Question: What are your top tricks for getting through the busy Christmas period without going crazy?
Ben O'Donoghue: Preparation is the key! Being organised and planning your feast is essential so research your recipes and see what you need ahead of the big day. My wife and I always make sure we have planned the menu and ordered all the fresh food ahead of time. We also make sure we have organised the table plan and decorations ahead of Christmas day so on the day, we can focus on the cooking and more importantly, the eating!
Question: What will you are cooking for your family, on Christmas Day this year?
Ben O'Donoghue: This Christmas, as every Christmas, I will be cooking up a great big ham. It's a favourite Christmas dish of mine as it can be prepared early on the day and enjoyed warm for Christmas lunch. The best bit is that you have ham for about a week so it's like Christmas for an entire week!
Question: Can you talk us through your Christmas eating traditions?
Ben O'Donoghue: Our Christmas family traditions have always been around fresh food and lots of it! We always have a mixture of proteins including fresh seafood; a big ham and a turkey accompanied by multiply salads and vegetables.
Question: How can Australians modernise their traditional Christmas dinners?
Ben O'Donoghue: Include fresh seafood in your Christmas menu plan – it is always a favourite and so easy to prepare.
Question: Many Australians give food as gifts nowadays, is there a dessert you always share with your family and friends?
Ben O'Donoghue: Dark chocolate covered macadamias are always a favourite of mine. I always try to buy local, seasonal produce and Australia grows such delicious macadamias so they are a great dessert gift for friends.
Question: How do you keep your kitchen space clean whilst cooking?
Ben O'Donoghue: I am very conscience about cleaning up as I go, when cooking. If you leave all the clean up until after you have cooked, it becomes a monstrous task and really dampens the joys of the whole cooking experience.
Question: What methods do you take to reduce food wastage, in your home?
Ben O'Donoghue: I try to buy only what we need and try to get creative in the kitchen when we are low on food instead of going out and buying more. I only like to go food shopping when the fridge is completely empty!
Question: What's your cooking process, are you a pre-prepare and then cook; or are you a prepare as you cook chef and why?
Ben O'Donoghue: It really does depend on how much time I have but if I'm cooking for friends and family, my style is definitely prepare and then cook as it gives me more time to spend with my friends and family.
Question: What are your top hygiene cooking tips?
Ben O'Donoghue: Fairy Platinum tablets and liquid are great to keep on hand for the enviable washing up – they cut through grease in one wash, meaning I can spend more time on more important things in life. It also helps washing cutting broads during the cooking process if they are being used for different ingredients, especially different proteins.
Question: If you had to cook a meal for your family, with only five ingredients, what would those five ingredients be?
Ben O'Donoghue: That's a hard one as I have three children with varying tastes so it would have to be something that they all love! To keep the middle child placated and satisfy everyone, the dish would be Prawns Dumplings in soup so I would need:
There would also have to be some store cupboard essentials like Chinese rice wine and a little sugar. Make the dumplings and poach them in stock, seasoned with soy and everyone is happy!
Interview by Brooke Hunter