Chefs at Work- Andy Davies

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This is Andy Davies. He is the Chef and one of the three partners in the Bondi Trattoria. Andy started cooking in his home town Adelaide, Australia when he was 17 and he is now 47.  He moved into Bondi in 1989, taking a job at The Blue Water Grill with Neil Perry. Although there have been head chef positions at the infamous Rogues Streetons in Darlinghurst,  and Darling Mills in Glebe, (now both wonderful food history), consulting jobs for the openings of Beach Road Hotel and Sea Salt in Clovely, he was never keen to live or work any where but Bondi Beach. Over the years he has been running his own restaurants as a partner in The Sports Bar, (also with a great view of the beach), and now at ‘Bondi Tratt’ for the last 6 years. Andy has been quietly and expertly plying his trade and enjoying life on the pans and at the beach! I met him in the kitchen on a Tuesday night. The restaurant was packed to the rafters by 7.30pm.

Do you like being a chef and why?

Andy:          After all these years I am not sure I have a choice, I don’t think I have really ever thought about it, but….. I do love cooking and I have to say I really enjoy making people happy.

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

 Andy:   My radio and a view of the beach………

Me: The view from the pass is certainly enviable. You can see the water from this vantage point

Who inspires you?

Andy: My staff and my regular customers

 Do you cook at home or are you never there?

Andy: At the moment I only work 3-4 nights a week, ( Andy’s partner has just given birth to their first daughter Isla, and they are having a well earned rest from the business, enjoying their baby)

We have dinner parties where I tend to cook a lot of seafood, but if it is just us at home we will have pasta or a piece of fish, we like to keep it pretty simple

Who has been the most influential person in your career so far.?

Andy:  I would have to say John Susman

(a partner in the specialist seafood consultancy, Fishheads Seafood Strategy, and Cloudy Bay Fish Co.) ( http://www.bestrestaurants.com.au/restaurants/NSW-Sydney-cloudybayfishco.aspx.

I met him in Adelaide on my first day at work in my first restaurant. He is a great friend and an inspiration because he is so involved in the food chain. He inspires what I cook because of the amazing seafood he provides. He always shows me anything new and keeps me informed about whats happening in the industry.

Do you have a favourite ingredient?

Andy:  Olive oil

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

Andy: That would be, (Neil Perry’s) Rockpool Bar and Grill, I have been there a few times but it would be my first choice.

What first gave you ther idea to be a chef?

Andy:  My Mum, a really fantastic cook

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

Andy : I was about 6 years old and Mum was teaching me how to make an omelette . I was really proud of the first one I made by myself. After that I made them for Dad all the time

What is your dream holiday?

Andy  : I love to go to a place called Manyana on the South Coast near Ulladulla. I have a mate with a house, we go there to chill and just eat and sleep and I love to surf and fish. Its so beautiful

 

Bondi Trattoria has been open for 25 years this year. It is the quintessential beachside diner.  You don’t last that long in this town without coming up with the goods. Andy tells me they do upwards of 500 breakfast a weekend. This he says can test the best chef, as they are open all day and all night non stop… take note all. (the most annoying thing on a Saturday afternoon in Sydney, most restaurants and cafes are closed for food, thank you also to Societe in Danks Street, Waterloo,  for being open on a Saturday afternoon). There are no foams or scientific experiments, just fresh beautiful food with a view of the beach.

This is the place to come for spanking fresh seafood at very reasonable prices. Champagne, Oysters and the beach, I can see why he loves it! Manning River Oysters with eschallot vinegar

The service was friendly, casual and thoughtful. Chargrilled crispy sour dough with Tuna Tartare, lime and lightly pickled cucumber.

Zucchini flowers with ricotta and eggplant puree

Yamba Prawns with garlic and Pernod

Fat beautifully seared scallops with femnnel, olives vinerippened tomato and soft herbs

Gippsland lamb fillet with herb crust, beetroot and goat cheese fritters

Thank you for a wonderful fresh, lovingly prepared diner, Andy Davies. I am a now regular so  hold my table………………..and get back to the kitchen and make me some more of those scallops!

 www.bonditrattoria.com.au

 

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