Top chefs reveal their ultimate time-saving hacks

Let’s face it, when it comes to weekly meal prepping and planning, we could all use some help from the experts.

As part of the annual OzHarvest CEO Cookoff, top chefs from Sydney's leading restaurants were tasked to create and serve a gourmet dinner to feed over one thousand vulnerable people.

A huge task, no? But these experts made a busy kitchen run like clockwork.

Here, you'll find some of their secrets to saving time in the kitchen, from prepping laid back lunches to stocking up on freezer meals.

Graeme Hunt - Chin Chin

“One thing I can’t help but do is make extra. I’m always the person who struggles to only cook for my wife and I. I’m always making too much, but it definitely comes in handy. It's easy to make any leftover meat into a salad or pasta or even freeze for another dinner.

Slow cooking overnight is great if you are having people over for lunch. I like to slow cook pork shoulder overnight to make into pulled pork for tortillas. Making lunch super easy to get together. You just need some greens, salsa, open a packet of tortilla and some hot sauce and you are good to go!
And my favourite quick tip, don’t peel vegies!"

Monty Koludrovic – Icebergs Dining Room & Bar + The Dolphin Hotel

“Once a week I get some mince from the butcher, whether it be chicken pork or beef. I like to mix it up. I get enough for two to three meals, which equals 1.5kg for our family of four.

I grab a food processor and add in all the bits and pieces of veggies I’ve got kicking around the fridge – carrots, onion, celery, mushrooms, garlic and herb stalks are usually what I can get my hands on. From there, I’ll meal prep into meals. If I’m making Italian meatballs I’ll add olives, tomato paste, mustard and dried herbs…. or if I’m making SE Asian meatball soup I’ll add kecap manis, coriander, fish sauce and cumin… or if I’m making kofta I’ll go hard on the spices and cider vinegar.

Once I’ve processed the veggies I scrape the sides down and add the mince, and seasoning.
The beauty of this hack is that you are using all the left over bits and pieces you have in the kitchen and you can have three meals sorted, prepped and washed up in under an hour."

O Tama Carey – Lankan Filling Station

"The best advice I have for saving time in the kitchen is simple - have a plan and be organised. If you know what you want to cook and you have the ingredients all ready to go then making a meal is so much easier."

Tobie Puttock – Jamie’s Ministry of Food

"Like most of us these days I wear many hats including being a very hands on dad, so organisation is key and when you are busy, bad food choices are easy to make. Preparation is everything.

I batch cook like crazy and freeze. I make minestrone bases that can be thawed and brought to life with fresh greens put through at the last moment served with chilli, parmesan and some great evoo.
I always have vegetarian chilli, vegetarian shepherd’s pie, basic tomato sauce and more. From here I can make a lot of things and the long lead parts of the recipes are done."

All of these chefs will take part in The OzHarvest CEO CookOff. Find out more, here.

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