Kitchen Spy: Philip Shaw, winemaker

Obsession runs like strata through Philip Shaw's psyche, the winemaking streak laid down at 12 years old experimenting with sultana grapes, a bathtub and old lemonade bottles. He has twice won International Winemaker of the Year among many awards but his extraordinary palate is permanently engaged, cooking with nuanced spice and drinking aged Asian teas. He learnt much from his father, a butcher, and shudders at the thought of outsourcing his meat preparation. Surrounded by his vineyards, he lives in Orange, NSW, and relishes time in his kitchen where all the joinery is made from oak vats.

The Staples

My pantry: My favourite olive oil is a local Orange one, Tawarri Grove, just the best. I use gallons of the stuff. I use heaps of spice. I grind them all myself in a pestle and mortar. Star anise, cumin, mustard seed and allspice would be the main ones. There's always heaps of garlic and ginger and basmati rice. I try to use Australian rice if possible. I've got heaps of different peppers but to highlight their flavours I'd usually just use one or two at a time – in huge quantities.

My fridge: It's mostly vegetables, tomatoes and chillies in there. I grow a lot of that stuff. There's beautifully marbled porterhouse steak. I prepare all my own meat, deboning, dividing muscles so they all end up tender, I don't like butchers doing it for me.

I'm cooking

Last dinner at home

I like elegant, delicate foods but also I like curries.

We had a porterhouse steak and served it with a big pot of eschallots I'd cooked slowly with star anise and garlic. We also had kipfler potatoes and a green salad with pomegranate in it. Pomegranates just make salads amazing.

Secret vice

I love clotted cream. I'm terrible, I'll eat it straight from the pot. I don't normally eat sugar or butter or those sorts of things but leave me alone with a pot of cream and it's gone.


I'm drinking

I never drink coffee at home but I drink heaps of it at work. Freshly ground beans, in the plunger. I drink a huge amount of tea, mainly Japanese green and Chinese teas, some of them are over 100 years old. The most memorable wine I've had lately was the Chateau Trotanoy Pomerol​ – amazing. It was a very generous gift and it had so much depth of flavour, quite different to a lot of Bordeaux. I'm reluctant to plug my own wine but the 2014 pinot Number 8 is fabulous.

My toolkit

The Wolf oven is amazing. There are lots of settings, it can get very hot and it's very accurate. The pestle and mortar is for all my spices, and the pressure cooker's important for stocks and braising. The Epicurean chopping board is one of my favourite things; it's pressed wood of some kind, it's not too heavy and it's just gorgeous to use.


I had these Aritsugu​ knives reshaped because I'm left handed. It's beautiful steel in them, very easy to sharpen.


My mother in a strange way made me get inspired about cooking because she never did it. I had to cook from an early age if I wanted to eat and I had full access to whatever ingredients I wanted. I do like cookbooks, more the simple ones like Neil Perry's and occasionally Matthew Evans's. I read them but, with the exception of Neil's books, I don't really use them.

Kitchen highlight

There's loads of working space, the proportions seem about right and it's open. The drawers are a standout feature.


I've recently really got into exotic peppers. You start to notice all their different characteristics and their huge potential.

Most memorable meal

It was in western China where it meets Russia, Pakistan and Mongolia. Beautiful country, a bit like Switzerland. There I had a meal with about 20 others and the food was amazing, a lot of Mongolian hotpots with beautiful beef and fish, and lots of fruit at the end, but everybody got so drunk. They wanted to scull all the time and I just kept calling for more tea. The next morning when we all showed up for breakfast the drinking started again. Straight spirits, for breakfast!

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