Adrian Richardson is head chef at Melbourne’s La Luna Bistro and a co-host of Ten’s Good Chef Bad Chef programme.
For many people air travel and good food are two mutually exclusive experiences. But for Richardson it was one that led him to the other. Thankfully for Melbourne gastronomes his dreams of becoming a pilot were trumped by the captivating chaos of the kitchen. “I started working in kitchens part time to pay for my lessons and that’s where it sort of kicked off, I gave up the flying lessons and went back to school.” Since then he has worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens around the world. Richardson can also be found every afternoon on Ten Network’s Good Chef Bad Chef.
Despite his early stint in aviation Richardson had “always been around good food, from day one” admitting “I didn’t know what “bad” food was”. Growing up in a household with “a mélange of North African, Middle Eastern and Italian cuisine” Richardson’s heritage definitely helps explain his enthusiasm for quality food that’s packed with flavour. What his heritage doesn’t help explain is his interest in all things blood and guts, given one side of his family are strict vegetarians.
Nevertheless when it comes to meat Richardson wrote the book on it: literally. MEAT was released in 2008 and provided readers with a simplistic guide on how to buy, cook and enjoy meat. At his restaurant every cut has been dry aged, on the bone for 7 to 8 weeks and is butchered on the premises, “we actually use a lot of cuts that aren’t mainstream, so we’re using the whole animal in our own particular, strange sort of way.” He encourages people to “eat good meat, sustainable produced if you can, grass fed, animals that live a healthy life”.
His second book, The Good Life, is a throwback to his younger years. Influenced by memories of times spent cooking at home, “the book is about just enjoying food with your family and friends and taking it easy and making some things at home. It’s a simple pleasure, it’s not rocket surgery”. Richardson’s philosophy on food has always involved unabashed enjoyment. “A lot of chefs make really fine, pretty, tiny, beautiful food and that’s great, but for me I’m more about family and getting together and sharing things”.
In Intelligence Squared's first debate of 2012, six expert speakers argue compellingly for and against eating meat.