Buddha Lo Breaks Down The Biggest Misconception About Australian Food - Exclusive

"Top Chef" Season 20 contestant Buddha Lo is at home in New York City. He's so committed to it that in mid-2022 the chef told Brooklyn Magazine he'd "love to open up a restaurant that's a little more casual, but also with a cool Brooklyn flair to it." The Big Apple seems to have engulfed Lo, in the same way as it laid claim to his contemporary culinary legends, among them Anthony Bourdain, Padma Lakshmi, Bobby Flay, Marcus Samuelsson, and Eric Ripert. But the bustling city is a long way from his birth home of Australia. 

The 20-plus hour flight that separates Lo from The Down Under isn't an attempt to distance himself from its food scene, however. He initially left the continent to take a job with Gordon Ramsay in London. The chef is actually a huge proponent of Australia's culinary culture and if you think that it's all bland fairy bread, yeasty vegemite, and Australianized versions of other cultures' foods, you'd be wrong. Australia's food scene is a lot more multicultural and innovative than you might think, as Lo recently explained to Mashed in an exclusive interview

The chef explains what the Australian food scene is really like

What sticks out to Australian-born Buddha Lo when he thinks about the culinary scene there? One city, in particular. "Sydney is a very good food city all around," Lo explained. "When it comes to food, it's so multicultural; it's diverse. I can name you a top-10 list, and it probably consists of 10 different cuisines." In Australia, Lo insists, you won't find the cuisines of other cultures, subdued or otherwise modified to adjust to the local palate. 

"We're more interested in learning more about the different cultures," he said. "There's a lot of Italians, a lot of Greeks [in Australia]. All these food places that start to open up in Sydney help with the food scene, because it's so diverse. And they do it really, really well. They do it exactly how they'll cook it back at home."

Australia's food scene isn't just multicultural, it's also cutting-edge. "We're also very progressive," the chef revealed. In fact, one of Lo's favorite chefs hails from his home country. "A lot of people called me a genius, but I think that this guy is a genius of our generation," Lo dished. "I don't think I could top his genius. His name is Josh Niland. He's like the fish god. I don't think I've ever seen anyone mind-blow the chef culinary world the way that he does."