Eating With-Matt Okine

Gourmet Traveller|December 2019

Eating With-Matt Okine
The comedian on Ghanaian street food, heartbreaking cheese and solo-ramen booths.
Lee Tran Lam

What did you enjoy eating when you were growing up in Brisbane?

My dad’s chichingas. They’re like a beef skewer with a nutty dry rub over them. My dad ran a food stall at Woodford Folk Festival. He made Ghanaian food like black-eyed bean stew, peanut soup, jollof rice and chichingas. I was bored out of my brain at a folk festival so they got me through the day.

The dad in your book, Being Black ’n Chicken, & Chips, is a dentist like your father. Did your dad also tell you to eat cheese after soft drinks, to protect your teeth?

I still get that advice! I’d be getting ready to go to a party and dad would say, “Now if you have any fizzy drinks, make sure you have some cheese.” I’m like, “Dad, this isn’t a wine and Camembert night. This is a high-school party.”

Did this advice inspire you to carry Kraft Singles, like the book’s protagonist?

No, it’s never inspired me to pack cheese. I had the most amazing cheese at Neal’s Yard in London: the St Cera. You won’t be able to get it in Australia and that’s heartbreaking. So I don’t know if I’m gonna have to block in a trip to London. But dad would be proud. Maybe I’ll get him to fund it: I’ll say, “It’s for cheese, Dad! I’m trying to save my teeth!”

Have you had any disastrous comedy gigs?


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December 2019