Liz Egan has over 20 years experience as a chef and restaurant owner, and most recently has been gaining fans with her frank advice and feedback as a guest judge on Seven’s smash series My Kitchen Rules. Liz grew up on Wantirna Estate vineyard in the Yarra Valley, surrounded by wine and food. Her mother is Italian and a wonderful cook, and Liz quickly learnt that the best way to ensure she got to taste everything she cooked for their numerous family and dinner parties was to help in the kitchen. She learnt about the innate side of cooking, by following the bones of a recipe then using her senses to lift it into an extraordinary dish, by tasting and adjusting.
After working in commercial kitchens almost by accident, Liz moved on to form a catering company which ended up as Onions, a highly regarded restaurant in Melbourne’s east. Onions was successfully developed in to a 2 Chefs Hat venue, the first recognition of which she now counts as her proudest moment of her career to date. Liz believes it’s very important to picture the dish you are planning to cook, imagine its taste, and then balance textures and flavours. This balance is really the best way to sum up what she look for in her home meals and her restaurant menus. Liz firmly believes that less is more when it comes to creating a dish; three or four elements which are beautifully in harmony will be more memorable than a cacophony of ingredients all jostling for attention and resulting in a disaster.
Liz also has a keen interest in the role food plays in our health. Liz has raised two girls, and in their meals she is always mindful of making them not only delicious but as healthy and nourishing as they can be. “It’s difficult to imagine me doing anything else, given my Italian heritage and my childhood on the vineyard. I’m always planning the next dish I want to cook, reading cook books and magazines, and I still spend an inordinate amount of my spare time thinking about food, websurfing menus and recipes, and eating!”
Liz appears regularly in culinary publications such as Vogue Entertaining, Gourmet Traveller, Delicious magazine, Taste in the Herald Sun and Epicure in The Age. She was Executive Chef of the modern Italian restaurant Becco in Melbourne’s CBD until 2012. Under her leadership Becco was consistently awarded a Chef’s Hat rating from The Age Good Food Guide every year since it opened in 1996.