Formerly of Seamstress, Patbingsoo, Chow City, MoVida and Tenpin, Kim-Maree Moore took over the reins of Richmond’s Botherambo six months ago. I can’t wait to see the the tricks she has up her sleeve for the new spring menu…
What made you become a chef?
I’ve always had a love of cooking; since I was a child. Our family ate out a lot. My father was a businessman and we ate out most nights of the week. And my parents were really into cooking as well. It was inherent growing up.
You specialise in Asian food, have you always been into that?
No. I started off classically French trained. I probably started cooking Asian food in Brisbane at Harvey’s, which was, back in those days, at the forefront of Modern Asian cooking. I took over that kitchen and that’s where it all started for me really.
Asian cooking seems such a divergence from French cooking. How do you get to know how to get it right? It’s very sensory, isn’t it? Do you have to strictly follow rules or can you play with the flavours?
With Asian cooking, there’s a base note, whether it’s Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, it’s all the same in some ways. There’s always the salty, sweet, thing going on. You can keep to the traditional part but it’s a very easy cuisine to incorporate modern cooking techniques into. You can give it a bit of a facelift, if you know what I mean. But still keep the traditional technique.
It took a while to learn all about that sort of thing. I travelled quite a bit through Indonesia and was cooking there as well. I guess that’s where I learned some techniques and the traditions you stick to. There is too much Asian fusion these days. I’m not a massive fan of that. I don’t get Asian Fusion at all (laughs). I think you always have to stick to some sort of tradition.
Do you have favourite ingredients or products you like to work with?
I’m a massive lover of pork. So, lucky me, I’m in the right industry. At the moment I’m sourcing Greenvale Farms again. I haven’t used them for a while but they have come into the mainstream industry. I like their ethos. They are a local farmer, which I love, and they’re organic. It’s a really beautiful product.
And seafood, being a Queenslander. I use a lot of seafood.
How do you keep your ideas fresh?
For me, I’m a very visual person, so going to the markets, going out to dinner, conversations about food, that sort of thing. I don’t really stick my head in a book. I’d rather go to a market and see all the beautiful ingredients or walk down Victoria Street and talk to the ladies who work in the shops down there. It’s where I get a lot of my inspiration. They are so cool, those ladies.
When experience do you want people to have when they come into eat at Botherambo?
Um….good question…I think, I always like menus to take people on a little bit of a journey. Like our beef tataki, for example is a little sort of a modern take on it and needs an explanation as to how it is meant to be eaten, so I would rather the waiters explain the process and the way to put it together. A lot of my dishes are like that.
What else? That’s a hard question, actually…
I want people to enjoy themselves! But in regards to the menu, I just took over this place 6 months ago, so my first menu was designed to put people at ease. This is a very busy restaurant and a lot of locals and repeat clientele, so my focus on the first menu was to earn their trust and not put a menu out that was all about me and having people say, this isn’t the way it was a few months ago. So, yeah, I don’t know that I’d say I played it safe, but I didn’t go for shock value and pull out all the tricks.
When’s that coming?
Do you have to conform to the Melbourne food trend thing? Is there any pressure or obligation to do that?
No. I’m not from Melbourne so I guess the difference in my cooking is that it’s more of a Queensland, Modern Asian style, hence a lot of seafood and pork, like we use up there. I don’t stick to that whole, ‘must do the Melbourne thing.’
I’m probably someone who goes against the grain. I find that more exciting. I’m like, here’s me. That’s it.