Les Ispanovic's master ot the kitchen at his home. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer
Les Ispanovic's master ot the kitchen at his home. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer Mike Richards GLA030815KITC

In my kitchen: Les loves cooking with meat

Name: Les Ispanovic.

Who is your biggest inspiration in the kitchen?

My mum. At a young age I spent a lot of time helping her cook.

She would cook for our family but also she would cook for my uncle and aunty's store they had at the Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne.

What was your first meal you ever cooked?

Pasta was always a meal I loved to cook, making the sauce from scratch.

Mum showed me a few secrets over the years so the sauce always comes out delicious.

What is your favourite thing to cook?

Love to slow cook lamb shanks, pork ribs, slow cook lamb shoulder; anything like that is just so beautiful and is usually better the next day.

Would you pursue a career in cooking?

It's something that would be really interesting to be involved in; I know it's hard work, maybe one day...

Why do you enjoy cooking?

For me cooking is all about relaxing and de-stressing, playing some music and enjoying a drink while you prepare something for your family.

I also cook our dogs' food fresh every couple of days.

Yes they are spoilt but why would you give your best mates processed packaged food from a can? They deserve better than that I think!

Your least favourite food and why?

Not really a fan of cucumber, don't know why really.

Definitely not a fan of anything that relates to brains, hearts, livers or kidney. I just can't do those things, they gross me out.

One ingredient you love cooking with and why.

Meat. In Australia we are so lucky to have the best lamb, beef and pork available to us.

You can do anything with these ingredients. I'm seriously making myself hungry right now...


Best BBQ Slow Cooked Pork Spare Ribs

Ingredients: 2kg pork spare ribs, barbecue sauce, honey, 1.5 cups of warm water

Put the ribs in a big bowl and pour about two cups of barbecue sauce and ½ cup of honey (more or less depending on sweetness).

Mix them around so all the ribs are covered in marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Next day take the ribs out of fridge and put them into a cast iron or heavy base pot.

Put 1.5 cups of warm water into the bowl and mix with the remaining marinade. Pour over the ribs in the pot.

Put the lid on and put in oven. Set oven to 160 degrees. Set timer for 2.5 hours.

When timer goes off, take pot out of oven and take lid off, mix around ribs again so the ones on the bottom are now on the top. Add some more water if it's looking a little dry, but not too much.

Put back into oven with the lid back on for another two hours. Change the temp to 150 degrees.

After two hours, take it out of the oven and check the ribs. They should fall off the bone. If not, put back in for another hour.

Serve with steamed bok choy, brown rice and heaps of paper towel for those sticky fingers.