Chefs at Work- Cafe Sopra

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This is a new section that I want to introduce starting with a lot of the hard working Chefs I know.  Chefs, as you can imagine are some the hardest working people you’ll meet. The heat and the double shifts and the standing for hours on end makes for a very unglamorous job, but if you love it then none of this matters. There are a lot of great Chefs working in Australia, some heading up kitchens for years doing an amazing job and just never getting noticed by the traditional media. This is not to say that I will not also speak to some of the Chefs that always hog the limelight! If there is anything you may like to ask any of these Chefs, just let me know.

Sean Corkery- Cafe Sopra

 I spoke to him last week about being a Chef,  Cafe Sopra and life.

Sean has been with the Cafe Sopra group for 6 years and here at Danks Street for 2, working first  with Andy Bunn and now as the Head Chef.  It has been years of work for Sean, after his apprenticeship he moved through kitchens such as Coast, Fuel with Janni Kyritsis ( Australian Celebrity Greek Chef) , The Civic Hotel and Kensington Place in London. He has honed his skills working with all kinds of Chefs, and for now enjoys the abundance of fresh produce at Fratelli Fresh, not to speak of the nights off. It is imperative that he keeps some of the Cafe Sopra favourites on the menu, but he enjoys being able to add fresh new ‘Italian style’ dishes of his own.

I asked him a series of questions, which he kindly answered after I scoffed a huge and delicious lunch that he had cooked at Cafe Sopra

The quirky dining area at Cafe Sopra.

Do you like being a Chef and why?

Sean: I love being a chef, I don’t know why….. I just like cooking and can’t imagine doing anything else

What are the two things you would not be without in your kitchen?

Sean: Salt and a good Kitchen hand!

What inspires you in the kitchen?

Sean: Fresh produce and good feed back. Who provides that feedback? The customers, believe me they let you know what they think!

Do you cook at home or are you never there?

Sean: Oh yes , I am at home enough to cook. Remember Cafe Sopra is not open at night. I cook stir frys, and use other fresh produce and Italian Cheeses from Fratelli fresh.

Who has been the most influencial person in your career to date ?

Sean: Thats easy, Janni Kyritsis chef and teacher – Janni Kyritsis

Do you have a favourite ingredient?

Sean: Lemon Juice

What restaurant ( in Sydney) would you most like to go to?

Sean:   Quay ( Chef- Peter Gilmore)

 What first gave you the idea to be a chef?

Sean:  My Uncle was a Pastry Chef

What was the first thing you cooked that you were really proud of ( at the time)?

Sean:. When I was an apprentice working at Coast, the most difficult section was the fish section. It was the busiest and the most full on, not everyone got a chance to work it. The night I did that section and got through it, is one of the things I look back on and feel really proud

What is your dream holiday?  

Sean: I am going to Hamilton Island next week so, lets say that’s my dream holiday.


 Zucchini Floweres with 5 cheeses

Vitello Tonnato

Arancini with Talleggio

Fennel, apple pommegrante and walnut salad

Have you been to Cafe Sopra or any of the Fratelli Fresh Restaurants …. do you like them?

Cafe Sopra

7 Danks Street
Waterloo NSW
(02) 9699 3174

Sean is no longer at Cafe Sopra however the food continues to be as wonderful as ever


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