Inside Colin Fassnidge's home kitchen

Colin Fassnidge in his kitchen at home.
Colin Fassnidge in his kitchen at home.  Photo: Edwina Pickles

Seeing a doco on Marco Pierre White set eight-year-old Colin Fassnidge on his path to professional cooking. The hair, the swearing – White was the perfect role model. Dublin-born Fassnidge  was no stranger to decent food, with parents devoted to cooking from scratch and a father who always took the phone off the hook at mealtimes. Holidaying in Australia in 1999 as a break from working in Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'  Saisons, he reluctantly followed a lead to Sydney's Banc restaurant and has been here ever since. He judges on My Kitchen Rules and is part owner of  4Fourteen in Surry Hills. 

The  staples

My pantry: We eat  Sriracha chilli sauce on everything. We're big into spice. There's lots of ginger and garlic. Soy sauce. Our pantry's very Asian for an Irish family. There's Heinz salad cream, which we eat on everything as well – potatoes, salads, we grew up on it. We have lots of vinegar; it goes into soup, roast potatoes. I like coarse, flaky salts for the texture like Maldon or Murray River pink. We eat a lot of grains and pulses in cassoulets, soups. 

My fridge: There's my "famous green sauce", which changes with the seasons  depending what's in the garden. It's basically green leafy vegetables, herbs, chillies, ginger, olive oil, garlic and honey from the hive at my old restaurant, The Four in Hand. I like the Irish Kerrygold butter because it's really rich, good quality and I grew up on it. Because we eat a lot of cheese there's always lots of pickles to go with it.

I'm cooking

Last dinner at home 

I did a whole chicken in bread. When the sourdough gets stale at work I bring it home, cut it open, fill it with herbs and sit the chicken on top and roast it. The chicken juices soak into the bread so it's crunchy on the bottom and soft in the middle. It was an accidental discovery – I didn't have a trivet for the chicken so I just sat it on bread.

Recipe stalwart

I poach chicken in soy and ginger. Just add enough soy to water to make it salty, then put the chicken in with the ginger, garlic, chilli, carrots, celery and simmer it for six minutes in the Le Creuset casserole mid-afternoon, turn it off and leave it. By the time we're ready to eat it early evening,  it's cooked but still warm.

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Secret vice

Jelly snakes. I eat them late at night after work.

I'm drinking

I drink Lyons s tea; my mum sends us a package every month from Ireland. I have it medium strong with a splash of milk every morning. Then I have a flat white triple shot just before work. A favourite wine is Savaterre Pinot Noir but that's definitely on the special-night list.  A good Victorian or Tasmanian  pinot is our usual night-off tipple, like Journey, Port Phillip or Kooyong. I do like a nice chilled rosé on the balcony – that's not very manly, is it? Simon Gilbert   Rosé  from Orange in NSW is a good one.

My toolkit

I love my Messermeister knives that were made for me and the steel that used to belong to Raymond Blanc. The copper pans we got for our wedding are great and so's the copper roasting dish.

Favourite

In a fire I'd grab all the cookbooks you can't get again, like the Banc one. All my old journals where I've planned menus and my own cookbook are really important, too.

Inspiration

I get it from going to my suppliers each day and seeing what they have. 

Kitchen highlight

We've only just moved in and the last owners left everything! I love the wine fridge and the huge Smeg stove.

Most memorable meal

I went to San Francisco when I'd just started Four in Hand about  10  years ago and Sydney was very annoying to eat out in at that time – you had to have a lot of cash, it was very snobby and waiters were really annoying. So I went to this little Italian place in the hills called A16. The food was really simple but you could watch the chefs work and the waiters were great and proper busy. That concept hadn't really started in Sydney then. I just thought, if ever I get the chance I want to start somewhere based on that concept, and that's where 4Fourteen came from.