Six years on from winning the debut series of Australian MasterChef Adam Liaw has carved out a career as one of the country’s most in-demand cooks.
Known for creating simple and exciting dishes – inspired by his Malaysian and Chinese roots, and his culinary adventures in the likes of Japan, Indonesia, Australia and England – he has become a firm fixture in Australia’s food scene.
In addition to achieving success on the small screen as the host of SBS’s Destination Flavour, he’s also authored four best-selling cookbooks.
Adam recently sat down to talk with Flight Centre about the next countries on his globetrotting hit-list, while also revealing his travel Achilles heel.
What’s your favourite holiday?
Santorini is a spectacular place to visit. It’s very touristy to be sure, but the food is fantastic, the boats are brilliant and every time you look at the view it’s just gobsmacking.
What’s your carry-on essential?
Noise-reduction headphones. Even if it’s a short flight they really do take the stress out of travelling.
How do you beat jet lag?
Jet lag is a combination of time difference and exhaustion. You can’t change the time difference, but you can certainly tackle the exhaustion.
Making sure you’re in good shape and well rested before your flight is key. Working yourself to the bone before you leave or staying up late to get a jump on the time difference are the worst things you can do.
What’s your favourite city?
I love Stockholm. Great food, great nightlife, great culture and it’s stunningly beautiful, too.
Where was your most favourite meal?
One of the best meals I’ve had on the road was at La Tupina in Bordeaux. Simple French food that celebrates the food and the culture above the reputation of the chef, which is exactly what you want on holiday. My wife still raves about it.
Adventure or luxury?
Definitely adventure. I don’t mind luxury, but it always makes me feel a little uncomfortable. This year I saw a polar bear in the wild on the archipelago of Svalbard and there isn’t a poolside cocktail or high thread-count bed sheet in the world that can beat that!
What’s the essential ingredient for a good trip?
Making sure you keep busy, but not too busy. Heading out sightseeing is great, but so is staying by the pool, seeing a movie, or reading a book under a tree.
You need to have a good mix and I can guarantee you a few hours sitting in the shade will be just as memorable as your 10th temple or fifth museum of your trip.
What’s your top travel tip?
Make sure your health is taken care of before you go. Take a kit of bandages, alcohol wipes and basic medications with you, and make sure you visit your doctor for their advice before you leave.
There’s nothing worse than being sick abroad and trying to drag yourself out to a pharmacy for something you could’ve easily brought with you.
What’s your biggest packing mistake?
I guess overpacking used to be a big mistake of mine, but these days I hardly ever overpack. In fact it’s the reverse - I always need to leave room in my luggage.
Why? Because I can’t bring myself to leave behind anything I collect on the way. Cookbooks are truly my Achilles heel when travelling. They’re heavy and I always seem to buy them when I’m on the road.
Where do you want to go next?
I just got back from Scandinavia after travelling through Denmark, Norway and Sweden and I’m dying to go back. Iceland and Finland are next on my list I think.
Adam Liaw is an ambassador for Travel Health Awareness and encourages all Australians to visit their GP or travel health specialist for advice, ideally six weeks before heading overseas.