Grant Croft is a local chef with bucket loads of international and domestic experience, working in gourmet greats such as Sydney’s Aria. Now he is a Sydney pub legend bringing flair to the revamped Hunters Hill Hotel and the Clovelly.
Flitting between foodie destinations all over the world, and in Australia, you have worked in many culinary hotspots. What is the most important thing you have learnt from working in a variety of restaurants?
Well, let’s start off with Dubai. I learnt that there is nothing you can’t get your hands on. At Aria restaurant I learnt very early on when I went for the job trial that you need to be ready to start your shift, know your stuff, you need to be organised and ready to hit the ground running. I got to work with leading chefs, Matt Moran and Simon Sandall, and I learned to refine my skills under their guidance. Biota Dining – wow! I learnt so much from James Viles, he is a very talented chef. I learnt from using local produce and local providores about how and where our food comes from. I also learned to make food look as close to an edible painting as possible.
When you are at home what cuisine do you cook up most frequently?
I love to cook a great steak. I enjoy a good, grass fed sirloin cut to go with green beans, broccolini and corn with jalapeño butter. After all, fat equals flavour. I love a nice red Hungingford Hill Cab Merlot.
You have come up with some pretty wicked desserts like your twist on the Turkish Delight and a modern take on the Aussie Cherry Ripe…how inspired are you by your sweet tooth?
I love eating desserts and love my chocolate. This type of dessert comes from working with James (at Biota) and experimenting with how far I could push the envelope. With the Turkish Delight, I like the taste of rosewater, and wanted to bring to life all the flavours I enjoyed so much while working in the Middle East. So I put a little French twist in there while I was at it and came up with crystalized rose petals, cold set brulee, pistachio praline and Turkish jellies. The kid in me needs fairy floss, so that went in there too.
What classic pub meal can you just not go past, and what do you wash it down with?
I can’t go past a Medium Rare Rib Eye Fillet with Cabbage Slaw and Fries (sometime I’m a good chef and eat my veggies) with a nice mushroom sauce, washed down with a cold Fat Yak beer.
6 egg yolks
2 vanilla pods
1. Split vanilla pods and scrape the beans out and put in pot with the milk and cream. Bring the mixture to 80 degrees centigrade over a stove.
2. Put yolks and sugar in to a bowl and whisk it till it is a cold sabayon. Once the cream mixture comes to temperature put it over the yolk mix, a small amount at a time, trying not to scramble the eggs.
3. Once this is incorporated set it aside for a few hours to infuse. Strain and put in to a ovenproof dish and place it in a bain marie (waterbath) in the oven. Slow cook it at 130 degrees centigrade for 30 minutes.
4. Do the wobble test and set aside in the fridge once set. Sprinkle sugar over the top and blow torch it until it has a caramel crisp top.