Tuesday 05th February

Tips for cooking at home and professionally with June Henry

We gave our head chef June a quick grilling (excuse the pun) about his wisdom for cooking both at MaZi as well as at home.

Our Head Chef June is passionate about great food, so we threw a few spicy questions his way to see what he loves about cooking both at home and in MaZi.

How do you ensure you get the best and freshest produce?
Just do a bit of searching basically. Look at your suppliers and see what they can offer you. I'm pretty fussy when it comes to items like seafood. Just knowing your product and your brand. When you've got good suppliers like we have, I am pretty lucky I have a good variety to choose from.

How do you manage cooking for people with so many different varieties of dishes?
When you have the right chefs in the right area and they know their section well, it's easy.

What's your favourite way to cook an egg?
I'm a fan of poached. Just warm water, a bit of vinegar. No longer than 35 seconds, pull it out. Beautiful!

What what have you adopted from your (Cook Islands) heritage and family?
It's the passion and love, more than any tricks or shortcuts. That's just what my mum taught me when I was young growing up and I've kept it with me. When you try to do shortcuts, it doesn't come out the way you want it to come out.

What's your favourite cooking utensil?
I'm lucky I have a Bratt pan at home. It's basically a big massive frying pan. You can cook butter chicken or whatever you want in it. Basically, you can cook up to 80-100 litres of it at once!

What separates a boutique restaurant dish from fast food?
The love and presentation, but also the flavours. Fast food is basically wham bam thank you ma'am. It's more for pure production, we are more boutique. Obviously you need to stay reasonably priced, but at the same time our food is much more modern and flavoursome.

What are your thoughts on frozen foods?
I'm not a big fan of freezing food, especially your seafoods and meats. Obviously at home you need a freezer, it's very different to a business with a big massive kitchen where it comes down to serving the best fresh produce. The freezer should be used only as a back up.

Where else do you get inspirations for your dishes?
These days with access to Google, it's a great tool to go through as well as going out dining and trying new dishes. That's how you stay on top of trends. Mainly I look online for ideas on what to match with my ingredients. These days, it's all about infusions, which I'm a big fan of. I can bring something from my culture or maybe culture in Greece or Italy where they have really nice sauces. It's like a marriage.

Who is your favourite celebrity chef?
Mine would be chef Dominique, an Italian Aussie chef based in Sydney now but used to be in Melbourne. I know her well, we did our apprenticeship together at Panthers.

What's your favourite thing to have on toast?
I'm an avocado man. I love my avocado. Straight avocado. I'm going to make one now actually!

Taste the inspiration yourself
To try one of June's amazing dishes in MaZi, you can book a table by calling our friendly Reception team on 8037 8200. Be sure to say hi to June if you do!