The Aussie Gourmet says have fun with cooking!

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Naomi Nachman, The Aussie Gourmet, is a Kosher cooking maven and writer. In addition to her popular website, www.theaussiegourmet.com, she is the author of “Perfect for Pesach” and “Perfect Flavors.”

Nachman’s cooking show, “Sunny Side Up,” is posted at Kosher.com and her weekly show, “Table for Two with Naomi Nachman,” airs on The Nachum Segal Network app and online. 

We recently interviewed Nachman for Jewish Rhode Island’s Food issue:

Q. Where did your love of food begin?

A. As a child in Sydney, Australia, we did not go out to eat. We loved good food and we made it ourselves, because there were limited Kosher restaurants in Australia. I always had a love affair with food and used to look at recipes online before there were blogs. I would explore all the food items in the Kosher food market.

Q. When did you come to the United States?

A. I came to New York when I was 21 to go to college.

I decided to become a personal chef 15 years ago, at a time when there were no Kosher personal chefs – I was a pioneer in the industry.

Q. What steps did you take to become an entrepreneur?

A. I named my business “The Aussie Gourmet,” and started teaching cooking classes, and became a personal chef when I moved from Manhattan to Long Island [New York].

Q. What about substitutes for not mixing meat and milk?

A. There are so many substitutes; you can find anything in a Kosher counterpart, from non-dairy creamer [and] non-dairy cream cheese to meat alternatives such as the Impossible Burger, which is great with cheese.

Q. What are some of your best cooking tips?

A. First of all, plan in advance. I double recipes [to] have meals ready at the last minute. One I serve right away and one I freeze for a future meal.  Next, use good equipment. These are among my favorite tools that I can’t do without: a lemon squeezer, a garlic crusher, a good vegetable peeler, sharp knives and new cutting boards. These tools make all the difference in cooking.

Q. What do your followers ask you most often?

A. They ask me where do I get my ideas from. I get them from exploring when I’m traveling.  I look around and have my eyes wide open when I travel.  I bring the influence back into my kitchen and create dishes for my readers. Many of these recipes are in my book “Perfect Flavors.”

Q. What are some of those dishes and what countries are they adapted from?

A. Pad thai, which was in Thailand. I was standing on the street watching them  make it, and talked to them about the different ingredients. I looked to see what they were putting in the dish and got someone to translate for me.

I said to myself, I’ve got to bring this home and make this Kosher.  I did re-create it, and now it’s in my book. 

Another dish is ceviche, which I saw being made in Panama. I make it for Rosh Hashanah using salmon. They use a local fish and I adapted [it] to my environment and to Kosher specifications.

Q. What is your favorite recipe?

A. That’s like asking who your favorite child is! I like all my recipes. I do love making meat, and have a dish called Mole Inspired Ribs. It has chocolate chips in it and is inspired from Mexico.

Q. Any favorites for children?

A. I have recipes for cereal cookies made with leftover cereal. And my grandchild loves my vegetable soup.

Q. What is your takeaway message for our readers?

A. The key to cooking great Kosher food is using fresh ingredients. There are so many great recipes that are quick and easy to make. Have fun with cooking. It should be an experience, not a burden.

PATRICIA RASKIN, owner of Raskin Resources Productions, is a media host, coach and award-winning radio producer and business owner. She is on the board of directors of Temple Emanu-El, in Providence.