How to poach the perfect eggs

Must See 07/11/2018

A trip to Antarctica: go for the stunning photos, stay for some cracking advice on making the perfect poached eggs (sorry).

It turns out the southern continent is the perfect place to get a cooking lesson from a former chef to the stars.

Justin Chambers used to cook for celebs including Madonna and Kanye West, as well as working at a celebrated two Michelin-starred restaurant. Last summer, he was responsible for keeping everyone at Scott Base full and happy.

Sunday is brunch day, so it's all hands on deck - even for a journalist trying to film an interview with him.

"You've never poached an egg? How can you tell me you've never poached an egg?" an outraged Chambers asked me early in the morning.

"You've got an opportunity here! You're in Antarctica... You're going, 'well, I've never poached an egg.'"

Here are his top tips:

Pre-crack your eggs

This is particularly important when you're poaching 100-odd eggs in a rush, but it's also good advice if you're only doing two or three.

Crack all your eggs into separate cups before you start cooking any, so it's easier to cook them all together and develop a rhythm.

Lots of vinegar, lots of water

Chambers uses a two-pot set-up, cooking first in a boiling mixture of water and a lot of vinegar before transferring them to a cold-water bath.

"The amount of vinegar you want in here is just... who cares man? The more the merrier," he said.

"Without the vinegar in there, there's a chance it'll disperse. The vinegar actually keeps it together, gives it a good shape.

"You don't want your eggs to taste like vinegar so they will until you put them into the cold water, and that'll dilute it."

Quickly but diligently

"Faster over, slowly in, faster out," was Chambers' training motto.

Transfer the cracked eggs across as quickly as possible, but take your time to pour them into the first pot, before quickly taking up the next set. Leave them in there for about two minutes to cook, then it's time for the second transfer.

Take care with the transfer

When scooping your poached eggs from the first pot to the second, take your time and don't stress about grabbing every single egg in one go.

"Some of them get on the edge and they break," Chambers warned.

Let the excess liquid drain off before popping the eggs in the cold water bath, so it doesn't get too warm.

Too long; didn't read

"Heaps of water, heaps of vinegar, concentrate, around two minutes [to cook], and you can either eat it straight away - or, if you don't like the taste of vinegar, run it under the tap and boom."

And just like that, job's done.