Aussie chef Magnus Reid tells us about his recent trip to the isle of Hydra and his secret obsession with watching hundreds of items on eBay. Also included: dreamy holiday snaps of East London’s most photogenic family.
Where are you in these photos and what were you doing?
I’m on Hydra in Greece. I was trying to do as little as possible and not much in between.
What was the best thing about the trip?
The friends and family I was with, and the new friends I made. Getting out of London is a huge bonus, and to such a beautiful spot is a real luxury.
Any memorable moments?
There were many moments, but what struck me was how the island forced everyone to slow down and sink into a slower way of life. We were with a big group of people dotted all over the island. For everyone to get into the island pace so naturally made it a very special trip.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in Perth, Western Australia. I now live in London.
What’s the biggest difference between Australia and the UK?
The weather, but that doesn't matter. The main difference for me is the opportunity in the UK. There’s much more opportunity for expression in most creative industries here, although that seems like it's slowly shifting now.
How would you sum up what you do in a sentence?
I cook for a living, but do other things because I feel like I have to.
How did you get your start in food?
I needed to pay rent, and was offered a bottom end role in a kitchen. I took it, and loved the attitude the kitchen had back in those days. It was fun, rude and extremely social.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I honestly didn't know. I still don't. I’m just doing things, and hopefully I keep doing things.
What was your first job?
Firstly fruit picking during summer. That was very short-lived. Then I worked at Toys ‘R’ Us filling shelves at night. I quickly got moved to the warehouse out the back, and was unloading trucks and lugging stuff around the store.
What did you do on your last day off?
I was out in Berlin, got home at 2am and got to the airport at 4am. I then flew to London and was home at 10am. I then slept until 2 or 3pm. I went for a walk with my wife Anja and my son Ozzy, cooked dinner, and found my way back to bed.
Describe yourself in three words.
I. Don’t. Wanna.
Who do you most admire?
I admire people close to me, friends who are pushing themselves or are embracing their urges. I love to see people succeed and grow within their role or chosen field. I don’t really admire anyone I don’t know, because I think someone’s personality is so important, and you can’t grasp that truly without sitting across from someone.
If you weren’t a chef what would you be doing?
I’d be starving.
If you were invisible for a day, what would you do?
I’d go into places I wouldn't normally be allowed: Buckingham Palace, Area 51....you know.....
One thing you can’t live without?
Favourite thing to eat and where do you go to eat it?
Ripe mangos. Real mangos that haven't travelled across continents to be eaten. I love eating them when I go home to Perth.
“I don’t really admire anyone I don’t know, because I think someone’s personality is so important, and you can’t grasp that truly without sitting across from someone.”
Best meal you ate on your trip?
Lulu has a taverna just off the port - it’s an amazing spot that spills out onto the street. Myself and my friend Sam booked it by accident when we were told to book 'the taverna' for a friend’s birthday. Lulu ended up being the best host - she organised a cake to be made, showed us her photos from the 70s, told us what to eat and let us drink as we pleased.
What’s the most surprising thing we’d find out if we looked at your phone?
That I have a weird obsession with eBay, and get hooked on weird categories and watch hundreds of items just because I want to know what happens. Even if I know I’ll never buy it, I just need to see.
The best advice you've ever been given?
From my business partner, Andy, who said: “You don't have to say yes or no to anything.”
Funniest person you know?
Tony Cantwell, but also maybe Terri his wife.
Favourite place on earth?
This is hard. I hope I don’t ever settle on a favourite place because then maybe I’d stop exploring. The sea urchin shack at Porto Badisco, Puglia has gotta be pretty close. Hydra, too.
Opium Tea by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Sea bird by The Alessi Brothers
Everything’s Fucked by Dirty Three