Jake Davey is the head chef at est. restaurant in Sydney and was crowned Electrolux Australian young chef of the year in 2013.
Jake recently collaborated with fellow appetite for excellence alumni at the Appetite for Young Swines Lunch held in Sydney on Monday 26 September. The event was produced as part of an Appetite for Excellence and PorkStar project to help foster a hospitality community where young professionals can meet others in the industry, be able to ask questions about food, cooking, beverage matching, front of house skills; seek advice and/or tap into a wider peer group.
In between courses we hit Jake up with some hard hitting questions about what inspired him to become a chef, how he stays motivated and the importance of collaboration….
What inspired you to become a chef?
My path to cooking came from doing work experience at a family friends restaurant, the atmosphere, tastes, smells and people really attracted me and I haven’t looked back. Early on in my cooking I was exposed to two books (the French laundry cookbook and est est est by Phillipa Sibley and Donovan Cook) which I found incredibly inspiring and led me on the path to the type of cooking I do today.
What motivates and inspires you daily?
Working with passionate hospitality professionals, working with a great produce and suppliers keeps me motivated and inspired, also researching new recipes and techniques keeps me interested and switched on. Travel is also another great source of inspiration for visiting new places and trying new things.
What advice would you give a younger version of yourself?
Work clean, work fast, ask questions.
What 3 pieces of advice would give anyone considering it as a career?
1. Do some work experience, go to a few restaurants and see what it’s all about. It’s one thing to have a love for food and cooking but that doesn’t always translate to a love for cooking as a career. Make sure you love the atmosphere and fall in love with the environment of a professional kitchen.
2. Read cookbooks, practice at home and teach yourself. It seems young cooks want to be taught everything by someone else. More young cooks should be going out of their way to learn on their own.
3. Work clean, work fast, ask questions
Do you think collaborations are important for chefs and the industry and why?
Yes collaborations are important for chefs, they give us an opportunity to exchange ideas, are great for promotion and getting your name out there, as well being great for networking and meeting new people.
How do you think we can inspire people to consider hospitality as a career?
I think we need to work together as an industry to make hospitality as a career more attractive. There needs to be an improvement in working conditions like hours and remuneration. As it stands, young people considering hospitality are discouraged by the working conditions and remuneration.
Sign up for our newsletter to find out when our next appetite for young swines event is and to keep up to date with appetite for excellence (don’t worry we won’t bombard you emails…)