Istvan Ulman’s passion for food began with his mother in Hungary where they enjoyed cooking together. “We’d spend hours making Sunday lunch and I loved making custard that’s still a favourite of mine.”
At the age of 15 he trained in Budapest then worked in kitchens across Scotland, Ireland and England and taught cooking in Bristol colleges. His ‘must have’ ingredients are butter, herbs and garlic paired with Wusthof knives that his father gave him when he finished college.
“I’ve always enjoyed the buzz of a busy service and the opportunity to be creative in my flavour combinations,” he said. “I enjoy bistro-style food and seafood.
My favourite cookbooks are ‘Eleven Madison Park’ by Daniel Humm and Will Guidara,” explained Istvan who balances work with surfing and fishing – a perfect combination.
360Qs Barry Iddles sponsored Istvan from the UK and decided his role over two power packed weeks was to introduce him to as many Asian-style restaurants and local establishments.
Istvan arrived in Australia 9th February and on the 10th they were on a panel at William Angliss before 40 apprentice chefs. “Then the eating started,” says Barry. “Chin Chin Hawkers Hall for dinner that night; 11th it was T&R Indian Cuisine, 12th At the Heads, 13th Hanoi Kitchen. Istvan cooked for 70 on Valentine’s Day followed by the Linda Ronstadt/Joe Cocker dinner for 120…Sunday and Monday off to rest, then Bali Tuesday and back on Saturday for cooking class, and of course dining in the best, Billy Ho, Mama San, Sarong, Merah Putih, xyclo Vietnamese and lots of local restaurants – 13 meals in three and a half days.”
Istvan says he finds inspiration from all over the place – holidays, magazines, social media – then adapts a method or flavour to what’s available and in season. “He’s an incredibly passionate young chef and is taking over the head chef role at 360Q,” said Barry.
Let’s hope he can keep up the pace!