Everyone has one dish up their sleeve they can whip up when they need to impress. It might be your nonna’s secret gnocchi recipe, or a killer dessert you lucked upon scrounging up a midnight snack.
On the hunt for new inspiration, Cooper has teamed up with Bank of Melbourne on their very first crowdsourced cookbook. Social Feeds will be published as an e-book, featuring Melburnians' best home-cooked meals.
For Cooper, the secret to homemade success lies in three key things:
Play to your strengths
“Know what you’re good at and know your comfort zone, play with that and push from there,” he says.
As an executive chef, Cooper’s time is spent developing and evolving his restaurants’ menus. He’s constantly reading cookbooks, watching cooking shows and eating out, keeping an eye primed for new ingredients, flavours and techniques.
“Part of the creative process is not pigeon holing yourself too much,” says Cooper. “Sometimes I’ll start with an ingredient or a notion of a dish in mind, and then move from there.”
If you think you’ve got a recipe that could really impress, simply snap a picture and upload it to Instagram with the tags @bankofmelb and #socialfeeds.
Over the next two weeks, Cooper will be scouring Instagram for standout dishes. The best recipes will be published in Social Feeds and made by Cooper.
“Personally, I love clever. I’d love to see a thought processes and quirkiness,” Cooper says. “Anyone can put steak and three veg up, but when you add a compound butter into that, or a flavoured oil in ... that attention to detail is what separates same-same from wow.”
Mash-ups are a particular favourite of Cooper’s – think taking a French technique and giving the flavour an Asian twist. However, he stresses fledgling food lovers should think how they can best use the skills they already have.
“You don’t go from racing a Corolla around the streets to Formula One,” he laughs. “I’m still constantly absorbing and learning every single day.”
As well as the chance to have your recipe featured in the Social Feeds cookbook, by sharing your dish you’ll go in the running to win some great food experiences. There’s a weekend escape for two to Provenance in Beechworth, including two nights accommodation and a full degustation dinner. Also up for grabs are sausage masterclasses and a butter making day. Each week, we’ll also be selecting our favourite dish to be made by Cooper and published on Broadsheet.
Cooper has one final word of advice for all Instafoodies: “A dish should never look better than it tastes.”
Entries close on March 15, so there’s no time to waste. Whip up your recipe tonight and see whether it has got what it takes to impress a top chef.
To see the full list of foodie experiences up for grabs visit bankofmelbourne.com.au/socialfeeds.