Everyone from Barack and Michelle Obama to Hollywood royal Margot Robbie has dined at Stokehouse. The restaurant, which overlooks St Kilda beach and has stunning views of Port Phillip Bay, is known for serving some of the best seafood in Melbourne. Overseeing it all is executive chef Jason Staudt, who also leads the team downstairs at Stokehouse Pasta & Bar.

Staudt, who was raised in Canada, moved to Australia in 2013. He worked as head chef at Matt Moran’s Sydney restaurant Aria and moved to Melbourne in 2019 to join the Stokehouse team.

When he’s not cooking for the Obamas, Staudt can be found eating out around town. The chef shared his favourite laksa, sushi and pizza spots in Melbourne.

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What’s your go-to for a quick takeaway?
Four Seasons Laksa for the fish ball or chicken laksa. They recently moved into a new space that is much more family-accommodating. My son loves the Hokkien noodles, it’s a great dish for a toddler.

How about lunch on the go?
Moonfishh for whatever Haru [Sonobe] is cutting on the day. The quality of fish, efficiency of service and lunch deals make it a favourite.

And for a drink and snacks?
Montalto. The piazza side has a solid menu, with a lot of the produce grown on the estate. I’m a big fan of the cuttlefish or rabbit terrine. And there’s plenty of space for my toddler to roam around and get into trouble in a gorgeous setting.

Where do you go for a big meal?
Scopri. Most produce is grown on their own farm, which makes it so special for me. I always order way too much – with an extra pasta course. Pro tip: BYO unicorn bottle you’ve been saving to match the quality of food.

If you’re going out with parents?
Figlia in Brunswick East has my favourite pizza in Melbourne. Their dough is perfect for the oven they are using – lots of flavour and crunch. I can’t go past the cavolo nero pizza. And the wine list is killer. That team is doing fantastic things.

What’s your go-to hangover food?
Shaggy’s Pizza in Elwood. The hot banger pizza with mushrooms is greasy, cheap and local.

Best comfort food?
Kafeneion. Good produce, tasty, humble and honest cooking. My go-tos are the fried sweetbreads, fava dip and chicken, and Greek pasta from the oven – Greek simplicity at its best.

What’s your favourite dessert?
Crepe suzette at France-Soir – [a] classic done just how I want it.

Where do you go if you’re looking for inspiration?
Paris for its long history of produce-driven food and New York for marketing trends.

Bucket list restaurant?
Noma in Copenhagen. Bit cliche, but I just haven’t had the opportunity to go, and now with potential change on the cards it doesn’t seem like it will happen.