September's Chef of the Month is John Bogiatzis. John opened the doors to his new ‘sandwich shop’, Reuben Republic, Marrickville, in July; the place to find amazing ‘artisan pastrami and smoked meats’. It’s been inspiringly successful since its launch.
1. Your restaurant/business:
2. Describe your kitchens:
Inspired by the New York delicatessen, with state of the art appliances. We’ve invested in technology to ensure our product is consistent. We have a front of house and back of house kitchen, and while the area is small, this allows us to get creative with the types of dishes we can create. Pride of the kitchen is the Rational 10 tray combi oven, German engineering at its finest, we smoke, steam and do everything in this oven.
3. Favourite Chef item and why:
The Chef Works butcher’s apron, looks great and provides protection and hygiene required when preparing and serving food for service. The butcher look of the apron also complements our main product and theme in all we do: meat!
4. First job:
Working in Woolworths in the delicatessen at 15 years of age.
5. Your cookbook:
I’ve been collating a scrapbook filled with stains and marks over the last decade. It’s been used for everything from learning the fundamentals from traditional recipes such as mayonnaise, stew or spatchcocks through to inspiration for my own creations. The pages are covered in so many ingredients over the years, you could lick the page for a taste test.
Opening the first Reuben Republic concept store. I’m also very proud of the success we’ve had at the markets, and mobile catering.
7. Your cooking inspiration:
Jamie Oliver – because of his practicality, however Gordon Ramsey is ultimately the preferred chef, because of his drive. I also admire his leadership, business acumen & communication approach.
8. Your speciality dish:
9. Favourite dish to eat:
When dining out; definitely anything French Cuisine or influenced. An inner turmoil would be to see a belly of pig with rendered fat, crispy crackling, seasonal veg, plus mash on the menu alongside French style Duck breast and then having to choose.
10. Wierdest thing you have ever eaten:
A live (baby) crab, on the beach (ate it whole, quickly).
11. Favourite ice cream flavour:
Salted caramel & duck fat ice cream (Messina) – it was called ‘So Wrong It’s Right’.
12. Favourite drink:
Dimple Scotch Whiskey & coke.
13. Favourite wine:
14. Who would you most like to cook for:
A very attractive woman.
15. Who would you least like to cook for:
Any Overly Dramatic Food Critique or dramatic TV Judge – because of the over-dramatizations.
16. Favourite things to do outside of the kitchen:
Meditation. Missing seeking silence in the mind and the body and restoring equilibrium. Trying to find time to return to these favourite things soon.
17. Your latest project:
Opening Reuben Republic.
18. Favourite city and why:
Marrickville – because it’s the heart of Sydney. I’ve lived here for 30 years and seen a great change in the area.
19. Your greatest indulgence:
A decadent dessert, followed by a really good & expensive Cognac (Courvoisier, Hennesey, Rémy Martin or Martell would be fine).
20. Your all time best culinary tip:
Persistence, trial and error. Keep making the mistake over and over again until you meet perfection. Repeat and refine – until you find the way that works and then stick to it.
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