5 minutes with Dani Valent

What is your earliest food memory?

We used to go to my Jewish Hungarian grandmother’s every second Friday night for dinner. She loved feeding us - goulash, cholent (a sturdy stew), poached veal, strudels... I remember the warm, glowing feeling that me eating could make someone else happy. I guess it was a pointer to the rich and surprising ways that food can connect us.

Which ingredient are you obsessed with right now?

Rice. There is so much to learn. We often see rice as an accompaniment or a base for the real meal but it can be so much more than that. There are endless varieties, origins, processing methods and ways of preparing it. I can’t stop thinking about the Kyoto sushi chef who used a mixture of aged and fresh rice to create the particular rice blend that suited him.

Kitchen tool you can’t live without?

I have recently purchased a stunning chopping board made from recycled wood cut into small blocks and fused together. It makes me happy every time I use it. It’s made in Melbourne by a guy who works under the banner @remaek.

Go-to meal when you’re feeling sick?

I’m pretty sure that toast is medicine. I like sourdough, toasted dark, spread with unsalted butter, and then peanut butter. Pair it with a cup of tea and good health is around the corner.

Entrée or dessert?

Entree. I do have a sweet tooth but if it had to be a choice, I’d go for entrees. I think that’s where we usually see the most creativity from chefs.

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