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bM chats to: MITCHELL TURNER, HEAD CHEF @ BANNISTERS PORT STEPHENS

IF YOU LOVE SEAFOOD, YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE READING THIS CHAT WE HAD WITH HEAD CHEF OF BANNISTERS PORT STEPHENS & RICK STEIN PRODIGY, MITCHELL TURNER…
We caught up with him in his new kitchen and he’s talented, charming, passionate and down-to-earth, all of which is reflected in the delicious menus he creates.


Mitchell’s passion for cooking began from a young age. Starting out practising dicing and cutting in his family kitchen to achieving his first Head Chef position at just 21-years-old and working as Sous Chef at the Michelin Starred, Castle Terrace in Edinburgh. After returning to Australia, Mitchell joined Rick Stein at Bannisters before becoming Head Chef of The Rooftop at Bannisters Pavilion. A lifelong enthusiast of Rick Stein’s seafood, he opened Bannisters Port Stephens and is creating an exciting new dining destination on the north coast.

We chatted to Mitch to get his seafood tips and tricks, and asked what he’s got cooking for Christmas…

What is the sign of good seafood? The fish needs to have bright eyes, they have a vitality/clearness to them. It should also be clean and not tacky with firm flesh, and smells like the ocean.

How long can you keep seafood? It really depends on the freshness of the fish when you get your hands on it Usually you would like to have cooked and eaten it within around three to four days. Though I recommend you look for the signs of its freshness, if it comes into your kitchen from the ocean, and straight to the fridge it will last a bit longer.

What’s you personal favourite seafood? I love whatever is in season, you know it’s going to be good. We’re spoilt here in Port Stephens, our fishmongers text us a list of what’s in every morning and we choose what we want, and it’s on your plate that night! It’s easy to keep up to date with what’s in season that way, but just ask your fishmonger.

At the moment it’s Whiting, it’s coming into season now and will be around until after Christmas. It’s clean, sweet, local to Port Stephens and great for those who aren’t fans of seafood as its quite delicate. It’s another great fish to cook whole on the barbeque, seasoned well and served with a wedge of lemon. At Rick’s restaurant we serve it with a spicy tomato-based curry and that’s delicious too. It’s a very diverse fish.

What are your best cooking tips for cooking seafood?If you can cook the fish on the bone, it retains moisture and flavour. My favourite way is to cook on the barbeque, skin on, guts out, and just with your favourite marinade. I like to use equal parts rice wine vinegar, dark soy and Shaoxing wine, you can marinade the fish for about an hour before you cook, and then brush it on as its barbequing. It’s perfect for Snapper and it doesn’t have to be served with Asian flavours, it just adds a bit of depth of flavour. If you’re worried about the fish sticking then you can pop it on parchment and then on top of foil. Cook it on a hot barbeque until you can peel the flesh away from the bone. Once it’s finished cooking, leave it to sit and rest for a moment before digging in.

Do you have an easy recipe we could cook for Christmas? For Christmas it’s got to be prawns! One of my friends cooked this salad {below} for me at a barbeque a couple of years back and it’s been one of my go-to salads ever since…

GREEN PRAWNS ON THE BARBEQUE, SERVED WITH A CORN AND AVOCADO SALAD

This recipe serves around 2-3 people, you can add a bit more of everything to make it go a bit further.
what you need:
2-3 green king prawns per person (the bigger the better)
2 x Corn on the cob – charred on the bbq
½ bunch of coriander – finely chopped, use the stems too
1 x avocado – cut into chunks
4 x sprigs of spring onion – finely chopped
1 x lime (juice)
1 x healthy pinch of salt
1 x glug of olive oil
what you do:
* Skewer each prawn and cook on the bbq
* Char the corn and leave to cool before removing the kernels.
* In a salad bowl, mix the kernels, avo, coriander and spring onion.
* Place prawns on top.
* Finish with the juice of one lime and a glug of olive oil
* Season to taste.

{Pics: David Griffen}


 

connect:
for more info & to book at table at Rick Stein at Bannisters

visit Rick Stein at Bannisters
instagram.com/ricksteinatbannisters

& to book to stay at Bannisters Port Stephens,

visit
bannisters.com.au/port-stephens/
& FOLLOW instagram.com/bannistershotels

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