Five Minutes With: Hayden Quinn


Five Minutes With: Hayden Quinn
We sat down with Masterchef alumnus, Hayden Quinn to discuss his latest venture - Surfing the Menu, how to cook lamb perfectly and who would be invited to his ultimate dinner party.

STM is about to start on ABC1: Were you a fan of the original series?

Of course, it’s one of those staple shows of any young foodie when they were growing up (haha ie, me)

What can we expect that may be different from the old series?

Well the biggest difference is there is no Curtis or Ben haha but I think the world of media has changed a lot since then and also food has changed. Dan and I are not classically trained chefs like Curtis and Ben, we are just a couple of blokes who are cooks, and hence the food takes on a more homely feel. Which I think is great because it makes it super accessible and easy for people to achieve and have a go at home… Also, we are going to have a whole host of supplementary behind-the-scenes material going out across all forms of social media to give the show another element that definitely wasn’t there 10 years ago.

Where were some of the most memorable places you travelled to on the show?

So many to choose from! We had 13 different stops on our trip and of those 13 I have only been to 4 of them and they were all on the east coast, so every new stop was a new experience. I particularly loved Exmouth and also Katherine, where we got away from the coast and spent some time with the indigenous communities of the area.

Your list of affiliations and achievements is extensive. What do you love about being able to lend your name to so many great causes?

I think I just love doing everything! You can’t have your eggs all in one basket and I would get bored if I wasn’t busy (I love being busy….) and I love seeing people happy and being able to help out as much as I can. I think one of my favourite things to do is connect people together, I love being a link for people when they need it.

You’ve got 20 minutes before you have to be out the door – what’s your go to quick-and-easy dish that never fails to satisfy?

20 mins! Your rushing me now, does that include cleaning up? My go-to for unexpected situations and for entertaining both big and small groups is the Indian style lamb forequarter chops from, which can be paired perfectly with a variety of salads. I’ve always got my spices on hand and good quality greens in the fridge. The forequarter chop is so easy to cook and pair with any type of marinade, and is easy on the wallet too. You can grill it on the barbecue or roast it in the oven. An alternative to the forequarter is the bone-in shoulder, which can be marinated with the same Indian style flavours as the forequarter chop recipe, and cooked in the oven for a few hours for beautifully tender meat. Autumn is a funny time of year when it is hot in the morning and stormy in the afternoon, and lamb also provides a simple and delicious way to create something that everyone will love.

You’re a gym co-owner – congratulations! What are your favourite pre and post-workout snacks/meals?

Cheers! Yeah The Cube Gym is an amazing space and we have the best community of members, really stoked with how well it’s going and how everything is turning out on that front. As for meals…. Pre-workout I normally train in the afternoon and I like to eat 2 hrs before training, so I would probably have had lunch, some sort of salad with a good quality carb like sweet potato or brown rice or barley along with some nuts, something spicy and a good dressing of olive oil and lemon, plus some protein, usually left overs from the night before, say an extra cut of meat I didn’t eat sliced up : )

After the gym, it’s dinner, I don’t use any supplements, I used to, but I have stopped with that and now just go with real food and cooking, so after the gym it would be dinner, something balanced, heavy on the greens and again with a good quality protein (imagine a nice quick cook lamb leg steak) and some carbs to fuel the body.

Favourite lamb dish? And what are your top tips for cooking lamb perfectly every time?

At the moment my favourite dish is the American honey glazed lamb shoulder from Lamb shoulder is so versatile as it can be paired with a variety of marinades whether you are after middle eastern or even Italian flavours, and is easy to pair with salads and relishes. I strongly recommend all cooks to use the Meat Cuts app (available on iOS and Android). This app provides you with information about where the individual cuts come from, their characteristics, suggested cooking methods and perfectly matched recipes. It even suggests alternative cuts too. You should also ask your butcher for cooking and cuts advice, it’s amazing how much knowledge they have about this!

What is your favourite marine animal and why?

Octopus. Because they are super smart, super tasty and also sustainable to eat.

Talk to me about your role as Ambassador to the Starlight Foundation: What does it mean to you?

I have been an ambassador since 2011 and am super passionate about the work the starlight team does in our hospitals. For me it has a personal linkage, as my little sister was very sick when she was younger and had a starlight wish granted. This was a very special time for our family and we couldn’t have done it without the help of starlight and the kind donations of all the supporters of this organisation.

Favourite sweet and savoury dish in your new cook book?

Savoury – Camp Fire Lamb Shoulder with Simple Slaw (page 48) and Sweet – Choc BlueBerry No Churn Ice Cream (page 214)

What was the first dish you ever learned to cook, who taught you and do you still make it?

Toad in the hole! Mum, always mum, she taught me everything!

Top 5 at your ultimate dinner party (alive or dead)?

My grandfather as I never met him, Jonah hill, Jamie Oliver (he can cook), myself and Jax.


Surfing the Menu airs every Sunday on ABC1


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