At home with Paul Wilson

By
Interview: Sarah Gamboni
Added
07 December, 2016

We chat to Paul Wilson about his process for entertaining at home.

What do you love most about entertaining at home?

I love involving my guests in the preparation of certain elements so that I’m exposing them to new ingredients, techniques and the odd cheffy trick.

Do you have a go-to dish or menu for when friends come to dinner? 

I love cooking a whole, locally caught wild fish surrounded by interesting vegetables and herbs that evoke the flavours of the country I am celebrating, and then serving it with a tasty condiment and salad.

Vegetables excite me more than meat these days – when you travel to other continents you discover so many new fruits, vegetables, pulses, legumes, grains and herbs.

In relation to your sweetcorn French toast with pancetta and avocado, do you have any tips for preparing this for guests? For example, are there elements you could prepare in advance?

The corn cake can be made in advance and freezes well as a whole loaf or in individually wrapped slices. Mexicans adore corn and they eat corn cake all day, everyday – whether for breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert. It’s also great as pain perdu [French toast] drizzled with salted caramel and served with vanilla ice cream.

The michelada cocktail in Taqueria is a favourite for firing up the tastebuds and lifting the spirits, so I’d probably serve the French toast with that for a boozy brunch.

When you’re hosting a meal at home, what inspires your menu? Do you go with a theme, or centre your menu on particular ingredients?

Always ingredients and climate followed by how many guests. I’ll typically visit a market and select what’s pristine and in season, and I prefer to feast with everything in the centre of the table so I’ll choose a hero dish.

For the protein, be it seafood, whole chook, a piece of dry aged beef, or an interesting cut of lamb or pork, try a new breed or brand of meat and expose your guest to a product that adds value to the experience.

Finally, I’ll choose the flavour based on the season. So if it’s autumn it’s Asian because of young ginger season; in winter robust, European cuisine tends to influence the menu and in summer it's all about Latin and Mediterranean.

When you visit someone else’s house for a meal, what’s the one thing you always bring?

I’ll either bring a unique bottle of wine or a cocktail kit. Recently, as there was an abundance of mangoes, I took all of the ingredients to make mango margaritas with arbol chilli salt. It was such a hit and an easy way to celebrate a new recipe with friends.

Check out our chat with Supernormal sommelier Leanne Altman on selecting wines for a party

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