Magic behind the scenes with our Head Chef, Lana Cargill

Inspire | 10.06.20

Cover image: Theodore & Co

Just as it is in many homes, our kitchen is the heartbeat of our operation. The love and care that goes into creating our exceptional menus and outstanding dishes is something that we are truly proud of.

So we thought it was time to introduce you to the woman who, alongside her super-talented team, makes the magic happen behind the scenes. Meet our Head Chef, Lana Cargill.

What is your favourite country to travel to and what do you love to eat there?

I love travelling to Italy and, ofcourse, pasta is at the top of my list when visiting this beautiful country. I like to eat regionally and try local specialties. I always seek out smaller, more traditional restaurants and tend to avoid places frequented by tourists.

My tips are to eat late, look for a small menu and wander into restaurants, cafes or bars that are full of locals – even if the language is a bit a struggle, you’re guaranteed an authentic experience.

I also love Asia, particularly Thailand, Vietnam and Bali which has some incredible restaurants and a vibrant dining scene.

How have your travels influenced your cooking style, menus and dishes?

I like to travel often, try new cuisines and dishes and take part in local cooking classes where possible. The dishes that I experience inspire me to incorporate different flavours, ingredients, techniques and presentation into the dishes that you see on our menu at Metropolis.

Eight years ago I lived and worked in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for six months as part of the pre-opening team for a luxury Skybar and Restaurant. That experience definitely influenced my cooking style and expanded my repertoire.

Asian style pork belly, master stock broth, shitake and baby King browns, tempura enoki, coriander foam
What’s your favourite thing to cook at home?

I cook a lot and it varies depending on the season and what I feel like each day. At this time of year I like to make a traditional ragu with pork and beef mince, white wine and milk, cooked gently for 3-4 hours. It’s the perfect dish for a cool, Wintery Sunday afternoon served with fresh pappardelle and a bottle of Pinot Noir

We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to the Australian restaurant and bar scene. We’d love to know your favourites….

I have so many favourites and always enjoy trying out new establishments, so it’s hard to narrow it down to just a few, but here’s my go-to list.

The Estelle, Northcote – modern, contemporary and always excellent
Matteo’s, North Fitzroy – generous serves and real hospitality
Cicciolina, St Kilda – the back bar is a cosy place to share antipasto and a bottle of wine
Maha, Melbourne – unique combination of Middle Eastern flavours and modern presentation
Glovers Station, Elsternwick – head here for a great breakfast
Pacific BBQ House (Chinese), Melbourne – for the best salt and pepper squid, crispy roast pork and roast duck
Milk The Cow, St Kilda – try their wine and cheese flight
Cape, RACV Cape Schanck Resort – great for a day trip or overnight get away
The Stables at Stones of the Yarra Valley – particularly stunning in Autumn
Hentley Farm, Barossa SA – Head Chef, Lachlan Colwill creates amazing degustation menus that change daily
Catalina Rose Bay, Sydney NSW – fine dining with incredible waterfront views

Lastly, tell us about your favourite book…

I like to read crime novels and murder mysteries. Patricia Cornwell, James Pattison and Agatha Christie are among my favourite authors. I’m also a Harry Potter fan. And it probably goes without saying that I read plenty of cookbooks to keep the inspiration flowing!

Lana putting the finishing touches on one of our tasting tables
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