Australian super chef Luke Mangan is on the hunt for an ordinary Joe or Jane to take around the world on the greatest food-venture of all time.
Luke is looking for a bona fide "foodie" to join him on a worldwide trip, tasting the best food and wine, and receiving first-hand training and advice from the master himself.
We got the inside scoop to find out what he's looking for, with a side-chat about fresh produce and the role of social media in our modern dining culture.
Q: What is your food philosophy?
A: Our philosophy is all about clean, simple, healthy and letting the fresh, natural ingredients speak for themselves. So, I think using the great products we can from around our restaurants wherever they are is showcasing how good they are. Fresh is best, they always say.
Q: You're currently searching for Australia's next greatest "foodie". What exactly are you looking for?
A: It could be a great home cook, a great blogger, a barista or bar person. It could be anyone who’s passionate about food, and enthusiastic about it, and really keen to explore more in food and travel and showcase Australian product and things like that.
Q: Social media savvy-ness is part of the role. How do you think technology like Instagram, blogging, and social media has changed dining culture?
A: I think it brings more awareness to what every chef, their restaurant, café, and products are about. I think it’s a good thing. It’s like those TV shows , the Masterchefs and 'Kitchen Rules' shows, I think they're good because they bring more awareness to what goes into cooking a great meal.
Q: What do you think of customer-led reviews and the online reviews of every day folk as opposed to critics?
A: Look, everyone is entitled to an opinion. Everyone is paying for a meal, you know, it’s not a bad thing. Not everyone has experience in it, and some people pretend to have experience in it, but I’m not criticising it. It gets the word out there. Not everyone enjoys everything, but that’s the way it is.
Favourite easy meal?
Steamed bit of fish, or throw a steak on the basbie with some green beans and a nice healthy salad.
Japanese! We've got two restaurants in Tokyo now (and) we're about to open two more by the end of the year. It's a place I like visiting and I love the food.
Where is your 'culinary capital' of the world?
New York and Tokyo for me. I think they’re always pushing boundaries.
Beverage of choice?
I do like a wine, but I also like a margarita on the rocks, a good gin and tonic. It’s a mixture. I don’t like things too sweet.
*See the competition criteria and enter at www.lukemangan.com/ceo/