This week, we feature Michael Rapson, Commis Chef at InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto in the city’s CBD, and his mum Jill. Michael and Jill share their family recipe for a beef stir fry with chilli and ginger.

Michael and Jill

Michael and Jill’s vegetable and beef stir fry

Michael and Jill's Beef Stirfry


  • 1 tablespoon of Rosella Ginger
  • 1 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 250g lean beef (like rump or fillet steak), cut across the grain into thin strips
  • 2 shallots, halved, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red capsicum, cut into short thin strips
  • 1 carrot, cut into short thin strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 spoon toasted black sesame seeds


  1. Heat a large wok over high heat.
  2. Once the wok is hot, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and carefully swirl around to coat the side of the wok. Heat until very hot.
  3. Add the beef to the wok and toss it around till it gets a nice colour then add the Rosella Ginger, shallots, capsicum, carrot and garlic.
  4. Stir-fry for 2 minutes until the vegetables are just tender.
  5. Add the oyster sauce soy sauce and the sesame oil to the wok and season it with a bit of salt and pepper. If you like it spicy you could add some chilli to it. Toss well to combine.
  6. Serve it with steamed rice.
  7. Hint: It is important to heat the wok before adding the oil otherwise the oil can end up overheating and burning. You will know if the oil is hot enough if the beef starts to sizzle when added to the wok

Growing up, Michael’s family would cook a mesh of Indian and Australian food at home, tweaking recipes to add more heat for dad Gordon’s palate, and sneaking more vegetables into Michael’s meals. This stir-fry recipe was born out of those two motivations.

“I was a bit of a picky eater,” Michael says. “Mum was always telling me to eat my veggies, so this recipe was one of the only ways that she could get me to eat more.”

Gordon’s family descends from the south of India, where cooking is hot rather than spicy.

“At home, we adapt the recipe slightly,” Jill says. “I make my own chilli oil out of habanero chillis.”

With Jill and Gordon working full-time while Michael was at school, it was also something they could quickly throw together at the end of the day.

“It’s something that spans the different tastes and it’s an easy go to when you don’t have anything planned,” Michael says.

One family ritual was visiting Gordon’s parents for Sunday lunch each weekend. Michael would help Jill prepare puddings and bake cakes to accompany the abundant Indian spread that awaited each visit.

“Every Sunday, pretty much without fail, we’d go to see my Nanna and Grandpa on Dad’s side,” Michael recalls.

“Gordon’s mum was amazing – she would cook non-stop. It’s all she ever did,” Jill says. “We would visit each weekend and there would be three or four curries and a couple of different types of rice and raita on the table,” Jill adds.

These deep-rooted family traditions instilled a love of cooking in Michael, prompting him into the chef arena.