Mitch Orr is part of the force of young Australian chefs you're always reading so much about. He won the 2010 Sydney Morning Herald 'Young Chef of the Year' award, was co-chef at Sydney's Duke Bistro – where he may or may not have been responsible for the 'dude food' craze, but was definitely responsible for a surprise delivery of chicken wings to a hip-hop club – and served a revolutionary (and mountainous) pasta degustation at Sydney eatery Buzo, which landed him in the Huffington Post.
Now he's single-handedly owning the kitchen at 121BC over in Sydney's Surry Hills, while watching NBA and playing rap music loud enough to get in trouble from the guys in the office next door.
Mitch says true originality in food is hard to come by, because there are only a handful of chefs in the world who are actually creating things that've never been done before. As for everyone else: “The good people implement it into their own style and learn techniques or different flavour profiles, and that's how a cuisine evolves,” Mitch says. “But that's how we end up with lots of shit stuff as well, because lots of people just copy.” He puts his success down to his peer group, which includes Dan Hong (of Mr Wong, Ms G's and El Loco) and Thomas Lim (formerly of Duke and Tetsuya's but now living it up in LA): “We don't hold each other back; we support each other and push each other,” he explains. “To be original in food it's more about being yourself, not trying to be someone else, and not copying. There's a big difference between copying and taking inspiration from…”
So, here's Mitch being himself while making a plate of gamberoni (that's prawns, guys) with 'nduja, fregola and prawn oil.
You will need:
– A handful of prawns, semi-frozen
– Prawn oil (you can make this by infusing oil with baked prawn shells, garlic, onions and herbs, then straining)
View the full recipe here on The Thousands.