CHEFS AND
THEIR MUMS

This week, we feature Ashley Davis, executive chef at Copper Pot restaurant in Seddon, and his mum Wendy.
Ashley and Wendy share a dish from the Copper Pot menu, which stems from a family favourite.

Ashley and Wendy

Ashley & Wendy’s king prawns, garlic, chilli & fino sherry

Ashley and Wendy’s cooking montage

Yield: 4 portions

Ingredients

  • 8 large king prawns
  • 100g softened unsalted butter
  • 10g Rosella Garlic
  • 1 handful chopped parsley
  • 1/2 deseeded and diced long red chilli
  • 10ml fino sherry
  • Flaked sea salt

Method

  1. Peel prawns leaving the head and tail attached, set aside in the fridge while preparing the sauce.
  2. Mix the softened butter, garlic, salt and parsley together thoroughly in a small bowl.
  3. Bring the butter mix to the boil in a small saucepan, add chilli, sherry and season with more salt if desired.
  4. In a hot frying pan, sear your king prawns for 1.5 minutes on each side, until well coloured.
  5. Plate the king prawns, two per person, and sauce well with garlic butter to serve.

Ashley Davis opened Copper Pot in December 2015, bringing the traditional fare of small European towns and villages to Melbourne’s inner-west. The menu sees these authentic recipes created using local produce – a melange of European and Australian terroir.

One of the restaurant’s signature dishes is a king prawn from Lakes Entrance served with chilli, garlic and Fino sherry. “This is something we would cook at home,” Ashley says. “Every Christmas we would always have prawns – actually we would have prawns anytime we could get our hands on them.”

Buttery, garlic prawns is Ashley’s 96-year-old pop’s favourite meal. However, it was a trip to Spain that inspired the current rendition. “This recipe is a crossover between where I grew up and the addition of the sherry and chilli from Spain. They probably wouldn’t use as much butter as we use in Australia; it would be olive oil based. That’s our translation for the Australian palate.”

Ashley has fond memories of learning to cook at home with his mum Wendy, with grandparents also ever-present. “Growing up, mum cooked everything; we didn’t really go out for dinner much,” Ashley recalls. “My grandmother cooked a lot, and that’s where mum got it from, and that’s where I got it from too. One of my earliest memories is shelling peas picked from Pop’s garden. Food has always been a big part of our family.”

The importance Ashley places on sourcing from local farmers and producers is something mum Wendy says he’s always been passionate about. “I think the idea of paddock-to-plate stayed with him from his childhood. Ashley would go fishing with his grandfather and then come home, clean up the fish and cook it.”