Hey Charley, congratulations on making it through to the final round of Young Chef of The Year. Tell us a bit about the experience so far.
Cheers for that. It’s been incredible cooking for some of the countries most respected chefs. There’s a lot of pressure but everyones really nice. I’ve been flown up to Sydney twice now and got to meet a lot of extremely talented young chefs from around the country.
How do the cooking challenges generally work?
Basically you get given a set of ingredients to work with and they tell you to go for it. There’s time for planning and then about an hour and a half to execute your dish. It’s pretty full on, especially watching everyone else in the room sweating to get through it.
And you’ve made it through to the final round, where does that place you amongst your peers?
Basically I’m in the top six in the country, keep your fingers crossed aye!
We will! And you’ve just come back from a produce tour with the competition? How was that?
It was incredible, really inspiring to see some amazing producers in action. We got to meet cool seafood producers like Fraser Isle Spanner Crab as well as meeting famers like Rhodavale Pork. It’s pretty special to see where everything is coming from- you get a new perspective on the produce we work with every day. It’s such a rewarding experience.
Your Instagram tagline is ‘Smoke Aristocrat’, tell us more.
*Laughs* I’m real into smoking food, it’s awesome the way the flavours get transformed with the process. We’ve done quite a bit of smoking with Embla and the Town Mouse which I’ve really enjoyed. I have heaps of memories growing up around the fire and being mesmerised by the smell of meat roasting over sweet, smoky manuka.
Can we expect to see some of that at PDR?
Well you wouldn't let me have the open fire, but I’m working on a more refined version of my childhood memory.
Haha! Can you give us some more insight to the menu?
I’m going slightly Kiwiana, back to the roots and working with some twists on some childhood classics. Kumara will be a feature as well as pork and the classic roly-poly. I’ve also been playing around with malted barley. Really I just want to showcase food how I like it- simple and packed with flavour. It’s definitely gonna be epic.
Join Charley as we showcase his unique menu in a secret Abbotsford location, Wednesday 19th July. Limited tickets available on the website. Book Here!