Jordan Brogan started his career in the naughties, splitting his apprenticeship between Sydney's Sofitel Wentworth, and the famous Baroque Bistro located in Sydney's historic 'The Rocks' district. He has spent over a decade honing his craft and working his way up the ranks to his current position now as Head Chef at the 'Alibi Bar and Kitchen' at the Ovolo Hotel, Woolloomooloo.
At the Alibi Bar and Kitchen, Jordan has collaborated with the renowned US plant-based pioneer, Matthew Kenny to produce something special. Jordan's cool and calm approach to the kitchen facilitates the development of new forms of dining, that have a common theme of challenging preconceived ideas of that which is 'the culinary experience'.
Despite his innovative approach, Jordan continues to be inspired by traditional flavors and primal techniques, motivated at heart by the ability of food to create powerful memories through sensory connections.
How do you define your food?
In a word, playful. I love trying things that I have not done before. That's how my journey as a chef evolved from a steakhouse to Australia's first plant-based hotel restaurant, Alibi. When I create, I always go for taste first. You can make almost any dish look appealing, and it is important as we eat with our eyes first, but taste and flavor is the priority.
How do you keep people coming back?
Consistency. With there being so many places out there doing the same thing, especially now, you need to make sure you are delivering the same delicious product repeatedly -- you can't hide on social media! You need to be able to put your money where your mouth is and deliver what you're advertising. If you say you've got the best of something, it needs to be the best, otherwise people won't be back.
What are the challenges of being a chef today?
One of the hardest things for me, before Covid-19 and I believe will be after, is finding chefs who are willing to put in the long hours and hard work. It is common knowledge that when you start as a chef, you definitely don't do it for the money. You really must be passionate about not just cooking but the whole hospitality industry.
What do you think would be the next big thing in the culinary world post-Covid19?
This is a tricky one. There will be even more people who will want to know more about where their food is coming from. Veganism will continue to trend on account of sustainability, but I also believe peoples newfound love of cooking at home, will continue. When restaurants re-open, there will initially be a rush of people wanting to go out of their house and support local businesses. However, long term, now that people have had a taste of putting their culinary skills to the test, and the rise in market boxes and meal kits, more people will be dining at home. It'll be hard for restaurants to survive.
What's your advice for someone looking to become a successful chef?
Make sure passion is your number one driver. Many people love cooking at home or showing off on the BBQ, but life in a commercial kitchen is very different. It's hard and fast, you get cuts, burnt, yelled at - it's definitely not for the faint of heart. However, with hard work it's an extremely rewarding job, seeing the look on peoples faces when they are loving your food, there is nothing like it.