After winning his first Michelin-star on Monday, it was fantastic to catch up with Miller Prada to find out how he uses Japanese ingredients in his menu and to find out what the future holds for HUMO...
SS: Tell us about your restaurant, how long it’s been running and what the core concept is?
Miller: We're just a year old and thrilled about our achievements so far and what's to come. At HUMO, we believe every tree species has its own unique "personality." That's why we exclusively use wood fire in our cooking. Currently, our menu features seven different wood types, and our focus is on perfecting the techniques for each wood to bring out its distinct flavour.
SS: How long have you been a chef and where did it all start?
Miller: I've been in the culinary world for about 18 years now. Originally, my goal was to travel the world. I figured that cooking must be a universal experience, regardless of location. Drawing inspiration from the amazing cooks in my house, particularly the women who taught me a lot, I made my way to Australia. Within three days of arriving, I found myself in a kitchen, and I absolutely loved it. From that point on, everything just fell into place, and I've never left the kitchens since.
SS: What are the biggest trends in the industry this year?
Miller: I've heard of some fantastic chefs who are interested in exploring projects in the casual, fast-food realm—something that's all about fun, speed, and keeping it simple.
SS: How is your relationship with SushiSushi and how long have you worked together?
Miller: I met Stu about five years ago and was immediately impressed by the incredible quality of the ingredients he was working with. Naturally, I wanted to experience as many of them as possible. Since then, we've collaborated on a couple of different projects, and the support from Stu and SushiSushi has been fantastic. I'm eager to work even more closely and explore additional flavors with Stu and the SushiSushi team.
SS: What Japanese products do you currently use in your menu?
Miller: Some of the key ingredients we use at HUMO include sake lees, Koji, katsuobushi, Sansho, miso, sake, various types of soy, different salts, sugars, white kombu, yamadashi, rausu kombu, and Mirin. While these are essential, we also incorporate a few more ingredients into our specials.
SS: If money were no object, what Japanese ingredient would you always have on the menu?
Miller: Mazuma Wasabi
SS: How has using Japanese ingredients influenced your menu?
Miller: These ingredients play a significant role in nearly every dish at HUMO. Some are absolutely essential, and these are the ingredients I thoroughly understand, love, and know how to work with. It's truly exciting to have such a diverse range of ingredients, opening up limitless possibilities to add layers of flavor to our dishes.
SS: If you could travel to Japan tomorrow just for food, what would be the top things you’d want to do or try?
Miller: I'm excited to explore everything about Japan, particularly its food. I haven't been there yet, but I look forward to a great culinary experience when I visit.
SS: Why do you think Japan is so admired in the West for its cuisine?
Miller: Japanese craftsmen truly dedicate their lives to their work. They strive for excellence in every aspect of their craft, whether it's mastering a technique or perfecting a flavor. Their commitment leads to outstanding results, setting them apart on a different level that is truly admirable.
SS: Sake or Beer?
Miller: When it comes to drinks, a cold beer is always a favorite, anytime. However, a must-have after service or with food is some sake.
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