Episode 1- Chef Jamie Carter

by | Jan 31, 2024

Chef Jamie Carter recommends:

Restaurants:

Pho Ba Ria 2- 54 Hanson Rd, Woodville Gardens, South Australia

Sidewood Estate- 6 River Rd, Hahndorf, South Australia 

Star of Greece- 1 Esplanade, Port Willunga, South Australia

Golden Boy- 309 North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia

Herringbone- 72-74 Halifax St, Adelaide, South Australia

Cookbooks:

‘Anything’ David ThompsonDavid Thompson is an Australian chef, restaurateur and cookery writer, known for his skill and expertise in Thai cuisine.

Fish Butchery– Josh Niland

about Chef Jamie Carter:

We really are jumping in the deep in with my first guest, Chef Jamie Carter. Jamie is the executive chef of Sidewood Estate but his cheffing adventure has been full and exciting in what has been a relatively short period of time.

He balances this sophistication and responsibility by generally being an absolute menace. He leaves me in stitches of laughter but the kind of laughter you do when you hope no one is overhearing the conversation.

SO what I’ve done folks, is go ahead and record one of our conversations. Could I regret this? Quite possibly.

video transcription of Episode 1: Tickling the senses with Chef Jamie Carter.

 

Hannah: Hello, everybody, and welcome to the very first episode of Eat With The Podcast. Today, we really are jumping in the deep end with my first guest, Chef Jamie Carter. As you’ll come to hear, Jamie is the executive chef up at Sidewood Estate, but his cheffing adventures have been full and exciting in what has actually been a relatively short period of time.

Now, he manages three kitchens with a staff of about 25 up in Harndorf, South Australia. Sidewood produces award-winning cool climate wines. They are a family-run business, and they have a real focus on sustainability. Jamie and his team create meals that complement these beautiful drops, and it really is a food and wine experience up in the Adelaide Hills.

He balances this high level of responsibility and sophistication by generally being an absolute menace. He says the most inappropriate [00:01:00] things at the most opportune moments, and he has me in fits of laughter. But it’s those fits of laughter that you do that you hope no one else is listening to the conversation.

So what I’ve done is record one of those conversations. Could I regret this? Quite possibly. A bit of a trigger warning for those listening. Uh, perhaps you’re in the car with kids; you might want to skip this one. There is an abundance of foul language. We also cover topics such as mental health and drug use.

That being said, this is a fun and exciting podcast. So, without further ado, let’s eat with Jamie Carter.

Jamie: We good?

Hannah: We good.

Jamie: Oh, fuck me. I think we’re rolling. Alright. Okay.

Hannah: I think we’re rolling.

Jamie: Alright. Okay.

Hannah: Jamie Carter. How you going?

Jamie: Good. How are you? Long time no see.

Hannah: I know. I was trying to work it out today, and I think we’ve known each other for about 14 years.

Jamie: 14 years. Get less for murder.

Hannah: So. First premise of the Eat With podcast is that you take me to where you want to go to eat. Yep. Your favourite restaurant around town.

Jamie: Yep.

Hannah: Where are we, and why are we here?

Jamie: Well, we’re at Pho Ba Ria 2, which is on Hanson Road, and this is my go-to. Probably not for taking anyone on a hot date. This is probably a Paul Tripodi, Jamie and Sam George special. Some of the old school Saracens Head boys. We’ve been coming here for probably the better part of a decade. And I don’t know, I just love the pho. So I’ll drive from Brighton to here on a Monday or Tuesday, just on my day off, you know, just to come and eat.

Hannah: We are, we’re both from kind of southwest ish of Adelaide, so this is a long way to drive and there’s a lot of places along the way.

Jamie: I assure you it’s worth it.

Hannah: Yeah?

Jamie: Yeah, definitely.

Hannah: What, what’s your hot recommendation?

Jamie: Look, for me personally, I always go the combination pho because I like all the weird stuff in it. Uh, this chilli sauce here is. This is the stuff of legends, so I pretty well come here purely for this.

Hannah: Right, okay.

Jamie: Uh, the noodles are all fresh here, so like, everything’s beautiful, the broth’s amazing. The quail we’re going to get as well and share, which is absolutely unbelievable.

Hannah: Okay, excellent.

Jamie: And we’ll go from there.

Hannah: Alright. I’m not going to go too much chilli sauce because the last thing I want to do is be sweating and snotting all over this experience.

Jamie: You told me to make this as natural as I can. I’m going to be sweating like a gypsy with a mortgage.

Hannah: Excellent. Good. We’re off to a good start. Yeah. All right. Well, uh, what are you having to drink? No alcohol.

Jamie: no alcohol. That’s why we come here. I told you

Hannah: that’s a strange move for you. Direct you as, uh, going to an alcohol-free

Jamie: venue. After a, uh, after a big weekend of work and whatnot, and play, it’s always good to rehydrate. A nice big bowl of soup. We might order, eh? Uh, we’ll get coconut. I usually get coconut water when I’m here, too.

Hannah: Yes. Yep. Big fan.

Jamie: It’s all about hydration. Sure. And sweating it out as well over the course of the weekend. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You got it. You got it. You got it. You got it.

Hey, how are you? Good, Uh, can we get a, we’ll get three of the dim sims and also the quail. And I’ll get combination pho. Yeah. Um, just small. Yeah. And for you?

Hannah: I will also get a combination pho small. Yeah. Thank you.

Jamie: And two, coconut water. Yeah. Beautiful.

Waiter: You order one dim sim. One quail and two combination pho and one chicken pho. And two coconut.

Jamie: Yeah. Thank you.

Waiter: Anything else?

Jamie: No, that’s it. Cảm ơn.

Hannah: Thank you. Done. Yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve been to Vietnam, so we did a stint there. You I remember a couple of years ago you went to Vietnam. Yeah, I was there for three or four weeks, yeah. Yeah, and it seemed to be one of the first times I think I saw you, like, so excited about food.

Jamie: That’s my favourite thing in the world, Vietnamese food. Yeah. A hundred per cent. Had you been before that? Never. So we went over for my, uh, my dad’s 50th, so Mum, yeah, we went over as a family at the time. Yeah, it was just an absolute flavour of bonanza. I’ve never been anywhere in the world that, you know, tickled all my senses that way with food, so yeah.

Yeah, and

Hannah: it’s So affordable. We went and, uh, had Barney’s, I don’t know, three times a day from a different spot every single time. And, like, yeah, just fell in love with the place. It was a perfect place to be. So, 14 years ago, we met when I was really good at pouring beers, and you were really good at sinking beers.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That is exactly how it went.

Hannah: And at that time, I had no inkling that you wanted to get into The food world, that you were interested in being a chef. We were, you know, already past that stage of like, teenagers finishing school and deciding that they were going to go be a chef. How did, A, how did you decide that that’s what you were going to do? And B, where were you pivoting from?

Jamie: Alright. Well, the decision to be a chef probably came from when I was, I remember the exact moment. Uh, I was probably 14 and the star of Greece down south. Um, the old boy and mum were there having dinner, and we were there as kids, too. And I remember walking out of the restaurant because Dad obviously had a few too many.

And, uh, we had to walk out via the kitchen. And I remember because Dad knew the owners. I kept walking through the kitchen and just hearing what it was like in there and the absolute mayhem after service and people swearing, carrying on drinking, and you know, this and that. And from that moment on, I knew that was what I wanted to be.

I’ve always loved cooking ever since I was a kid. Like, since I was probably two, three years old, sitting on the bench with mum because I was such a naughty little shit growing up, mama would have me sitting on the bench basically in solitary confinement away from everyone else, and I know how to cook stuff in the kitchen now though.

I don’t even know how I know how to cook, not from trade qualification or from training. It’s from those years of cooking and growing up. And so yeah, to answer your story, answer your question, sorry, I guess, you know, back from those days, I always wanted to do it. Obviously, when you finish school, you’ve got pressures to go into university and this and that.

So I did that first, and just, I always knew it wasn’t for me, and so the moment I sort of deviated from that, I remember going home and getting an opportunity to start at Golden Boy under Nu Suandokmai. Who was Josh, one of my very good mates at the time, Josh Suandokmai’s dad. And I got the opportunity to go in and start cooking.

And I remember meeting him at the Saracen’s, and he was a rock and roller man, like tatted up, you know what I mean, he’s like a tatted up Thai guy like, and he’s all, “we’ll see, you know, we’ll see.” And I thought, you know, I was a big shot. And yeah, I got put in my place pretty quickly, but that was where it all began.

Hannah: That was the early days of Golden Boy as well.

Jamie: Yeah. I was there from the beginning.

Hannah: Yeah. So, yeah. And what were you going from? What did you do at uni? Thank you so much.

Jamie: I was studying tourism and event management. Thanks so much. Tourism and event management. So it’s still a hospitality sort of orientated with parameters sort of degree.

But it was, I always knew hospitality, you know, had my heart, working at Saracens, working at bars, growing up and whatnot, and things like that. So um, it was, I always knew I wanted to stay in hospo, but it was just a matter of, you know, working out something that fitted. And then, yeah, cooking was just always what I loved. So yeah, find what you love and let it kill you.

Hannah: Yeah, exactly. And how long were you at Golden Boy for?

Jamie: Uh, I was there for a year and a half. And then. Um, went and did some other work with James Hillier, who owned it at the time, uh, before moving away from that. And then I went and travelled a little bit. I was still cooking and doing, doing various other things. And then, um, went, went and travelled South America, did a fair bit of travel around Australia. Um, then came home and took, got in with, um, Tom Smith and obviously the La Rambla group. Yeah,

Hannah: Well, that was when you kind of came, that was when I found out that you were getting into, you were in the cooking world. I had no idea at Golden Boy, but Tom Smith. You know, one of my oldest friends, um, and I was shocked when he said that he’d hired you because I was like, I was completely unaware that you were interested in that. Had you been to Spain at all?

Jamie: Yes. So yeah, I’d been over, been over and then went over again and always had a love for obviously European, Mediterranean cuisine, and you know, your framework of flavour in any cuisine is pretty good. Pretty similar. I think Thai and Vietnamese do it best, which is your four pillars: your sweet, salty, sour, spicy, and obviously your umami being your fifth. Spanish food’s very much like that, too. They use a lot of lemon. They use a lot of salt, a lot of smoky flavor. They’ve got a lot of, a lot of natural umamis in things like cured meats, chorizos, cheeses.

So. As I said, like, there’s a lot of parameters that cross over in any cuisine, and I think once you understand that, so Asian’s always been my, my love of any food, hence why we’re here. Yeah, yeah. And I grew up in Hong Kong, so eating.

Hannah: Oh?

Jamie:  So yeah, I grew up, I grew up in Asia as a kid. So, you know, travelling Southeast Asia, and I think that’s where my fondest memories of flavour sort of started, you know.

Hannah: Oh, that is an early stage to get, like, proper flavour.

Jamie: And mum’s an amazing cook. Dad tries. He’s pretty good. But, you know, so we’ve always come from a heavy, heavy family of people that love food. So, yeah.

Hannah: Why, why were you in Hong Kong?

Jamie: Dad’s job. So he’s in insurance. So yeah, we were over there from 1998 to 2002.

Hannah: Yeah, okay, probably quite formative years around food.

Jamie: Indeed. Indeed. So that was when the handover happened from Britain back to China as well. So it was a very transient stage in in Hong Kong at the time But you know, I remember going to this restaurant called the King Crab, which is the second day We’re in Hong Kong at 11 years old and eating yum cha and dim sum and Things like this and I remember things like the chilli oil and things like that, and that’s what foods always been for me It’s been you know evocative of memory, and it takes you to a place every time you yeah.

Hannah: It’s a connection and for you, obviously family as well. Like, if you’re living in a place like Hong Kong, I imagine that your family becomes so much more connected to you. You know, you’re the outsiders like yeah, very interesting. And then yeah, so we’re at La Rambla.

Jamie: Yep.

Hannah: Spanish food.

Jamie: Yep.

Hannah: In my opinion, one of the best restaurants South Australia has seen in a long time.

Jamie: Thank you.

Hannah: Um, you were sous chef to start with?

Jamie: I started out as sous, yeah. And then, uh, the head chef I was working under, for whatever reason, moved on. And I think he had a job in the States, so then I moved into the hot seat. At which point they, um, they took over. Start, decide to expand the empire, which they bought a place in North Adelaide and also one in the city as well.

So I was sort of overseeing all three, which was sort of that first position in a sort of senior position of more so, you know, menu formation, writing and stuff like that. And it was thrown in the deep end to an extent, you know, like it’s hard enough trying to run one restaurant like properly.

Hannah: and busy ones as well. Like the, you know, all of their restaurants were hotspot restaurants, you know, they weren’t in back alleys.

Jamie: Yeah. And La Rambla, you know, La Rambla was always, we’re doing three, four hundreds on Friday, Saturday night. It was, it was simplified in intricacy with the food, which is tapas is very simple.

But what people, I think, don’t understand in restaurants is that the amount of, you know, back-of-house stuff that has to go into something as simple as getting a gambas al ajillo on a plate or a pho from here is like. There’s a guy that has to order that; there’s a guy that has to monitor the quality of that; there’s a guy that has to rotate that, watch the stock level, watch profit and loss. And that’s the sort of stuff I think people don’t realise, the effort that it takes to actually put a plate of food on the table.

Hannah: Yeah, and then even if the dish itself is quick to make, you’ve got the prep time as well with all the ingredients and that sort of thing, you know, people are in there. Just because the restaurant doesn’t open until 6 p.m. At night doesn’t mean that people aren’t

Jamie: exactly, we’re they’re from the start. Thank you. Yeah, are they gluten free? They’re not. Thank you. This is gluten free. Yeah, beautiful. So this is shit hot.

Hannah: Alright. Here’s the part that’s fine on a podcast, but not great on film is: when I get my hands dirty and I’m trying to eat elegantly.

Jamie: Let me just get some lemon on that. Alright, get into it.

Hannah: Alright.

Jamie: This has been fried to within an inch of its life. Yeah. And this is my hangover cure of the century. Mmm. It’s like Vietnamese KFC. But better.

Hannah: Mmm. I never want Dirty Bird, but this is great.

Jamie: This is Dirty Bird, the dirtiest of all the birds.

So, yeah, and we went, um, La Rambla, by all accounts, was a great success.

Hannah: Yeah, it was. And, you know, it was, as I said, the food was, food was great.

Jamie: I had a great time working there. We partied our arses off and had a good life. And that was, you know, we, it was still a serious, serious job, and everybody took it seriously, but we had a great time too, you know.

Hannah: That was one of the things I found about that venue, was like, there was that balance. You knew that the staff were partying hard afterwards. You knew that they were having drinks. They were always there to, like, have you as part of the family. Um, you know. Yeah. They were always there to have you as like, part of the party.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly.

Hannah: They were always involving you. They were super friendly, but not in that way. Not in that trained, scripted way that you often find in venues. It was more about having a laugh and having you involved. And then the food was outstanding food. I think better than a lot of the food I had in Spain because When we went to Spain the first few times, it was one of our favourite places to go. And when we went to Spain the first few times, we were going to a lot of places where it was quick. It was fast. But it, you know, the passion for the flavour wasn’t really what they were in it for. It was about serving lots of people cheaply and quickly. Whereas La Rambla, we did that Australian thing where we take something and we add so much more to it. I think we have that. In spades in South Australia in particular. Yeah, um and But the menu was affordable. I don’t know how you did it. That was, you know, you did a feed me menu for what 39?

Jamie: It was 35 to start. Yep. And um, yeah, and you’ve got everything, and that was probably one of the biggest um barriers once COVID hit, and they bought in, you know, the, the license law with meterage per, per patron.

I think that was probably one of the hardest things for most restaurants is that your affordability goes down. Mm. With the income in South Australia and you know, comparable to Sydney and things like that. Sydney can afford to charge, you know, with the population density and and the income being higher per person, they can afford to actually charge, um, you know, charge more, and people will still pay. But we have such a steep pyramid of, you know, ability to be able to afford and affordability in food. You know, your prices go up $2 a dish and then suddenly people will recognise that and say it’s too expensive as us touching on what I said earlier about not. Not knowing how much effort has to go into food and things like this. And when you’ve got things like this as an option, you know, you can come out for 60 bucks, have the best MSG-ridden food of your life, and go home and need a nap at 2 o’clock. Like, I don’t I get drawn even as a chef these days, you know, more so to go for this sort of stuff.

Your back eats and things like that. So it’s about finding that line and the crossover between affordable food. That is, you know, seasonal and also using local produce but keeping it at a level that people still come.

Hannah: Yeah. Our produce in South Australia is fantastic, but we are learning that we have to pay for that.

Jamie: 100%.

Hannah: You can go to Aldi and get a steak and cook it yourself at home, probably not very well. Um, but how many miles has that food gone?

Jamie: Yeah.

Hannah: And, you know, what kind of quality are you expecting from that when You pay for a South Australian butcher, you’re paying a lot more money, but I think you can taste it.

Jamie: 100%. 100%. 100%. Absolutely. How’s the quail?

Hannah: So good. So good.

Jamie: That’s the nostalgia. See, that’s like eating KFC with a hangover on a Sunday.

Hannah: Yeah. I, uh, it is burning hot, but it is very tasty.

Jamie: Straight out of the fryer. Yeah, if Tripper and I come here, we’ll usually go through about three of those. Um, you can see the fusion with the French-style gherkins on the plate, too. Cornichons.

Hannah: So, after La Rambla, where did you go next? Because

Jamie: Sidewood. Uh, well, COVID hit, obviously. So that was obviously quite a, um, quite a difficult time for the restaurant industry and whatnot. A lot of people took time off and did what they did.

I was, I’d just gone through, you know, some pretty heavy stuff in my life. Um, And so, look, I took a bit of time off, and then I actually went up to Sidewood originally. So, I was up at Sidewood for the first time before I went away. Um, so I was up there about How long? Six to eight months. And then, um, scored a job with a company called the Landsmith Collection.

Sorry, pardon me. The Landsmith Collection, who own, uh, Bullo River Station. And, um, Voyager Estate in Margaret River. So massive owned by a couple called Alex, Alex and Julian, but who are some of, you know, Australia’s wealthiest and most beautiful people you’d ever meet. And so I scored a job as, um, as guest chef for the tourist season of 2021 up in, uh, Bullo River, which is in Northern Territory.

So I headed up there and lived out on a station 700 k’s away from town, half a million acres with some of the most luxurious. It’s like fine dining and beautiful out there. You can Google it. It’s been on, um, been on ABC all over millions.

Hannah: Oh, I did Google it when you went up there.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And so, you know, price point in the thousands per day for people to be up there flying in by chopper and whatnot. And so I was cooking for, you know, the likes of Cyril Jinks, attorney generals and things like this. And some big names were up there over the season. And so that was a different sort of side street of what I’d been doing, which is high-volume cooking. And. It really taught me the essence of what hospitality is about, which is, you’re coming into our house and let us feed you and let us give you an experience that you’re going to leave and remember for your life. And so that, it really changed my scope on what I was doing with my career and where I wanted to be, so to speak.

Hannah: Was it a lot less, um, party-oriented? Like, I’m assuming you had a lot smaller crew, and you’re really isolated.

Jamie: 30 people living out on the station. Oh! They drank like fish out there in the local territory. Uh, but In terms of like, you know, having a good time being out and nightlife and stuff. It was unheard of. I was out there for, you know, nine months, and it’s probably one of the best things I ever did in my career, you know, like I went out there, and I sort of didn’t know what avenue I wanted to go with what I was doing with cooking and it was all good.

But, you know, we’ve got a saying like you don’t want to be sitting around teaching schnitzels how to swim at 40. So, like, this, for me, sort of gave me a vision of where I could go with it. And it also introduced me to two influential people who were. I don’t know, airing up my tyres, so to speak, and saying that I’ve actually got something to look forward to in the progression of my career in terms of personalised experience.

So that, I guess, tied back to the tourism stuff that I was studying, too. And so it all just sort of amalgamated into, yeah, it was fitting beautifully. And so, yeah. And so I was up there for ten months, ten months, Adelaide. Once again, standard Jamie, like, it’s just the blood of a traveller. I’ve got no idea what I want to do when I get back.

So, I jumped around, I did some work with friends onto the Queen’s Head for a bit and stuff like this.

Hannah: Yeah, yeah, I remember.

Jamie: And that was fun, like gastro Pub, and it taught me wood oven, which I then sort of incorporated back into Sidewood when I got back up there. But I went to, um, I went for a company called Coral Expeditions, and that’s when I went out on the boats.

Hannah: Yes, so that was the part that I was really interested in because it feels like quite a left-of-field move.

Jamie: Yep, definitely, definitely. I was in a, I was in a period where I didn’t sort of know where I wanted to to go once again, and that’s the thing with cooking is like it can take you anywhere in the world, and it’s just about tying that in about with what you want I guess, and so I’ve always you know me I’ve loved to travel and I got itchy feet man like I can’t sit still and so when this job they they contacted me because a friend of mine uh Carla, who was one of the top four in Millionaire Island, or whatever that’s just been on TV, so, and she’s been on Totally Wild and stuff.

We formed a really good friendship up on the station. She was working as a tourism manager and expedition leader on the boats, and so she put my name for it and they hit me up about being a head chef on the boats.

Hannah: What was that like? Because I, we have friends that,

Jamie: it’s a bit different. I can’t talk about what we did on podcast day.

Hannah: You can talk about whatever you want on my podcast.

Jamie: What happens the sea stays the sea. No, no, no, no, look, um.

Hannah: Danger and debauchery?

Jamie: Unbelievable. Yeah, yeah. It was absolutely, it was chaos. You’re doing; I think longest swing I did was eight weeks without a day off. And so you’re talking 15-hour days. I lost nine kilos in the eight weeks. You’re, you’re sweating, sweating bullets every day. You got 110 guests on at any one time, but it’s four chefs, but maritime law is if someone gets COVID, they need a week off in isolation on the boats. So, at any one time you might be down to two chefs. I cooked Christmas lunch in Borneo for 115 people with two chefs, three course.

So, so like it, it tested me, but it also taught me resilience and adaptability with change and having to think on your feet. In saying the negatives, I got to sail the circumference of Australia and Tasmania in six weeks. I travelled to 14 different countries. I spent New Year’s in Singapore, eating at Lau Pa Sat, going out drinking with the crew, flew to Cambodia, the staff flew me back.

I’m going back on the boat next year, um, as a South Australian representative guest chef as well. So they’ve hit me up, so yeah. That’s wicked. Yeah, so for their South Australian cruises, I’ll be the chef that comes on, and that’s all promoted. Yeah, so it’ll be great.

Hannah: What are you building at Sidewood to be able to do that, to be able to go off for however many weeks at a time that that’s going to be?

Jamie: Well, look, it’s cross-promotional for them, so in negotiation with Coral, um, Andy, who’s my hospitality manager on the boats, I’ve, uh, we’ve been, yeah, please, please. Thank you. You like tripe, yeah?

Hannah: Yeah, I don’t mind it.

Jamie:  Oh, they made these

Hannah: Thank you so much.

Jamie: They made these extra pretty today, mate. They don’t usually look like that. It’s the camera look. Can I Look at this, it’s plated up. They plaited the pho, look. I’m gonna chilli the life out of this thing.

Hannah: Oh my word. Alright, well, we better get all the hard-hitting questions in beforehand, then.

Jamie: Let’s do it.

Hannah: Yeah, so. So, yeah, you. That’s part of the Sidewood experience.

Jamie: uh, yeah, well, obviously being in wine for us, um, and the boat’s been, the boat’s been quite a, quite a good, um, thanks so much, uh, quite a good market for us. We’re, um, oh, I’m so excited for this. Quite a good market for us to get into with wine. That was probably, uh, a pitch for me to have a chat with Owen and Cassandra, who are the owners of Sidewood and very, very good friends of mine too, and I just said, look, it’s, it’s marketed as Jamie from Sidewood Estate is our, is our, this year’s guest chef that’s coming on.

And so basically, we do a South Australian sail from the Yorke Peninsula to Eyre Peninsula. Um, all, all up near Port Lincoln, we get seafood sauce fresh every day. And basically I’m just doing degustations with local produce. Shit job, eh?

Hannah: Yeah, sounds absolutely shocking. I don’t know how you’re going to cope. Um, do you, is that Kangaroo Island as well?

Jamie: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So KI will get oysters and. gin and whatnot. So the guests get to get off every day as it’s an expedition cruise. So there’s boats on the back and they go do what they want. Uh, we get lobs, we get lobsters in WA when we’re on there. It’s crayfish, sorry, pardon me, in WA and, you know, cooking stuff like that.

So it was an unbelievable experience. The best of my life. And then, yeah, and then the owners at Sidewood met me in Fremantle when we were on shore leave, uh, one night and, um, presented the opportunity to come back as exec for the group. And Cassandra, uh, the owner of Sidewood, is, as I said, very good friend of mine, as is Owen, and she’s quite convincing with me.

She knows, she knows how to, knows how to reel me in.

Hannah: How much wine allowance do you get?

Jamie: Yeah, look, after, after a couple of bottles of Billecart, some sushi in, uh, in Fremantle, they, they swindled me. And so here we are back in Adelaide. Yeah,

Hannah: so, tell me the Sidewood vision now then, because obviously Sidewood Estate, they moved venues, they had that one that was, Max’s, yeah, and I feel like it was a very different vibe there to what is coming off now, but it was very much a wine-related place, and you seem to be trying to take it to that more. Food combo with the wine, which I think South Australia loves

Jamie: a hundred per cent.

Hannah: So yeah, tell me the Sidewood vision now

Jamie: I think for me. When I start to… look at this, I’m gonna eat that. How’s it sound? I’m gonna be here a minute.

Hannah: Oh yeah, I’ve got one too.

Jamie: I think they just did that purely to watch the whiteys eat that. Um, yep. Uh, for me, sidewood, I’ve got a love affair with it. I’ve got a love affair with the venue. I love, I love the culture. I love what Owen and Cass do with wine. They they’re not originally from wine. They love the vision of the business. Owen is a thinker, and we’ve always correlated with exactly what we thought. And I just thought that the food, it’s not a venue that needs to do degustation, it’s not a venue that needs to be, you know, um, fight, you know, going against the likes of Max, um, Maxwell’s, places like that and your Serafino and things like this.

We don’t need to do silver service. It’s a venue that I think with the area that we’ve got, like the acreage, um, it’s family orientated out one side. You’ve got your beautiful area with all your games and things. You’ve got wood ovens. So the food needs to be what I touched on before, which is intricate simplicity, which you should be able to come in and share a meal. I’ve always been a great lover of the chef selection, which is you look at people like Herringbone and places like this that you go in and. You talk to Paulie, chews your ear off for 20 seconds and then, you know, food just hits the table. And it takes you on a journey of, I think, what you’re trying to convey. And we just have the added extra of being able to pair that with some of the best wines in the Adelaide Hills. Cool climate wines. And, and so, for me, the food it has to be local. It has to be sourced. I don’t try and do too much with it. We’ve got, we’re too big a volume, uh, bigger menu to be able to do.

Re-invent the wheel, so to speak, but it has to be something that’s different. We’ve got three different kitchens there, too, so I’ve got an Asian fusion kitchen down the bottom where I do the stuff of, you know, my life at Golden Boy, which is, you know, I still use Nu’s Nam Jim recipe and his turmeric chicken recipe and things like this.

Then up in the wood oven areas, we do beautiful wood oven pizzas and things like this. And then you get into my restaurant and it’s more focused on things like beautiful seafood sourced from places like Henderson and stuff like this. You see less and no ones. Um, your local stuff, your local meats, venison from 20 metres up the road, all our fruit and veg sourced from Hahndorf Fruit and Veg, which is a stone’s throw away. And it’s just about showcasing the people that make it possible, I think. Yeah.

Hannah: So when it comes to things like venison and, you know, even particularly your Asian flavour ingredients, do you find that, um, the clientele that you get are quite receptive to trying something different? Or is it, are they more, they want their pizza?

Jamie: I think it’s about being a chameleon, so to speak, in a restaurant. I’m a yes man. So that’s an answer to that.

Hannah: Yes. Yeah, you are.

Jamie: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. In all senses of the word. Uh, look, your biggest, um, your biggest barriers is obviously getting the kickback with things like that. So people with the clientele and demographic in Handorf during the week may be older, and then on weekends, you’ve got the ladies who lunch and people coming in for hens shows and buck shows. So it’s about, which we try and avoid, but it’s about being able to cater to the masses and having the vast majority be happy. You’re never going to please everyone, but it’s about standing by your product and your style. And that was probably the hardest thing going into this with me because that’s a big fish to fry and coming in with a menu that I’m cooking and hoping that everybody’s going to love it. And it was a change from what was previously going on there, but it was a change that I thought I could make work. And I think in all sense of the statement, I have like the food everybody’s enjoying. I think.

How’s the Pho?

Hannah: So good.

Jamie: It’s good, eh? It’s just clean.

Hannah: Yeah, it really is.

Jamie: Vietnamese food just is like a hug for me. All of my problems and shit that I’m worried about go away.

Hannah: Is that just because of the pure volume of chilli that you load into it?

Jamie: Yeah, and the MSG.

Hannah: White shirt was a really big mistake.

Jamie: I always, yep. They’re constantly so, you know, I wear black chef jackets but white shirts every other day. That’s exactly right, I know.

Hannah: Alright, I’m gonna give this chilli a go now.

Jamie: Yeah, go on, you need to get it in there. That’s the hug.

Hannah: Yeah, the hug is your insides burning.

Jamie: Yep, it’s good for you. It’s endorphins.

Hannah: Metabolism and whatnot. Do you want some?

Jamie: 100%.

Hannah: So, expansion to three kitchens, is that to, with the vision to be doing larger things like weddings and that sort of thing or is that?

Jamie: Yeah. Um, the, the wedding, the weddings have always been on the cards, obviously with COVID and things like this. We’ve always wanted to be a wedding venue, and this year we’ve got a lot booked. Um, so that’s been great. We’ve, we’ve definitely been pushing into that market a lot more corporate function and wedding. Um, the three kitchens we’ve just built on down on the grass, which I’ll show you when you come up more [so because you need to departmentalise and split up a venue of that magnitude because you can’t have one powerhouse pumping out for 500 people and the problem is you need four different menus, and you need fast, excuse me, you need fast-moving products.

Things like you would on pizzas, your Asian salads and things like this, which are grab and go almost from, from areas that people want to come up with families. They want to play on the play equipment. We got live music every weekend, but it won’t, they, they want a fast-moving product. People in the restaurant are in more for, more so for an experience. So then we can run them at our pace and show them what we do. It takes the pressure off of my main guys or my main kitchen and the guys in there. And also lets my other guys, like some of my commis, I let them have a bit of creative right over the dishes that we do. A few of them have worked with me in previous places. Half of my team, actually, so a few of them are off the boat. I dragged them back from Perth. So they’re there.

Hannah: Perth to South Australia.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve got Joel.

Hannah: That’s some passionate people.

Jamie: Yeah, well, I’ve got Joel, uh, who I’ve worked with at two different venues, who’s um, who’s a good friend of mine. He’s come on, and he’s worked with Nu as well, so he knows the scope that I want for the Asian stuff. So basically, I can’t even take credit for those menus down there, you know. I let them have a lot of creative right because it’s accountability with food, too. If people, if people are putting their stamp on it rather than just cooking what I tell them in conjunction with what I obviously want and whatnot, then they feel like they own the product, and when they feel like they own it, they love it, and they put out good products as a whole.

Hannah: Yeah, and that’s the passion that’s involved. And then that comes across to the clientele in the end anyway. I’ve been to a few, we’ve been to a few fine diner restaurants where they make the chefs come out and present the food to you. Now, you can tell in some of those places who’s passionate about the dish that they’re bringing out and who’s been forced to do it. And they don’t want to be there. They don’t want to talk to you because they feel super uncomfortable. If they’ve had some ownership over that, it completely changes the vibe of the presentation. And then your Approach as the eater to the dish.

Jamie: 100%. Couldn’t have said that better.

Hannah: Yeah, it’s um, I think chefs having ownership. How are you finding managing a kitchen? Now, you probably came up at a time… I don’t want to speak too ill, but you know, this was 14 years ago.

Jamie: It’s a whole different ballgame. A whole different ballgame.

Hannah: It was a high pressure kind of environment. You know, I worked in pubs. Very different, but working in pubs where we had 300 people outside and then we had a restaurant that was, you know, I don’t know, 150 heads on a Saturday night. The sort of pressure that all they were cooking, not ALL they were cooking, that is a very unfair statement, but the sort of pressure in a kitchen where you’re cooking pub food, um, was intense. I can’t imagine what it was like somewhere like Golden Boy or, you know, any of those restaurants.

Jamie: The mood was different, um, I think, and I don’t speak for everyone, this is only my personal experience because no, no two are the same. Then, there was a lot less focus on how people were feeling and more so getting everything done. And, and that was, um, I think that was hospitality as a whole. You were cogs in, cogs in an engine, and I loved that pressure too, um, growing up, but I remember answering back to a certain head chef, who I won’t name, getting slapped so hard that I went outside and cried and called my best mate who was working at The Stag at the time. And he’s like, you know, you wanted, you wanted this shit. So, like, go back in and show them who you are. Yeah, you wanted to take the black, man. This is what it’s about. You know, I remember doing 16- 17 hour days, you know, and then going out and drinking all night, come back in and doing the same thing. And it’s good that that culture has been recognised and sort of stamped on a little bit because it’s a toxic culture. Well, it was a toxic culture. There’s still glimmers of it, and they’re beautiful glimmers. And you know, the, the industry has changed fundamentally for the better with a lot more focused on mental health. It’s a different generation now, and it’s, it’s, it feels, I still feel like you’re not 20. You know?

Hannah: Every time I’m reminded that I’m not,

Jamie: I don’t feel like I’ve grown up whatsoever, which in a lot of aspects of my life I have, but I still feel like I’m in my twenties. So you know, when people say, you know, the new generation, I’m like, hang on, we’re the new generation.

Hannah: You can’t have it yet.

Jamie: Yeah. We’re going to blink and be 50 or dead. So yeah. So yeah. No, in answer to your question, it’s changed. It’s An awful lot. And that’s a good thing, you know, but the bands are still there. The love is still there. The people that love it, love it. And like we’re lifers, unfortunately.

Hannah: Yeah. I think there are people that go into it because they watch a shiny TV show, and they think that, not that there’s anything wrong with that approach to food. I think it’s absolutely fabulous. They don’t understand the pressures of going into it, and then I think there’s people that watched Anthony Bourdain as kids and went, ‘Oh, we’re actually a different breed of people’ and and that is Lifestyle and I’m, that’s how I want to live it.

Jamie: You’re in, you’re an outsider, and it’s like I have to explain this to Whatever partner I’m with. It’s, you know, that is so true is the fact that on a Sunday, you know, I don’t, after I finished work, like I need time to come down from what I’ve just been through, and I can come home and be on top of the world. And I’ve just had an amazing shift where everything’s gone perfect, and one thing can go wrong, and that’s just snowballed and completely ruined my life. And it’ll take me two days to recover. Yeah. And when you’re not at work, you’re thinking about work. There’s no switch off. You know, I’m, you go in on your days off. You miss days, and that you miss days of certain stuff. So you make them up next week. You go through stuff that you don’t have to in other industries. It’s not go home and switch off like an office.

Hannah: No, but that’s the pressure of being in an industry where you’re genuinely passionate. It’s not just a job. It’s a life. It’s your lifestyle, and it’s something that you genuinely care about. Yeah, you know, we run our own businesses. I run my own business outside of this. Yeah, and I’m never off. I don’t know how to be. I don’t feel comfortable being off But, being able to unwind to a certain degree in the hospitality industry that means one drink turning into two drinks turning into three drinks.

Jamie: One too many, one’s too many, and a thousand’s never enough, eh? Yep, absolutely. Story of my life.

Hannah: How do you manage that now? Do you feel like you do?

Jamie: Yes. Yes. It’s, it’s different these days. Like you get a bit older, and you’ve got responsibility and stuff.

Hannah: And the hangovers hurt more.

Jamie: Oh my God, so bad. You still slip off. But you know, I, I need me time now too. It’s a matter of, I’m still the same old, you know, two drinks off a bad decision.

Hannah: Um, so I think my favourite Jamie Carter moment, of late anyway, has been, you started Was it? It was dry July.

Jamie: Yeah.

Hannah: You put a post up at 8 a.m. that day, and by 8 p.m. that night, you were filming yourself sinking beers

Jamie: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. That wasn’t my proudest moment. But I’m glad the world enjoyed.

Hannah: That was, I was like, this is one of my favourite things to happen today.

Jamie: Yeah, no, it wasn’t good. It was on a Sunday, too. My most dangerous day of the week. But yeah, look, it’s um, You have to find outlets that don’t involve work and also obviously drinking drugs and stuff. They’re a lot more rife in the industry. Working wineries is great because you’re only working two nights a week and nights. That’s the dangerous one I find because, especially if you’re in the city CBD, you remember what Peel Street was like? Like, what are you going to do? You walk out, see 500 people, you know, and you’re, of course, going to have beer. If one beer leads to 10, going to go work at nine. It’s no good. I can’t tell you how many times that happened, but you know. It’s, as you get a bit older and more focused, obviously, we’re all human, and everybody slips up, and it’s good to have been through these types of stuff growing up and, you know, around that a lot because it gives you a sense of compassion and also understanding for everybody else that’s going through it. So if someone does, Oh my God, I’ve done it all. So if, you know, if someone does call a sickie or they’re going through something, it means that you can. You can muck around and be firm people at work, but at the same time, you’ve got a level of understanding of what people may be going through and, I think, a sixth sense of how to read it. And so these days, I need outlets like getting in the water, you know, riding a bike, a motorbike.

Hannah: Ah, yes, that’s my next question. Are you having a midlife crisis, or was the Harley Davidson always on the cards?

Jamie: Nah, look, mum put me on one. Four years old down the beach house. Um, she’s to blame. She is. And so, you know, she wore that when she was crying when I bought it. But yeah, it’s a mid, I’ll say, midlife crisis. Hopefully, it’s a, you know, quarter-life. Trimester life. Probably mid the rate I’m going, but yeah, it’s um, yeah, you know, it gives me, it gives me a little outlet also means I can’t drink too, which is good.

Hannah: Yeah. Well. That’s um, definitely one aspect that you don’t want to be messing with stuff like that.

Jamie: Exactly. 100%. See? Responsible, adult.

Hannah: Yeah. I did want to talk to you about Anthony Bourdain. Shared icon.

Jamie: Yep.

Hannah: Somebody that I absolutely adore, but for me, it’s about the fact that he kind of went from that food hospo to journalism.

Jamie: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Hannah: I don’t think there was anybody, in my mind, that has been better with the written word, um, about food

Jamie: In the world. Anything. No. Yep.

Hannah: Um, when did you come across him, and how did that happen?

Jamie: 17, or 18, or maybe, it would have been… two years. I couldn’t tell you the exact, but I read Kitchen Confidential, and someone told me to, and I read it, and it put into words everything that I felt about the world more so. The cooking wasn’t fundamental, and cooking wasn’t primary focus. but the way that he described hospitality in the kitchen and whatnot and just being rock and rollers and the way stuff was, you know, he went through battles with drugs, battles, battles with addiction, battles with himself, battles with mental health.

And I think he was the first person ever in a, with a chef background to actually shine the light on that, that I’d heard of. And so it really gave me almost a mental outlet reading that and thinking about. You know what he was explaining and thinking fuck this is like the people that we are. And going into a kitchen like we’re a family man like any kitchen, we fight like brothers and sisters like you’ve got your HR. You’ve got this, you’ve got that, but in a kitchen, it’s like your band of brothers and sisters in there, and you know, you look after each other like like blood, you know, and it’s the way he explained that and the cooking side of stuff and he threw in like glimmers of food and stuff and it was it was just so eloquently written the way that you said like his his ability to pick up a pen and write was probably you know superior to his ability to cook.

Hannah: Yeah, well, he kind of highlighted that in the end that, like, what he was actually doing cooking-wise, the dirty backstory of it he was like, this is not

Jamie: he went in raw, man. He didn’t tell anyone, he didn’t hold back, you know, yeah yeah.

Hannah: It’s, um, it, for me it was, I mean, like I said, you know, I only ever really worked in kitchens when it came to pubs. Um, but I still saw that.

Jamie: Yeah, you still, yeah, you.

Hannah: But what I thought was really interesting about it is, is now when people pick up his work, I wonder if they’re using it as a guiding tool or if, ’cause I think when we first came across him and, and you first came across him, it was having somebody tell you that your feelings were valid about the experience

Jamie: very well put yeah,

Hannah: whereas now I think that people might pick it up and look at it as Dogma as like a Bible

Jamie: a 100 per cent, and I still think I do that a little bit. You know, like it’s but it’s like when he went into the the food network obviously, and his latest stuff with, you know, Parts Unknown and All of the travel travel documentaries and showed then that was a lot more relatable to the right wider masses, so to speak.

Yeah, and but I think he did a lot for the world. You go to some of the places in lesser known places, Bolivia, Hoi An, Israel places like this that he’s been to, and they’ve got photos of him eating there when he’s eating with Barack Obama on the side street restaurant in Vietnam I went to that restaurant, you know, and that place has a line up out the door because he’s been there.

Hannah: Well, the, the um banh mi place and in Hoi An.

Jamie: yeah Unbelievable. The line was like, You can’t, it takes three hours, I’ve lined up, you know.

Hannah: Yep, so did I, because he did it so I had to.

Jamie: Exactly, 100%. So he’s changed people’s lives, you know. And he died, obviously, from suicide in the end. And it’s like, you know, the two greatest tragedies in life are not getting what you want and getting it, you know. He got everything he wanted, but fundamentally, he’s still alone at the end of it, battling the same things he was battling coming up. Yeah. But he had everything in the world and had nothing, you know, and I think that’s pretty powerful.

Hannah: Yeah, so do I. And I think it is a testament to the industry that these, these mental health issues, they don’t just go away, and you really have to take care of your people. Like that can be happening to any single one of the people that are around you. And usually, the ones that seem the finest.

Jamie: 100%.

Hannah: So, yes, this lifestyle is amazing to be able to, uh, you know, have a good time and do stuff that you’re passionate about, but there’s, there’s a fucking fine line.

Jamie: It’s gotta be sustainable too,

Hannah: exactly right. Yeah, exactly. And burning out, burning out looks different to everyone, but you just don’t want people to go the way He ended up going.

Jamie: 100%.

Hannah: 100%. Okay, so now that I’m significantly sniffly.

Jamie: It’s not the first time. Don’t put that in.

Hannah: I wondered if you were going to do that to me.

Jamie: Dessert? No, I’m joking.

Hannah: Alright, so we are now going to fire on the fast five. Uh, the Fast Five, one word or one sentence answers. Don’t need to think about it too much. I’m probably going to be the worst part of this because I’m going to ask you more questions. What do you cook when no one’s watching?

Jamie: For me? Yeah. Sirena tuna, rice, sesame oil, chilli, bok choy.

Hannah: Right. Okay. Uh, what’s your go-to cookbook?

Jamie: Anything David Thompson or Fish Butchery.

Hannah: Yeah. Okay. I was actually up at midnight last night reading a Josh Niland article on how to butcher a fish. I have no interest. He’s unbelievable. I have no intention of butchering a fish, but I like

Jamie: That book, that book’s not a cookbook as much as it is, you know a, an instruction manual. No. And, and the stuff that you pull out of that, you’ll see his, his method of Butchering seafood and fish on most menus in Australia and around the world now. He changed the game.

Hannah: He’s about to go to Singapore, so I think we’re about to see a Michelin Star on our hands.

Jamie: Easily. Yep.

Hannah: Um, most overrated ingredient or dish that you see everywhere at the moment?

Jamie: Kingfish. Kingfish. Everywhere. It’s the rat of the sea. As a fisherman, just get it off. Use something fucking less known, you know? Yep.

Hannah: Yep. What was the first dish you learned to cook? Can you remember?

Jamie: Cupcakes. With mum. Yeah.

Hannah: And do you think that that is, like, sitting in the kitchen with her actually did spark that in you?

Jamie: There’s no more fitting story to why I love cooking.

Hannah: Will she, um, still cook for you?

Jamie: Every day. Yeah? If I want. Yeah, she’s unbelievable. She still runs five or six dishes that, you know, I hold close to my heart. Crumbed, crumbed, uh, porterhouse that have been beaten out, but she makes her own crumb with parmesan in it. She makes a béarnaise sauce that can make a French man cry, and then she puts sliced avocado on it. I make that on the boat for the oldies for the final, their final lunch on the boat. And call it Jamie’s Mum’s, you know, crumbed porterhouse. Every time I was on the boat. That’s a way to win hearts.

Hannah: Yeah, that’s it. And who’s been the most influential chef in your life?

Jamie: I don’t want to sound cliche, but like, I suppose lifestyle, Anthony Bourdain, definitely. Um, influential chef. God, there’s hundreds, man. Like I’d have to say Nu shape me for what even the short time I worked for him that year and a half sort of taught me about food, and like I still catch up with him and talk to him, and I still shit my pants when I say my phone ring from him, you know, and he’s, he’s getting on now, but you know, like that guy taught me what he taught me flavour. He taught me what fire does to a piece of meat. He taught me the importance of over using citrus and then balancing it out with a salt and then balancing that with a sweet. He taught me the building blocks of how to cook, but also to how to be a chef and compose yourself. But you can get angry if you apologise later. And everything in the heat of the moment. The Thais cook with fire and soul, you know, and I think that’s what I took from him. So, like, even that short time, definitely. Nu, probably.

Hannah: Great. Well, I think, Jamie Carter, thank you for coming out to eat with me.

Jamie: Thank you.

Hannah: Thank you for joining me on the wild and exciting ride that was episode one of Eat With the Podcast.

I really do recommend that you get down to Pho Ba Ria 2 on Hanson Road to try some of that beautiful crispy fried quail and to have an authentic Vietnamese hospitality experience. I also recommend that you head up to Sidewood Estate in the Adelaide Hills to visit Jamie at his second home and have a really beautiful food and wine-matched experience there.

Please rate, review, subscribe and follow along with the podcast. We might be a podcast baby, but this really is something that I would like to see grow and I’d love for you to be along for the journey. You have no idea how much it helps.

Tune in in two weeks’ time where I interview the guy who was the personal chef for the king of the country of Jordan.

For the recommendations mentioned in today’s podcast, the locations, the dishes, the cookbooks, you can head over to eatwithpod.com or follow us on any of our socials at eatwithpod.

I have been your host, Hannah Pendlebury.

My guest today was Chef Jamie Carter of Sidewood Estate.

The restaurant location was Pho Ba Ria 2 on Hanson Road.

The video was recorded by Luke Jamieson.

The sound processing and video processing was done by Matrix on South Road.

Our intro and outro music was done by the talented Lobu Music.

That’s all. That’s it. Go forth. Stuff your face. Thanks.