SHONAN, Japan (Reuters Life!) - Bill Granger may be the only celebrity chef whose signature dish contains a mere three ingredients — or two, if you exclude the pinch of salt.
The Australian chef’s scrambled eggs take about 40 seconds to make and are a typical example of his approach to food: simple dishes, based on a few high-quality ingredients, served with what he calls “a minimum of fuss.”
Having started his career at a small neighborhood restaurant in Sydney, Granger now has his own television show, a range of best-selling cookbooks, and a loyal following among Australian celebrities as well as ordinary Sydney families.
He spoke to Reuters at “bills”, his new seaside restaurant near Tokyo and his first venture outside Sydney.
Q: Why did you choose to open your first overseas restaurant in Japan, rather than in London or New York?
A: “I think for me, Japan has always had a really special place in my heart. Before I opened “bills” 15 years ago, I spent 4 months here and that really inspired me, the culture of design, presentation, food.”
Q: How did it influence your cooking?
A: “I think for me, my cooking’s influence from Japan is texture. Texture is a really important part of Japanese cooking and texture is an important part of what I do, from the scrambled eggs with their soft, creamy texture or the hotcakes with their light, fluffy texture to a really crunchy salad — that texture is really important.”
Q: You mention eggs...so what’s the secret of those famous scrambled eggs?
A: “They are almost a fluke, the eggs. I was cooking breakfast at “bills” and it just got busier and busier, and I always had scrambled eggs on the menu. I had never really made them before. And I just kept on doing them. I knew I could make them quickly and that was the thing, I was just by myself in the kitchen. And I added a bit of cream instead of milk to make them a bit more luxurious, and just kept on adding a bit more — a bigger slurp — and cooked them quicker.
Because the other secret — there are three secrets with the eggs. First of all there’s cream. The second one is cooking them really quickly. And the third is not overcooking them.
I pushed them as far as I could with cream-to-egg and it just ended up working. And then suddenly the New York Times said they were the best eggs in the world and I was like, what, I just make these eggs in my little cafe in the corner of Sydney.”
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: “I’m known as Mr. Simplicity, so I think that probably sums it up. My food is home-cooking. It’s straight-forward food, it’s nothing overly complicated or restaurant-y. It’s good simple ingredients prepared simply and put on a plate with a minimum of fuss.”
(If you need to prepare more than two portions, cook them in different batches to avoid crowing the pan)
1/3 cup (2 ¾ fl oz) cream
a pinch of salt
10 g (1/4 oz) butter
Place eggs, cream, and salt in a bowl and whisk together. Melt butter in a non-stick frying pan over high heat, taking care not to burn the butter. Pour in egg mixture and cook for 20 seconds, or until gently set around the edge. Stir the eggs with a wooden spoon, gently bringing the egg mixture on the outside of the pan to the centre. The idea is to fold the eggs rather than to scramble them.
Leave to cook for 20 seconds longer and repeat the folding process. When the eggs are just set, turn out onto a plate and serve with hot toast.
Editing by Belinda Goldsmith