Tricks of the chef trade
WHEN Tony Crossin puts on his "suit of armour”, he can do anything.
While it's not a bullet-proof vest, it is something that helps him ensure the health and well-being of everyday people.
"I can go and talk to 1000 people in a room, as long as I've got my chef's jacket on, I'm fine. I can do whatever,” Tony said.
"You see these superheroes, I say, 'that's what my superhero outfit is'.”
The Sydney chef has had a rewarding career cooking for some of Australia's most elite athletes, but recently decided to make a sea change to Noosa with his wife.
His speciality is nutrition and healthy eating, creating delicious meals full of vitamins, minerals and all things nourishing.
Recently, his confidence- boosting suit of armour was put to the test during filming of an episode of the Biggest Loser Transformed.
10 contestants were given one hour to cook for 45 burly AFL players, the GWS Giants, a situation Tony describes as "complete pandemonium”.
"It was frantic,” Tony said.
"I'd say there were 30 people in the room, in a small kitchen. We had 10 contestants, five cameramen, five sound guys, two producers, two assistants.
"I was being pulled from place to place. It was crazy.
"But it was really good. They (contestants) all worked really well together, they had a lot of fun. I was very proud of them.”
Before his move to Noosa, Tony was a full-time cook for the GWS Giants, the Bulldogs and the St Illawarra Dragons in Sydney.
His career began in the UK, cooking and designing meals for British Airways.
"I ran the biggest flight kitchen in Europe. It was a massive operation - we used to make 300,000 meals a day,” Tony said.
"Then I took up a job flying around the world designing airline menus, which is when I discovered Australia.”
After eight years working for Qantas, Tony decided he wanted to start a business combining his two loves - food and sport.
"I wanted to get back into cooking,” he said.
"I had a passion for sport, I had a passion for food, so I wanted to start something where I could bring them together.”
He set up a business cooking and delivering nutritious ready-made meals, and that was when sporting teams started contacting him for catering assistance.
Tony said a big part of his career has been educating not only everyday people, but athletes as well, about the importance of eating correctly.
"I've spent the last 10 years trying to help people understand how important your diet is in the whole nutrition part of it,” Tony said.
"It's more important than the actual physical elements. It's a case of getting both of those things right.
"If people eat well, they feel better, they're able to eat more, their whole body changes.”
Tony also ran a cooking school in Sydney teaching people the tricks of the trade to boost their confidence in their home kitchens.
"The idea of our cooking school was for people to come in and it felt like a home-style kitchen.
"We were more targeting mums and dads and kids to get them to come into a kitchen environment.
"It's more engaging with people, it's more about them asking questions and getting to understand how things work.
"People just don't know things like how to cut an onion up properly. That's the sort of thing. I can't tell you how many times I was asked that question.”
So what are some healthy eating tips, and of course, the onion secret?
"The basic things is to get the protein right, the carbohydrates right. Once you've got the ratio right for you, it works really well,” he said.
"Find some colour for your meals in your salad and vegetables. I try to incorporate texture into it as well; you need a bit of crunch.
"Think of things you can flavour it with - onions, shallots, herbs, flavour. Then all you've got to do is prepare your protein, put it together - done. You can make a really good dish that's really colourful.
"(When) cutting onions, have a little bowl of water on the corner of your chopping board. The moisture from the onion will look for moisture, and that's your eyes, mouth, nose. And using a really sharp knife helps.
"As a chef, we just know how to do things like that. Once you start imparting those onto people, they go, 'wow, it's that easy'. It's not complicated, it's actually really easy.”
Tony hopes to start offering his knowledge to local gyms, healthcare facilities and set up a cooking school in Noosa.
If you'd like to get in contact with Tony, email him on firstname.lastname@example.org.