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Peter Ojansuu is a self-confessed slave to chocolate – just wait until you try his chocolate brownies!
Peter Ojansuu was until recently best known as chef at one of Melbourne’s favourite gastropubs, The Argo. His move in 2009 to Arintji, Jacques Reymond’s classy Federation Square café and bar, was a huge success. Peter’s love of tapas-sized portions encourages diners to relax and share different dishes, against the gorgeous backdrop of the city skyline.
Where did you grow up?
When did you realise you wanted to be a chef?
“I think I was 17 working in the fruit and veg markets and in cafes part time and thought I could make a career of this.”
Is there one dish you still struggle to get right?
“I still have trouble with hollandaise sauce. It nearly always splits!”
What does it take to be a successful chef?
“Hard work and dedication, also a passion for food and management skills with people, time and money.”
Worst job you have ever had?
“I moved to Noosa and needed some money so I started working in the first place I could. It was alright until I did my first breakfast open shift. When I turned the lights on in the morning I have never seen that many cockroaches in my life. The floor was alive as they where scrambling for cover. I didn’t work there long after that.”
What is your signature dish?
“At the moment I love a simple dish of pan fried Buxton rainbow trout fillet served with green beans, smoked almonds and brown butter. Very simple but go together so well.”
What is unique about your restaurant?
“We have views of the Yarra River and the main square of Federation Square. We are also offering a more relaxed style of food now that is smaller entrée size which is designed to share among your table giving you the opportunity to taste more variety rather than just one dish.”
What is the chef serving in heaven?
Omelettes, using fresh free range eggs, and cooked properly they are hard to beat.”
What is the most bizarre dish you have ever tried?
“Recently had rolled pork spleen, it was really good, similar to liver.”
What is one question people are always asking you?
“Who does the cooking at home, you or your wife?”
What is your biggest food indulgence?
“Chocolate, I am its slave.”
How do you have your coffee?
“Latte or flat white.”
What ingredient are you obsessed with right now?
“Pork, I have been obsessed with it for a long time and just can’t let it go. There is just so much you can do with it.”
Which three people would you invite to a dinner party?
“Anthony Bourdain, love his show No Reservations.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, I would love to do something like River Cottage.
Quentin Tarantino, love his movies.”
What is your best tip for home cooks?
“Look after your knives, keep them sharp and clean and they will serve you well for years.”