Kitchen Conversations: Anand Ramakrishna | HerCanberra

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Kitchen Conversations: Anand Ramakrishna

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XO’s Chef Anand Ramakrishna (AK) was front and centre at March’s Winning Appliances Sunday Supper Club. We caught up with him to talk life, food and everything in between.

Classically trained in French culinary arts from Taylor’s University in the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts, Anand Ramakrishna (AK) came up through some of the most well-respected kitchens in Malaysia before moving to Australia. More recently, he was instrumental in the development of innovative food programs for some well-known names in the Canberra and Sydney dining scene.

Opening XO in 2015 was the culmination of a life-long dream that ties together the threads of a career that has traversed the geographical and culinary spectrum of South East Asia, Europe and Australia.

Gregory Lally, Chef AK and Kent Nhan

Now firmly rooted in Narrabundah with business partners Kent Nhan and Gregory Lally, AK is passionate about exploring the potential of Canberra region produce, creating dishes with his now well-recognised XO signature.

What is your earliest food memory?

As a young child, I was already running around in my grandfather’s restaurant—he had two—serving Tamil/Malay Indian cuisine. As he got older, he started doing home catering, so I was always around the kitchen.

This also led me to always hang out in my home kitchen with mom. My mom was a nurse and an amazing cook, so occasionally I’d help her in the kitchen, or when she was on shift duties, I would whip something up for the family.

By the time I was 15years old, I knew what I wanted to become.

I knew I wanted to cook professionally as a career, and hopefully create my own style of cooking/cuisine.

Tell us a little bit about your food journey—how did you get to where you are today?

I graduated with a French Advanced Diploma from Taylors’s School of Hotel Management specialising in Culinary. From there I went to work with 5-Star hotels in Kuala Lumpur doing French and Italian fine dining.

I did two years with Grand Hyatt Singapore before obtaining my work visa in Australia. I’ve worked in every type of kitchen, from fine dining, hatted, café, catering and banqueting before really getting into the independent restaurant business.

After working in a few restaurants in Canberra and Sydney for the past 14 years, we started XO about four years ago

What do you love most about being a chef?

Just the feeling of cooking for people and impressing and educating people with different taste and flavours. Entertaining people with food that’s different in types, method and cultural styles.

What’s your favourite thing to whip up when you’re at home with your family or friends?

I usually never have many things in my fridge, being I’m a chef but I’m never around and my wife never eats dinner! But when I do cook at home, I go big. Love my seafood, just grilled on a charcoal BBQ. I also love cooking with secondary cut meats.


Tell us about XO—what experience are you trying to create for diners?

Mum’s food on steroids… We always joke about it but the food is definitely Kent’s Vietnamese heritage meet my Malaysian, and just giving a modern Australian twist to food our moms cooked for us and early memories of things we enjoyed eating .


We are just taking South East Asian flavours and funking it with our own modern twist, in a really cool atmosphere and music, and the utmost attention to detail in quality service.

What are your favourite places to eat in Canberra?

Morks, Aubergine, Bar Rochford, Taco Taco, Barrio, and Papparich—cos I’m a proud Malaysian!

What appliance/s found in the Winning Appliances kitchen would you love?

All of it, everything hehehe ?

You can visit the Winning Appliances Kingston showroom at 80 Giles Street in Kingston or browse online at

This is a sponsored post. Find out more by reading our Sponsored Post Policy. Photographs by 5 Foot Photography.

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