Chef Michael Slavin is Director of Culinary and Menu Innovation for Houlihan’s Restaurants, which includes the Houlihan’s brand, J. Gilbert’s Wood-Fired Steaks, Bristol Seafood Grill and Devon Seafood & Steaks. The man knows his steaks! He’s also a good bloke, and a fan of Aussie beef and lamb, so we thought we’d have a chat and take a look into his Chef’s Life.
We often wonder how much chefs cook at home, when food is your business all day. Especially when kids are in the picture! You have three, ranging from 16 to 3. How does it go down in the Slavin house?
I cook as much as they want me to, especially when I can use my outdoor kitchen. Generally I don’t like to work with a plan, unless we’re having guests or a special occasion. I’ll work with what I have on hand, and take pride in getting something on the table in 20-30 minutes that everyone will like.
Obviously as a chef you have a leg up, but what’s the key to getting the kids to “buy in” to what dad’s cooking?
I think getting the kids involved is great — they get a sense of pride and accomplishment, and they’re invested in it. As the parent, you celebrate that they helped out; give them lots of credit and praise. It’s a lot like what you have to do with young cooks in professional kitchens these days!
You gave us a number of your favorite recipes for home cooks. Tell us about the “Zesty Lemon and Roasted Garlic Leg of Lamb Steak.”
That one is delicious! The key is we’re not trying to hide the lamb flavor. In the old days, cooks would cover up the natural taste of lamb with heavy sauces and mint jelly. But with good quality Aussie lamb you don’t want to do that! It’s naturally clean and almost sweet tasting because of the way it was raised, naturally on pasture. Keep it simple with a nice spice rub, and then a condiment like the one in the recipe, with feta, lemon, olive oil and herbs. It’s Mediterranean flavors all the way, and the lemon zest gives you that instant brightness and “pop.” You can almost taste it from the way it looks and smells…you’ll start salivating.
One tip for this one, you have to cook it fast, because it’s cut thin. Let it sit at room temperature to help it cook quickly, and use a good hot pan.
OK, we’re hungry now! For more of Chef Slavin’s recipes, follow this link. Or go to your local Houlihan’s Restaurant group location.