He has featured as a judge on two modelling related TV shows, Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model, and Britain’s Missing Top Model, and hosted a show called Naked on BBC3 in which he attempted to boost the self esteem of the everyday woman.
In 2013 he released his debut cookbook, The Pepperpot Club, and starred in the Food Network’s new series Johnathan Phang’s Gourmet Trains and Jonathan Phang’s Caribbean Cookbook, which saw Jonathan travel between the Caribbean islands whilst meeting local chefs and cooking up his favourite Caribbean influenced dishes. Jonathan has also been a featured chef on Channel 4’s new show What’s Cooking?
In his latest series of Jonathan Phang’s Gourmet Trains, he explores the world with more of his culinary adventures travelling on some of the world’s most luxurious trains through Scotland, Canada, Australia and Peru.
Jonathan Phang: I love different countries for different reasons, so it’s hard, in fact almost impossible, for me to name one just favourite. However, I really fell in love in with Australia whilst filming season two. It is a truly epic country with such a variety of landscapes. The food and wine are fantastic and the people are laid back and very welcoming.
Please tell JoziStylers more about your new series, Jonathan Phang’s Gourmet Trains, that’s coming to Travel Channel in April 2015?
The new series is similar to the last one in as much as I experience iconic, international train journeys, eat too much amazing food, and meet lovely local foodies. However, the journeys in the new series are further reaching than in series one. For example, we cross the width of Australia, travel through the stunning Canadian Rockies and I fulfill a personal ambition, by visiting the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu, for example.
What’s been your favourite part of the series to film?
Without wishing to sound trite, I adore making this show and I love every second of my job. I am very lucky that my job includes my favourite things – travel, people and food I am grateful to Travel Channel for the opportunities that they allow me and I do not take my job for granted.
What was your favourite dish you prepared during this series?
I really enjoyed my take on ceviche, in Vancouver. Typically, I forgot to write the recipe down, as I went along, so I’ll probably never be able to replicate it…
What’s next for Jonathan Phang?
I have no idea what’s next for me, television wise. I do hope that we will be able to make another series of Gourmet Trains. In the meantime, I am writing a new cookbook and a play. I continue to work with Jerry Hall and spend my spare time supporting the Albert Kennedy Trust.
So where would you like to travel to next?
India, Japan, Russia, Korea, New Zealand and Zimbabwe.
Which of the train trips did you find the most enjoyable, and why?
The Royal Scotsman was a lot of fun. With only 36 quests, it’s the most sociable and personal of journeys. Although luxurious, there is also, a warm and friendly family atmosphere.
The Hiram Bingham was very special, partly because of where it was taking us, but also because, scenically, the train journey to Machu Picchu is, amongst the most beautiful in the world.
The Indian Pacific and The Canadian, lacked the finer detail of the Belmond trains, but were very comfortable, cleverly designed and reminded of those old Hollywood movies. These journeys were all about what was going on, on the outside and I cannot describe how insignificant and humbled one felt, whilst crossing these vast and spectacular countries.
What was it about that you had in Vancouver (Episode 2) that made you call it “the most delicious sandwich in the world”?
The bread, the bread, oh the bread. It was like the best Challah, but spongy, eggy and sweet with a crisp honey glaze. The month long brined brisket was melt in the mouth! It sounds strange to be so enthusiastic about something that sounds so plain and simple, however she turned the boring sandwich into a delicious masterpiece!
In Australia, you “threw prawns on the Barbie”, in South Africa we can this a Braai, any tips for avid Braai Masters out there?
Make sure that the coals are white hot. Marinade your meat, fish or seafood for as long as possible. Simmer ribs for forty minutes before marinating and cooking.
You made your signature dish, your Seafood curry on the Indian Pacific in Australia, what’s your secret for making the prefect seafood curry?
The quality, and freshness of the seafood.
Many of our viewers will want to replicate some of your delicious recipes; do you have one special one you can share with us?
Note that Jonathan Phang’s Gourmet Trains 2 premieres on Saturdays from 11 April at 19:00 on the Travel Channel.
Jonathan travels the beautiful highlands of Scotland on the iconic Belmont Royal Scotsman. Starting in historic Edinburgh, Jonathan tries his hand at shortbread making, experiences life as a King on the Royal Yacht Britannia and gets his very own traditional Scottish kilt. Before being whisked off on an intimate 540 mile round trip on the glorious Belmont Royal Scotsman, where he takes in a bit of trout fishing at the Rothiemurchus estate and investigates Scottish history at the Culloden battlefield. Back onboard, Jonathan dons his tartan for a Gala dinner with his fellow passengers and the festivities roll on throughout the night as they turn Dundee station into a midnight dance floor.
Jonathan takes the trip of a lifetime from the beautiful coastal city of Vancouver across the spectacular Rocky Mountains to Jasper, an idyllic Canadian town set in a stunning national park. In Vancouver Jonathan explores the emerging food scene in this ethnically diverse melting pot of a city, trying everything from sushi to street food, and from what can only be described as the most delicious sandwich in the world to the best high end restaurants in town. He meets the legendary Chef Tojo, who gave the world the California roll, and who gives Jonathan a crash course in sushi. Jonathan learns all about the sustainable food movement in the city trying his hand at bee keeping, and taste tests a brand new menu in trendy restaurant Rain City Grill.
Back on board The Canadian the retro silver train that looks straight out of the movies Jonathan begins the first part of what will be over a thousand mile journey across Canada.To say Jonathan enjoys the views of the spectacular Rocky Mountains would be an understatement, as he and fellow passengers revel in some of the most incredible scenery on the planet.
In the second part of Jonathan’s North American adventure aboard the glamorous and retro The Canadian he leaves behind the Rockies and heads to the vast expanses of the prairies. But not before taking a walk on the wild side as a biker in bear country and making hemp crepes with fire cooked salmon in the holiday home of Royalty at the Outlook Cabin.Stopping in Edmonton Jonathan visits a living museum and finds out what life, and food, were like for the first Ukrainian settlers. Things take a decidedly French twist with a macaroon making lesson and cake tasting at chic patisserie Duchess Bakery; and Jonathan takes part in a cook off at North 53 with locally sourced and sustainable food enthusiast Chef Filly.
A delay could put an end to the whole trip but eventually back on track there’s a brief stop at
the town named after the man who started the railroad, Charles Melville before The Canadian
arrives at its final destination in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Starting in Australia’s thriving cosmopolitan west coast city of Perth Jonathan lives like a true Aussie when he cooks prawns on the barbie with Chef Russell Blaikie, gets a little pick-me-up when he samples an espresso martini and pays homage to the area’s printing press history with Chef Shane Watson’s black and white menu. Embarking on the first stage of his continent crossing journey, Jonathan boards the Indian Pacific, talks culinary influences and dines with Australian Masterchef winner Adam Laiw and has a go at cheese creation with artisan maker Chris Lloyed.
Crossing the immense Nallabor plains Jonathan makes a brief stop at Cook, the once bustling historic town that now has a population of just four people. Back on board and heading to South Australia’s capital Jonathan samples an array of bush tucker with Chef Mark Olive and learns the outback isn’t as barren as it first appears.
Attempting to get his signature dish, seafood curry, on the train menu Jonathan hits Adelaide’s food market in search of the perfect ingredients, cooking up a treat for Food Manager Bradley and visits the town of Broken Hill the location for Pricilla Queen of the Desert before saying good bye to the Indian Pacific as they arrive at the end of the line in Sydney.
In Sydney Jonathan takes to the skies for a flying visit to picturesque Palm Springs in a sea plane where he samples the laid back beach life and delicious Patagonian tooth fish at word famous Jonah’s.
In the relaxed comfortable surroundings of Kitchen by Mike Jonathan samples the flavours of an entirely homemade menu and 3 day prepared pork. Having travelled to Cairns Jonathan visits Nunu and Nick Holloway, a chef who has the dream larder on his door step and cooks smoked red emperor fish packed with flavour. Before boarding the historic hand built railway on the way to Kuranda in the tropic rainforest where Jonathan gets up close with some of the locals with crocodile curry and cuddles with a koala.
Having tried the old Jonathan heads for the new with high tech, high speed train The Spirit of Queensland which travels over a thousand miles in just 24 hours. After relaxing with his fellow guests in the bar and squeezing in some skin treatment, Jonathan settles into his reclining seat for the night as the train heads for its final destination of Brisbane.