“Yellow and orange are brilliant morning colours
and even more so when you are having breakfast with Bill Granger”
Whether pomegranate & coconut yoghurt with blueberries,
almond butter on rye, bacon and egg roll with spiced mango chutney or sweet miso porridge, he has introduced Aussies to countless breakfast recipes that has made him Australia’s King of Breakfast.
Based in London, he has institutionalized ricotta hotcakes with banana and honeycomb butter at his cafe bills where the original Sydney locations at Darlinghurst and Surry Hills now boasts a third in Bondi.
And with a kind invitation from AC Agency, I caught up with Bill Granger over breakfast at Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art to find out what drives his passion over the first meal of each day.
Breakfast with Bill Granger
CMSP: You are a huge advocate of eating a good breakfast. What is your advice and motivation for those who choose to skip this meal altogether?
BG: For just 20 minutes a day, breakfast can add a lot of structure into your life. That’s what I do everyday with my family and it’s fantastic. It’s a time to chat about the day, to eat well, to give your body nutrition and prepare yourself for a great day.
Breakfast is such an important meal of the day. You’re breaking the fast and kicking in your metabolism. You’re setting yourself up for the day so you don’t have a slump, you don’t go for junk food, you eat properly.
If you get breakfast right, you’re a third of the way there and you just have to worry about lunch and then dinner. For those who skip breakfast altogether, know that this is slowing your metabolism down and not starting off your day the best way possible.
CMSP: Sitting down with the family for breakfast is a great way to spend quality time ahead of a busy day. What are your some of your family favourites during breakfast each day?
BG: Our family favourites for breakfast are really simple.
We have rye toast with avocado and a poached egg, we do boiled eggs with fresh tomato, we do fried rice if there is left over rice in the fridge, we do cereal, yoghurt and berries because that’s a really great, fast breakfast on the run.
As someone who has created a career around breakfast, I strongly believe that sitting down to breakfast with your family is an essential way to start your day.
CMSP: You are one of Australia’s most influential and recognisable celebrity chefs. Is there a person who has influenced you the most in your career and why?
BG: There’s no specific chef that’s influenced me. Chefs in the US such as Alice Waters, Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson in the UK are fantastic and Jamie is a great guy. Neil Perry here in Australia has really set the bar high by creating delicious food accessible to everyone. Donna Hay in Australia has been a huge influence and all the way down to the young chefs like Matt Stone.
CMSP: You have recently opened a bills restaurant in Waikiki, Honolulu. Apart from the sun and surf culture that is so similar to Sydney, are there any other compelling reason to set up shop in President Obama’s home state?
BG: I love Hawaii. I love its fusion of all great things, you know the food is a great mix of east and west but it’s done in a really natural way, a lot like Australia. The King Chi Ming fried rice we have on our menu was inspired by one I ate in Hawaii. They do the most delicious tuna and of course there’s that incredible climate and the ‘Aloha’ spirit.
CMSP: Your businesses span the globe from Sydney, Tokyo, Seoul to London and more recently Hawaii. Do you have a favourite restaurant in the world that you love to dine in and why?
BG: It’s hard to say my favourite, it’s like saying my favourite child. I love Bondi and our new restaurant there. I’m a fan of Bondi’s relaxed attitude, the idea of it so close to the beach. But I also love Westbourne Grove right bang in the middle of London. It’s glamorous, it’s exciting and fun.
And then of course Tokyo. Right in the middle of that wonderful vibrant part of Tokyo at Omotesando, we have bills, which is incredible.
CMSP: You are based in London and your home city of Sydney has now become such a melting pot of international flavours. Do you have a favourite cuisine that you look forward to whenever you are back here?
BG: I think for me coming from Australia, no one does South East Asian Thai like we do.
I think the food here is incredible but we just don’t get that in London. London is wonderful at Middle Eastern, flavours of the Mediterranean, but in Sydney, we do Thai and Vietnamese like nowhere else.
CMSP: You have published so many top-selling cookbooks. Outside of breakfast, do you have a favourite dish you love cooking at home for your family?
BG: I think a classic my family loves is chicken … a classic roast. I don’t like cooking it so much but they love eating it. For them, when they’re tired and when we have been travelling, it’s simple food that makes them feel like they are home.
My idea of breakfast is one that changes every day. My father has had the same breakfast for as long as I can remember ~ cereal, toasted marmalade and orange juice and coffee.
But for me variety is the spice of life. So one day, it’ll be toasted avocado and a poached egg. Another day it’ll be cereal and yoghurt and berries, anything as long as it’s different.
Our breakfast room in the Museum of Contemporary Art has panoramic views of Sydney harbour, ferries docking at Circular Quay and Sydney Opera House being the majestic centrepiece.
It is slowly filling up with breakfast enthusiasts, media personalities, chefs, food bloggers, magazine editors and publishers.
Cereal with strawberries, blueberries and yoghurt in a glass is pretty but a bit more difficult to eat off compared to the good old breakfast bowl.
Bright yellow sunflowers are bringing a smile to everyone’s face. A fresh fruit platter adds beautiful colours with strawberries,watermelon, blueberries, mandarin, papaya and pineapple.
Waiters whizz in a hot breakfast of 63 degree Celsius eggs drizzled with citrus hollandaise sauce, baked soldier, bacon and baked beans with tomato relish.
This is among the most elegant breakfast eggs I have seen. I gingerly nudge the side of my plate and sure enough, the delicate eggs wobble beneath the hollandaise.
And why haven’t cafes thought about rolling up bacon into neat little cylinders? Not only does it spell a little more elegance, it is also easier to slice.
A waiter grinds some black pepper onto the eggs.
I wish I had another soldier because it is so crisp from the oven with just a hint of butter. And with a gentle nudge of my knife, a sea of orange yolk begins to flow against the ebb of yellow hollandaise. One soldier is definitely not enough to mop up the creamy hollandaise and rich yolk.
Yellow and orange are brilliant morning colours and even more so when you are having breakfast with Bill Granger.
So dear readers, which celebrity chef would you most like to have breakfast with?
ChopinandMysaucepan attended this event courtesy of AC Agency and received complimentary gifts from JORDANS. All opinions on this blog post are our own.
ChopinandMysaucepan neither endorse nor reject JORDANS products.