At Your Table would not be able to function without the talents and skill of the amazing chefs that we work with.
This new series, called “Chef Spotlight”, is a chance for you to get to know the faces behind the food, and is a chance for us to say Thank You to the men and women who make At Your Table succeed!
So, who are you?
Where are you from?
And where do you live now?
Sydney, on the North Shore.
How do you describe your style of cooking?
I like to have all my food make sense. So, if you have a degustation for example, each course should somehow make a connection with a later course. I like to use the same or similar ingredients in consecutive dishes, but served in different ways. This could be goats pannacotta infused with thyme, oregano, garlic and eschalots in the first course as the hero, then the next dish will have a goats chevre cream infused with lemon as an accompaniment, with lemon, garlic and brandy flambéed prawns. I mix this technique with layered textures and a fusion of cultures and colours. Even with 20 years experience this means nothing if you don’t LOVE what you do!
*Degustation is a culinary term meaning a careful, appreciative tasting of various foods and focusing on the gustatory system, the senses, high culinary art and good company. (goo.gl/wvsSK8)
And Jason clearly loves what he does, but you don’t have to take his word for it – here’s what one of his recent guests had to say:
“Last Saturday Jason cooked us an amazing five course degustation course. Not only did I leave feeling full (I am a big guy and often am not full after a degustation), but when asked what our favourite dish was I couldn’t answer it with one dish only. Jason presented the components and cooking techniques of each dish with an infectiously positive passion for his food, and each meal looked amazing and enticing.” -Si (NSW)
When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
From early childhood I was in the kitchen baking with my mum, but not really until my 3rd year as an apprentice, that was when I found a head chef who brought my passion to the surface.
What is the best thing about cooking for someone in their own home?
It’s all about the vibe. If you think of any major event in your life, its surrounded or at least accompanied by food, and that emotion is then connected to a specific dish or restaurant. At home, we are at our most relaxed, so it is always a comfortable, emotional experience that builds happy home memories. I thrive off that energy and love being a part of it. As I am usually very close to where the clients are sitting I can also see firsthand the reaction and effects my food can have on people, which is very humbling. If I was still in the restaurant game you very rarely receive that kind of genuine appreciation for your hard work.
This is echoed in a review from a group that Jason cooked for:
“Everyone was blown away by the food & service that Jason presented so beautifully & efficiently. Being owners of a restaurant we hold high expectations and Jason exceeded our expectations, so congratulations to you <all> for a night to be remembered for ever!” -Brett (NSW)
SPEED ROUND: Quick Questions, Quick Answers
Best meal in the last month?
It was just a simple Malaysian salad with amazing balance and punch.
If you could cook a different style of food than your specialty, what would it be?
I am in love with Malaysian food now. I have not experienced much but if I could learn more about the culture and gain a wider understanding of why specific ingredients are used in the way they are, I would be a happy little chef.
Who is a chef that you admire and why?
Jamie Oliver, mainly because of his devotion to helping people. I love the way he uses his brand and position to genuinely connect with people. He has physically and actually made a difference in people’s lives and changed our perception and understanding of obesity issues in society and with his instigation of restaurants “13” around the world.
Favorite cocktail right now?
Sloe American. Made with Sloe Gin, Campari, Cinzano Rosso and a dash of Fresh Lemonade.
Any food do you absolutely hate?
I think I would pass on things like rocky mountain oysters.
Favorite ingredients to cook with?
Kaffir lime leaves, chipotle, ruby grapefruit., and I have chili in some form in at least one meal a day.
Thank you, Jason for answering our questions and being the first chef in the Spotlight.
And more importantly, thank you for your amazing food and service.