We are very excited to have two outstanding chefs joining us at Harry’s, in the joint role of Head Chef. Here in their own words, are their stories.
Head Chef – Jason Hughes:
My cooking career began in the Highlands working for the Jansz family and it was this experience that gave me my first exposure to passionate people who loved to grow and cook their own produce. I went on to join the brigades at both Milton park and later the Observatory hotel ( now the Langham) along side Biota’s James Viles, both of us as apprentices.
I was incredibly lucky during this time to work with some inspirational chefs from a broad range of cultures and this influenced my first restaurant in Kiama which I opened with my wife Christobel, and we elevated to a one hat standard in the Sydney morning herald good food guide. When we started our family we felt the call of the Highlands, as many do, and returned to our roots.
I have since worked as head chef of Escalot and executive chef of Bendooley estate, and it was here that I met fellow chef Ken Baker and we found a common bond in our love of great produce, technique and flavour driven provincial cooking.
I now call Bowral home with my wife and three children.
Head Chef – Kenneth Baker
As a young chef, I was lucky enough to work for two masters of the Sydney restaurant scene.
Peter Doyle, for three years at Cicada Restaurant Challis Avenue Potts Point. And then, Tetsuya Wakuda at his eponymous restaurant at Rozelle.
Peter Doyle was the finest mentor any young chef could wish for and consequently taught me the notion of scope in cooking. Eating or food in his mind, of which he would rarely admit due to his humility, was the greatest pleasure available to any human. He loved and taught me the lessons of serving warm stone fruit and ice cream, a deeply flavoured consommé or bouillabaisse, five plump prawn raviolis on a plate.
Tetsuya was of the same ilk. However, Tetsuya primarily taught me the value of customer pleasure; or hospitality. He taught me that it wasn’t enough to have customers satisfied. We would sometimes serve 24 courses to a table, similar to what three star chef Pierre Gagnaire does in Paris, to demonstrate a sort of nourishment to the customer that goes beyond the transactional nature of a fully booked restaurant.
After leading large commercial food businesses in Sydney and selling a successful five year coffee business in Surry Hills, I decided to move my family to the Southern Highlands after accepting the role of private chef with Mr Alan Jones A.O.
During this two and a half year tenure Mr Jones allowed me, after gaining his confidence, to prepare most meals arbitrarily. Fresh cakes and biscuits were required every day for morning/afternoon tea, an extensive 14 bed herb and vegetable garden was established and maintained, any guest requests or whims were catered to. Alongside Tetsuya Wakuda, Mr Jones was the most generous and supportive employer I have ever worked for.
After meeting Jason Hughes and after our many discussions, it is a thrill to be working together on the Green Lane Kitchen project. Currently, some of Sydney’s finest restaurant experiences are effortlessly casual. We both seek to import this style of approachable, contemporary but behind the scenes heavily examined – bar/restaurant experience to the Southern Highlands.