FB: How would you rate your cooking skills?

SV: Average at best, although I was at one point trained by a world renowned, international food establishment … er, would you like fries with that?

FB: What is your signature dish?
SV: I’m really just your average meat and three veg kind of cook. I do, however, make a picture perfect round of Vegemite on toast most mornings. It’s a science in itself, you know.

FB: If you could only have one more meal, what would it be?

SV: It’s gotta be a large, deep dish stuffed crust pizza from Giordano’s in Chicago. Pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers and onions. Enough calories to feed a small, starving nation in just one serve.

FB: What is your favourite TV food show and who is your favourite TV food person?

SV: I’ve become a bit of a fan of the Great British Bake Off. The laid back and friendly production style is great, and not having prizes at the end means it just has a really nice feel to it. My favourite TV food personality is Nigella Lawson.

FB: What is your favourite food?

SV: Pizza. Ask anyone who knows me. It’s an addiction, I tell ya!

FB: What is your favourite drink?

SV: I’m not much of a drinker really, and I enjoy the ribbing I get for the occasional light beer I might have. Favourite drink overall is chocolate milk. Also, I heard once that too much coffee is a bad thing … I mean, seriously?

FB: Which 5 people would you most like to invite to dinner?

SV: My Dad Bert. He passed away in 2002. What I wouldn’t give to have one more day with him. Also Clint Eastwood, John Travolta (anyone who has their own Boeing 707 is pretty cool by my standards), Chuck Yeager and Neil Mitchell – he inspired my passion for talk radio.

FB: Do you have a kitchen tip for us?

SV: Yep, and this one is really handy for the blokes out there, who, like me, tend to get themselves into a little kitchen trouble at times. The best way to remove that black, baked on, burnt gunk from the bottom of that pot you accidentally let boil dry (before your wife gets home and finds it) is:
1. Fill the bottom of the pan with a layer of water.
2. Add 1 cup of vinegar.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and add 2 tablespoons of baking soda.
5. Empty the pan and scour as normal; if necessary add an extra bit of dry baking soda. It works like an absolute charm … allegedly.



Is there an old kitchen relic that brings back special memories for you? For me it’s a heart-shaped cake tin, given to my mum by her mother-in-law (Granny Pat) just after she married my dad.

This tin was used for countless cakes throughout my childhood. My mum made her own birthday cake in it one year, and used a wooden skewer to scratch the number 38 in the icing. I found out years later it was actually her 40th birthday but she couldn’t bear the thought of anyone else finding out. On one occasion she forgot to grease the tin. This usually entailed smearing it with a great big wodge of Meadow Lea margarine to stop the cake from sticking (obviously baking paper wasn’t much of a thing back in the early 70s!) The cake ended up stuck to the pan – she was literally left with a broken heart!

I used the same tin to bake a cake for my year 10 home eco project. Somebody knocked my elbow while I was adding the food colouring to my icing … instead of a pale lemon colour, it came out radioactive yellow.

I was staying at my mum’s house this week and I stumbled across the heart-shaped tin. It must be more than 80 years old now. It seemed only fitting to make mum’s 83rd birthday cake in it. It was simple, it was pretty (thanks to the Dr Oetker sugar daisies I bought in the supermarket baking aisle) and it brought back some lovely memories.

(Photos supplied)