about it for a week. The smoky, charry, house-made jungle-spiced pork sausage banh mi – with spicy chilli oil and jam-packed with carrots – is definitely not something you can eat in the car. Don’t; I tried and made a huge mess. Eat it facing a wall so no one can see your ungraceful hoovering. These banh mis are so good they’ve now opened a dedicated shop, complete with a woodfire hearth to cook all the fillings over. How absolutely delicious. Go there now.”

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Khanh Nguyen, Sunda and Aru
“Lockdowns have actually been all about cooking at home for me; I don’t do it when the restaurants are open. Although there are two places I’ve gotten takeaway from recently and absolutely loved it. First is Ollie’s Deli – it opened up at the start of the sixth lockdown and they’ve been really busy. They’ll usually sell out by 2pm, so you gotta get in quick. What I love about this place is the toasties are delicious and crunchy, they use good quality rye bread, and they stock the most delicious chilli oil. Second place is Uminono, another business that came out of lockdown. They serve sashimi and nigiri, some of the best quality you’d find in Melbourne, and it’s takeaway! I’ve ordered from Arnaud [Laidebeur, the chef and owner] twice and thoroughly enjoyed it both times. Pro tip for taking your takeaway nigiri to the next level: microwave the plate you’re going to serve it on for about three minutes and then place the nigiri over the top. What this does is it heats up the rice and it brings the nigiri to a whole new level.”

Helly Raichura, Enter Via Laundry
“My family and I have loved eating Kariton Sorbetes during lockdowns. It’s almost a ritual to order several flavours of [chef John Rivera’s] sorbets as soon as Dan locks us down. Keso is the family favourite; while the cashew reminds me of typical ice-cream toppings from back home in India, frozen cheddar cheese and crackers just bring a very distinct flavour and texture. Oh, and they made this Leche Flan for a limited time … which was one of the best things that happened to us in lockdown. I hope John makes that one again.”

Joey Kellock, 1800 Lasagne
“I’m obsessed with two things right now: N Lee’s nem nuong banh mi and Falco’s egg-salad sanga. I literally cannot get enough of either and am in a constant battle with myself – and deeply analysing the far reaches of my soul – in a desperate search for the answer to this eternal question. Also, Baker D Chirico’s quiche Lorraine is something I’d go to jail for, just sayin’. Remember that if you find yourself between me and one of those babies.”

Tom Sarafian, Sarafian Hummus and ex-Bar Saracen
“I recently ordered one of the ‘Bali Vibes’ boxes from Warung Agus. The food is just as beautiful as in the restaurant, and [it’s] so generous. They have a variety of takeaway boxes, which are all loaded with plenty of different dishes, all full of the most incredible flavours. I can’t get enough of the babi guling (Balinese roasted pork) and sambals.”

Nornie Bero, Mabu Mabu and Big Esso
“It will have to be Aptus Seafoods at South Melbourne Market. I’m lucky it’s still in my five kilometres because there’s nothing I love more than picking up a takeaway island breakfast of big, fresh St Helen’s oysters, sea urchins and scampi. While restrictions are in place, I also really want to make sure I’m supporting an industry that has been badly affected by closures [of] restaurants.”

Andrea Vignali, Al Dente
“We’re so spoilt to live in the inner-northern ’burbs [and] there’s an abundance of wonderful food around us. But we have a few fail-safe spots we absolutely love. The Recreation in Fitzroy North is always delicious; they do hot food, ready to go, most nights – and have a vast selection of wine to browse when you go to pick up. We also absolutely adore Kazuki’s, a small and divine modern Australian-Japanese restaurant on Lygon Street. Devastatingly delicious, well priced, and great people to support. We also can’t go past Congress in Collingwood and Philippe in the city.”

Kay-Lene Tan, Tonka and Coda
“The best takeaway I’ve had during lockdown (aside from the great offerings from Tonka and Coda) would be from Simon’s Peiking
in Box Hill. My go-to is their set that includes all the Peking-duck fixings, duck soup and handmade noodles. Just recommending it to you now is making me want to place another order!”

Ian Curley, Kirk’s Wine Bar (and French Saloon), Lona Misa, Ganzo
“For my get-out-of-town night at home … it’s Moonfishh Sushi in Albert Park. Geez, it’s good. As it’s owned by [ex-Nobu chef] Haru Sonobe – who’s the best sushi chef to talk to – it’s no wonder the fish is so good, and the presentation is exceptional. There’s a lot of sushi and sashimi out there, but not as good as this. Oh, and I also had the Yarra Valley Caviar delivery, which was great as well. I got a bit drunk on the Four Pillars gin[-infused caviar], though – but who doesn’t?”

Ellie Bouhadana, Hope St Radio
“Last weekend I had an amazing chicken-shish sandwich grilled outside Tulum. It was so good. A simple grilled bread roll with smoky chicken and marinated red onion. So perfect to go for a little walk and bump into a grilled-shish stand in my neighbourhood! I’ve also been getting casual takeaway dinner quite regularly from Southhall. They are a family-run business I love to support. Their food is always so beautiful and delicious (the chicken tikka is super juicy and yum).

When I’m working at Hope St Radio during the lockdown, which isn’t super often these days, I love getting Aka Siro in Collingwood. Their bento boxes are so creative. I am always excited to see their small, changing menu based on what they have cooked up that day. I also did a delicious special-occasion meal – yum cha at home – with my partner. We ordered from Hu Tong. Their food was beautiful and it felt special to recreate Sunday yum cha at home.”

Tom Peasnell, Dexter, Takeaway Pizza, Dom’s, Nico’s and The Keys
“I have been making broths nonstop because I have all the time in the world, not working nights. I load them up with a heap of greens (baby bok, choy sum, spinach) [and] dumplings from One Noodle Friendship in Preston. They sell bags of freshly filled dumplings (or frozen, if you want). I have been smashing the chilli-oil dumplings, pork-and-prawn and the pork-and-Chinese-spinach dumplings to finish the broths with. They are super gelatinous with a silky skin. Perfect in a decent broth.”