It’s been a big couple of years for Andrew Levins. On top of DJing and the “photo-bombing”, he started his own restaurant, the Dip, proposed to his girlfriend (she said yes) and has just released his first cookbook
Andrew Levins – just “Levins” to those who know him – loves to throw good parties. In fact, the entire reason this book came about was a chance encounter at GoodGod Small Club, the Liverpool Street nightclub to which the Dip is attached, while Levins was DJing. “A lady who I’d never met before came up to me after a set while I was really sweaty and said ‘I love what you do with the Dip – I want you to write a book for me’.”
It was 2am on a Saturday R’n’B night. Levins politely handed over a business card to the new acquaintance (who turned out be a publisher from New Holland, and a big fan) and promptly forgot about it. Come Monday morning, though, he received a call. A year later, Levins’s Diner is on bookshelves.
The folks at New Holland originally wanted to title the book Dude Food. But much to Levins' relief (and no doubt everyone else who was over the term seconds after it was first slung around a couple of years back) he talked them around it.
“I never really use the term ‘dude food’. It’s a weird, exclusive term. A few years ago, it was kind of a tongue-in-cheek way to describe a certain type of food. An inflight magazine interviewed me a few weeks back and one of the questions was, ‘Some people describe your food as dude food – how do you describe it?’ I just said ‘food’.”
The concept is more about the food Levins does at the Dip and what he did before then, which was large-format party food. That means there are lots of recipes in the book for big groups. Also, there's plenty in there for the amateur cook, like his milkshake ice cream – a simple combo of thickened cream, sour cream and milkshake topping. You don't even need an ice-cream machine.
So what’s the secret to throwing a really good party?
“You always need to have a centrepiece. You need a piece of meat so big it takes over the entire barbecue. A pork shoulder, lamb shoulder, ribs… anything that requires basting and billows plenty of smoke when you take the lid off.”
That’s what we call a good time.
Diner: Real Food by Andrew Levins is out through New Holland, RRP $35.