FQ TOPIC: Culinary

FQ1: In addition to the dearly departed Julia Child, who is your favorite food personality?

Jamie Oliver Jamie Oliver Jamie Oliver!! I LOVE Jamie Oliver. The way he cooks, the way he looks, the clothes he wears, the way he slides down the stairs, his basketball hoop, his stock-based soups, his lovely wife, his extra-sharp knife-s.

But I worry about Jamie - I worry that he spreads himself too thinly, that he looks tired a lot these days, that he's not looking after himself as well as he should.

FQ2: What meal would you have this culinary genius prepare for you if they asked?

Oh I saw him do things to a leg-of-lamb once - I'd love him to come and cook a roast lamb and vegetables, with trifle for dessert. I know, not fancy, good hearty kiwi food but between him, and that, and wine - what a wonderful evening!!

FQ3: If they refused, and you could eat at any restaurant you wanted as a consolation, which one would you choose?

I would need a great deal of consoling. Although I could go anywhere in the world to eat, and quite frankly, am often asked - I still think the best food is here in New Zealand. My favourite restaurant is the wonderful Cin Cin (I hope they didn't pay much for their website; it's ikky, cheap looking and poorly made) at the Ferry Wharf here in Auckland. They've revamped it and I must go and experience the new decor, but I've always loved my experiences there - no the least of which were shared with truck.

We were doted on by staff, first the bar staff who made truck her first chocolate martini and joined in our cheery conversation, and then by waiters - food waiters (i can still feel his breath as he whispered in my ear "It's delicious, isn't it"), wine waiters, dessert waiters and even coffee waiters. We were even treated to a fire breathing display by one of the bartenders later on in the evening.

FQ KITCHEN: Share with us a favorite recipe or cooking tip.

My favourite cooking tip has to be, don't chop onions after a gin and tonic (or 2 ) oh and, if the knife block is falling - let it. Catching knives is a skill you are unlikely to have. And, if you make a jelly in a mold, after dipping the mold into warm water to loosen the jelly from the sides and before tipping it onto your platter, gently pull the edge of the lip of the jelly from the side of your dish - break that seal - that seal is strong enough to keep your jelly in its container even when you shake and shake and shake the container, trying to shake that jelly loose and it will only then give way, falling onto your platter, then slithering off, wobbling over the kitchen counter and falling plop on the floor in front of the chef you invited to dinner.

Ok, they are kind of technical tips, here's a cooking tip: when you're making meatballs for your spaghetti, splash-a-dash of good whiskey in with the meat mixture before rolling into balls.