Chef in the Spotlight – Chef Darrell J. O’Neill

Chef Darrell was certainly born to cook. From a young age he dreamt of becoming a chef so he could travel the world, meet new people and create memories. He cooked his first dish at the mere age of 10 as he would help his mother bake and prepare meals at home. His passion lies in cooking dishes that are true to themselves and highlight the fundamentals and freshness. With a love for the simplicity of Japanese food, and the complexity and flavours in Chinese Cuisine Chef Darrell brings his vast culinary expertise to InterContinental Kuala Lumpur.

Chef Darrell O'Neill Profile

Chef Darrell was originally trained in French Cuisine however at an early stage found it rather boring. Growing up in Australia, in such a multi-cultural country Chef Darrell knew he enjoyed mixing diverse flavours to create fusion dishes. Here is our interview with him.

Mini Wagyu Sliders1 .What were your favourite foods growing up?
I used to love my Mum’s Sunday Roast. It became a real ritual in our house to enjoy a traditional roast beef with roasted root vegetable and jus. For dessert we would have homemade trifle that had lots of layers of bread, custard, fresh fruits, jelly and alcohol.

2. When did you decide you wanted to be a chef?

I knew from a young age I wanted to be a chef. I used to follow my Mother around the kitchen and we used to bake a lot. I loved to eat the raw dough, which was really not that healthy but tasted good! Many years later I started to work at a local bakery before school. Once I completed high school, the owner saw I was passionate about the culinary field so offered me a fulltime job.

Chef Darrell at the Grill
3. If you didn’t become a chef, what would you be?
I would be a Formula One Driver. I used to drive Formula 3 cars and race go karts in the 24 hour races in Dubai. I like speed and the adrenaline rush that comes with racing, its exhilarating.

4. What are your favourite culinary weapons in the kitchen?
My knowledge and experience but of course a sharp Global knife does come handy.

5. What’s your favourite new ingredient?
Too many to choose from but I would say my favourites are ginger and lemongrass.

6. If I’m trying to watch my weight and I’m eating at your restaurant, what am I ordering to eat?
You don’t need to. But if you had to it would be Asian Steamed Barramundi with Stir Fried Baby Tatsoi, Asparagus, Carrots, Shitake Mushrooms and Micro Greens.
7. If it’s my birthday and I am being super-indulgent and the sky’s the limit, what am I ordering to eat from your restaurant?
Porcini Royale with Boston Lobster Knuckles, Fennel Foam, Beluga Caviar and Fresh White Truffle.

The Lobster Club8. What was the most challenging meal you had to make? Why?
I once did an event for 10,000 people in the Middle East. It was an outside catering event in Dubai in the Middle of the Dessert. It took 5 days for all the preparation leading up to the event. It was an incredible experience.

9. What was your worst restaurant disaster?
Haven’t had one yet so don’t Jinx me.

10. What’s the best restaurant you ate at in 2011?
Nobu Restaurant Dubai.

11. What are some recent dining and culinary trends you have been observing?
These days, I feel people are looking more at healthy eating options. They are looking for a more simplistic approach when it comes to the preparation as they want the real flavours of the ingredients to shine through.
12. If you had one more day to live, what would your last meal be?
A traditional barbeque with my family and friends.

Cod Croquettes with Romesco Aioli-00213. From whom would you most like to take a cooking class?
Marcus Samuelsson from Aquavit Chicago. He’s such a passionate and creative chef who has an interesting background. He is originally from Ethiopia but grew up in Sweden. The incredible thing is he blends his Ethiopian roots with his Swedish up bringing and this comes through in his cooking. I was actually lucky enough to work with him for a seven day promotion in Sydney many years ago.

14. If you lost your ability to cook, and were to be exiled to a remote island, but could bring one Chef with you, who would it be and why?
I would take Nobu as if we were on an island there would be a large variety of fresh seafood available. He is so talented and creative when it comes to Sashimi and creating new flavours and textures, all his meals would be delicious!

15. Finally, what is your advice for all those new, up and coming Chefs out there?
If you want to be a talented chef it’s all about passion and you need to cook with your heart. It’s not an easy job but if you put in 100% commitment and dedication and take criticism well (trust me there will be a lot) you will succeed.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *