Heart and soul chef Steven Snow
CELEBRITY chef Steven Snow is a firm believer that the dinner table is not just about outstanding food, but exceptional people.
"The dinner table really is such a great forum and the occasion of eating a meal is just a wonderful thing," he said.
"I believe if everyone sat down and ate together there would be fewer problems in the world ... in families."
Mr Snow, owner of Fins restaurant at Salt, has travelled around the world, written several books and featured in many cooking shows and magazines.
When it comes to food "made with the heart and the soul", it seems Snowy could discuss his passion for a lifetime.
"Food is my real love," he said.
"I love it made with the heart and the soul. You need to embrace it and to embellish it."
Snowy earned his status as one of Australia's top chefs by transforming a deserted restaurant on the banks of the Brunswick River into a Two Chefs Hat restaurant, brimming with accolades and achievements.
Later, he shifted to the Byron Bay Beach Hotel, picking up awards left, right and centre, including Best Seafood Restaurant in Australia and Best Regional Restaurant.
But there is no real secret to Snowy's success. It's simply down to great produce, a passion for cooking and a desire to produce gastronomic delights with little fuss, flair or fanfare.
"I don't really get the stuff like a 'dusting of this'... or flowers, that to me should be left for cows to eat," he said.
"It's not like you head home from a restaurant and say 'I can't wait to get back and eat more of that foam', it just doesn't happen.
"Really, it's as simple as very good produce."
Surprisingly, Snowy very nearly ended up on a drastically different career path.
"I started out studying business and law but I became a chef," he said.
"I started (my business career) at Nestle and I finished my business degree, but then I was sitting in the office going 'I'm such a loser, what have I done?'.
"Becoming a chef was the best move I've ever made."
When asked about the strong interest in food from the public and the never-ending stream of food-based television, Snowy admitted it was slightly perplexing.
"In general I think that's a great thing, I've been really surprised by the longevity of it," he said.
Sometimes it's not about knowing what everyone else is doing, but about doing something different yourself.
"The only downside is when people get a few drinks in them, say a plumber, they want to give you ideas on improving a signature dish that has been positively reviewed many times.
"And I wouldn't go to a plumber and give him advice; I really wouldn't know where to start."
Snowy was adamant that most people can learn to cook great food, but they would often be overshadowed by those who just seem naturally talented with a pot or pan.
"I could learn all there is to learn and take tests from all the top mechanics and I'd still be totally hopeless," he said.
"You could know everything, but still get totally blown away by someone new to it who has that natural talent.
"Sometimes it's not about knowing what everyone else is doing, but about doing something different yourself."
Snowy also confessed his love of matching great wine with top-notch tucker, in a curious way.
"I drink red wine with cornflakes," he laughed.
When discussing his top culinary destination, Snowy had one key stipulation.
"It needs to have a temperature- controlled cellar with the best wine in the world," he said.
Snowy was proud to say that in a world increasingly reliant on technology, there was one trade which simply couldn't be replicated.
"Robots might be taking over everything, but they can never take over food," Snowy declared triumphantly.
Visit fins.com.au for more information about Snowy's latest venture, which has received rave reviews from food critics and Tweed residents alike.