Spice Boy Mitch Smith

Image source: Photographer Megan Gill

Name Mitch Smith

Age 39

Position Executive Chef / Co-owner

Restaurants Riceboi / Giddy Geisha/ Piggyback/ Spero Greek

How did you become a chef? 

Like a lot of young chefs, I was a pretty loose young lad and moved up to North Queensland to Port Douglas to work in my brother’s restaurant, Goanna Bar and Eatery headed up by some legends Steve (Fester) and Jay Miller who had recently moved up from Est Est Est, a powerhouse restaurant at that time in Melbourne. With only a few months until the busy season to kick off they invested a bunch of time and pushed me hard from the get-go. I fell in love with the culture, the push and enjoyed the constant pressure… but the creative side of cooking and the ability to always learn more drives me.   

Most rewarding career moment so far? 

Definitely opening my first venue, Riceboi, with Tony Kelly and Elyza Molloy and seeing it become what it is.

What do you love about being a chef? 

The way you can express yourself through food, everyday is a new challenge which keeps it interesting; the kitchen banter and antics are always a laugh and you can build some great friendships through the industry. Being able to guide some epic young talents through the ranks is very rewarding.

Who is your culinary inspiration? 

Every chef I work with. It’s so good to bounce ideas off each other. 

What do you love about local produce? 

Being able to meet and connect with the actual people behind the product and getting a lot of inspiration from that alone. Fraser Isle Spanner Crab have an amazing product, Humm Honey is a seriously good honey with hives coming out of Petrie and Eudlo areas picking up the fragrance of local flora.

What is your approach to food? 

Balance is my biggest focus – and simplicity. I believe having the right balance especially with sweet, salty, hot and sour. I am big on texture as well. 

When working on a new dish I will look at how each ingredient can complement the next and like to build levels of flavour and depth, a lover of Asian food I do like to add a punch of flavour. 

Once you have built your palate from years of tasting, eating, learning you can know whether a dish is going to come together before making it.

Who would you love to cook for? 

David Chang and Roy Choi – both legends and I like their style.

Do you cook at home?  

I like baking bread and pizzas with the kids on the weekend – they get right into it. My wife Maddy does the majority of the cooking at home she is a decent cook! 

When we have friends over, I like to put a Greek feast on – lamb shoulder, lemon potatoes, tzatziki, all of the good stuff.

What is your favourite dish? 

Curries, I love making them from scratch. The paste, the coconut cream, the braising of meats and using the liquid to add depth to the sauce, getting the perfect balance. 

So many ways and so many types of curries it’s always something I’m researching and eating.

Why do you love the Sunshine Coast? 

It is so laidback and central. 

I can go to some epic beaches and to the hinterland in one day. 

There is a great food scene happening at the moment and that’s really growing; there are amazing local suppliers and it’s the perfect place to call home.

Any advice for young chefs? 

Work hard and show initiative, don’t worry about chasing the dollar and don’t try to jump straight to the top. Do your time, you will succeed with hard work and dedication. 

Be humble, always learn, be a sponge, read books, but most of all – cook. 

What is your favourite kitchen utensil ?

My Kurosaki Wenge Gyuto (chef’s knife) I bought this on my last Japan trip in Kappabashi the knife district near Tokyo. It’s such a great blade made by Kurosaki-san; he’s part of a new wave of blacksmiths coming through the trades in Japan.

What is your favourite ingredient? 

It would have to be fish sauce. 

From Thai style, Korean or the whole fish fermented Japanese style. It adds so much umami and a perfect seasoning, I often use it in western cooking instead of salt.

Mitch shares his recipe for Riceboi Edamame, including the special Riceboi Spice and Brown Butter elements! Enjoy! 


Riceboi Edamame

Ingredients:

1 pkt of edamame

4 tbsp brown butter (see left)

2 tbsp Riceboi spice (see below)

Method:

Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add edamame for 2 minutes until hot toss all ingredients together.

Riceboi spice

A spice mix to add serious punch of flavour to any dish – bbq chicken, vegetables, butter, grilled fish – you name it! 

Ingredients Stage 1:

240gm white sesame seeds, roasted

240gm black sesame seeds, roasted

300gm caster sugar

400gm sea salt flakes

15 sheets of nori seaweed toasted and blended to a rough powder

Ingredients Stage 2:

250gm garlic powder

250gm shichimi togarashi

60gm white sesame seeds, roasted

60gm black sesame seeds, roasted

Method:

Weigh out all ingredients separately as you will be leaving the second amount of sesame seeds whole. Blend together Stage 1 ingredients over a few batches until fine (you need to blend sugar salt and sesame all together otherwise sesame alone will become a paste).

In a large bowl fold in all of the Stage 2 ingredients and the Nori powder.

Store in an airtight container and it should last for weeks.

Roasted sesame seeds and shichimi togarashi will be available from your local Asian grocer.

Brown Butter

Ingredients:

500gm unsalted butter

Method:

Add butter to a wide heavy-bottomed pan over medium-low heat.

As the butter melts, continuously swirl the butter around the pan. The butter will go from brown to burnt quickly as the milk solids separate and cook, so stay close to the pan when you do this.

Continue swirling the butter over the heat until it is light brown in colour. 

Once light brown and smells nutty, remove from the heat and strain through a fine sieve or filter paper.

About the Author /

[email protected]

Deb has 25+ years' experience providing strategic communications and brand reputation advice to clients in the government, business and not-for-profit clients. She is passionate about Noosa and is an active member of her community, providing PR to Slow Food Noosa and other clients. Her passion lies in working with small businesses to help them succeed. She is planning to release the Tastes of Noosa cookbook with Matt Golinski in 2019.

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