Peter Gunn is the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 finalist for the Pacific region. The Australian sous chef from Attica restaurant in Melbourne, will showcase his signature dish Cape Grim beef short rib with roast celery vinaigrette and garlic flowers at the grand final at Expo Milano 2015 in June. He spoke to us ahead of the big event.
Tell us about your signature dish.
Cape Grim beef short rib from Tasmania is rubbed with seeded mustard, seasoned, then slow-roasted at 160°. It’s glazed with caramelised apple balsamic, covered with an acidic vinaigrette of roast celery, sweet apple vinegar and olive oil, and topped with wild onion flowers. The vinaigrette is the strongest part. It’s crunchy, soft, deep flavoured, light flavoured, sweet, salty, sour and unique.
What made you decide to become a chef?
I didn’t do too well in school, so I enrolled in a pre-trade course in which basic cookery was a class. I then enrolled full-time in a commercial cookery class, started working as a kitchen hand shortly after, and have been working in a kitchen and eventually as a chef since then. I feel like I fell into cooking, really.
Which chef or chefs inspire you daily and why?
Christian Puglisi & Grant Achatz. Christian because of his creative yet grounded cooking In his restaurant, Relae, he has removed everything he feels is unnecessary in a dining experience to make it comfortable and accessible. Grant Achatz because of his forward-thinking and aggressively progressive restaurant, which challenges everything you think a dining experience is. Also his approach to cooking, which I think is extremely creative and daring.
What’s the best dish you’ve ever tasted?
Alinea family farms: Achatz style corn. Grilled corn, black truffle and butter at Alinea, by Grant Achatz.
What’s the most challenging aspect of S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 for you?
Cooking in front of the judges.
What kind of help/guidance would you like from your mentor?
Motivation and advice on the European ingredients and judging panel.
What will you do if you win this competition?
I plan on working at Attica until the end of 2016 / beginning of 2017, which is when I plan to open my own restaurant off the back of my monthly pop up restaurant called IDES, which I have run for the past 2 years.