Monday, 15 June 2009 by kinakoJam
NZ visual artist Ben Buchanan (who moonlights as rap-thug Erik Ultimate) has long been an inspiration to me. Not least due to his skills with a knife. As well as making fantastic artwork with spliced adhesive tape, his knife has been put to good use in many of Wellington's so-hip-it-hurts kitchens.
A life lived by the knife is not without its hazards - when we visited NZ's capital city to eat rendang and roti with him two years ago, Ben was fresh out of hospital with a cast on, due to an unfortunate incident with a mango during the brunch rush. (The exact words of his text message at the time were: "currently in hutt hospital after accident with a mango!!" Apparently there were at least two other chefs in the emergency room that day, also with knife wounds).
Here's an excerpt from a Q&A with BB after his Sleeping installation, hosted by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.
You are quite a dab hand in the kitchen. What do you prefer to cook: risottos, rich reductions and masculine proteins, or deconstructed frozen sushi?
Hmmm...would have to go with rich reductions and masculine proteins. Definitely slow cook comfort stuff. I spent a year working in kitchens in Dublin and was kinda looking for the Irish cuisine. Aside from gaining a fondness for skate wings and Guiness, the best thing I found was at the chippers: chicken curry and chips, which is like deep fried chicken with chips and this awesome gravy with lots of curry powder in it. Sooo good... So my fave thing to make at home is to joint a chicken, marinate it in special crispy chicken coating from the Asian grocer [you gotta leave it in the flour stuff for a couple of hours]...then fry it with as much oil and butter as will fit in my or your pan [hey this is kind of a recipe], then roast with plenty of spuds... Whilst this is goin' [you wanna put the spuds on first]... Fry onions, garlic and mushrooms in butter. Add gravy powder from the dairy (get 2 packets, it's like 80 cents) and curry powder and dried chili, then boiling water, and stir etc. God damn, then yummo. So good....
What music genre best describes your culinary style?
Maybe Venga Boys doing a Van Morrison track.
.....Read the rest of the interview and see pictures of his latest artworks here.