Talking Travel with Celebrity Chef Luke Mangan

We chat to award-winning celebrity chef Luke Mangan about all things travel on the eve of his third year overseeing Virgin Australia's inflight menus.

What 3 things do you never leave home without when you travel? 
-Ipad/Ipod – I like to stay connected when I travel
-International rechargers
-Chef Jacket 
What is your favourite overseas holiday destination and why? 
Los Angeles – LA has such a great food culture and for a chef it’s a foodie’s paradise. 
LA has some of the best restaurants and chefs in the world, fabulous wine bars and cafes and amazing fresh food markets. I could eat my way around LA for months without every trying the same thing. 
Where is your favourite foodie destination in Australia and why?
I consider Australia to be a great food & wine destination and hope that we can expose more international travellers to our shores and show them it’s not all shrimp on the barbie. 
Australia has some amazing foodie destinations such as the Mornington Peninsula & Margaret River both offering a superb array of fresh produce and some of the best wines in the world. 
Noosa is also a place I frequently visit; it has really become a foodie hot spot with some great restaurants like Thomas Corner & Wasabi, as well as excellent fresh farmers markets. 
Does travel inspire you in the kitchen? 
Absolutely, travel exposes you to so many different cultures and food trends, some of which I have adopted in my own restaurant kitchens. 
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
If you really want something bad enough, never accept no for an answer! 
What‘s your favourite meal or menu you’ve created for Virgin Australia? 
At the moment it would definitely be our “Duck, Shiitake Mushroom and Five Spice Pie with Crushed Peas”  which we currently serve on our Domestic menu. It’s become a really popular dish with customers on board and we have had a lot of really great feedback. It’s an interesting dish with great flavours and not something you see every day on board. 
What exciting projects are you working on at the moment?  
I have recently launched our new restaurant Salt tapas inside the beautiful Sentosa Villas in Seminyak, Bali as well as our new wine bar in Sydney, mojo by Luke Mangan. 
I have also just launched my new cook book, SALT GRILL this September and currently launching the book through our restaurants. 
And to finish off, here is a delicious recipe Luke has shared with us. Enjoy! 
Scones With Jam & Whipped Cream
400g plain flour
Pinch salt
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
2 tbsp caster sugar
110g unsalted butter, cubed
300ml milk
1 egg, beaten
Jam and whipped cream, for serving
Sift together the flour, salt, baking soda, cream of tartar and caster sugar. 
Add the butter to the dry ingredients. 
Make a well in the centre and add the milk. 
Mix it all together with your hands to form a soft, fairly sticky dough. 
Leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Roll or press the dough out on a floured surface to about 2cm thick (if it's too sticky, sprinkle little extra flour onto the dough). 
Cut into circles, roughly 8cm in diameter. 
Place on a greased baking tray, brush the tops with beaten egg and bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. 
Serve immediately with jam and cream.
Makes about 12 scones. 

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