What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?
My Aunt used to run a rotisserie chicken shop in Dartmouth, England. I remember being fascinated that the chickens were spinning around in the oven to be cooked.
What would you say has inspired your cooking the most?
Being down here in Australia has really inspired me, there are less rules and chefs are pushing more with their food.
Describe your culinary style…
Pared back, no unnecessary elements on a plate.
Can you tell us which chefs you trained under and what you learnt?
I trained under, Sat Bains, Rene Redzepi, Paul Cunningham and Christophe Aribert. I learnt from all of them never to settle for any thing less than the best. I still look at Paul as a big inspiration, what he is doing at Henne looks absolutely incredible. He is the happiest looking chef I know right now.
What kind of experience do you want to give guests at Restaurant Ikarus during your chef takeover?
I hope that they have an enjoyable experience obviously but I also want them to be a little challenged, our food is quite forward and not very obvious in it’s flavour combinations. To use a quote from one of my old bosses, ‘it’s not just beef and bearnaise’.
How did you devise the menu and where did you get your inspiration from?
We work as a team on the menu, me and my 2 sous chefs, who are now in other restaurants too, we took our inspiration from all over. Our artichioke dessert is inspired by my last holiday in Tuscany, the sunflower fields at the bottom of the hill where we were staying, they always made me smile.
What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?
The reaction to our restaurant in Australia was pretty memorable. To go from nowhere to achieve all that we did in such a short time was incredible.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out a career in the world of food?
Just go for it, all the things that you want to do, be it go to France and stage, or get a job in London just do it.
What’s next for you?
I’m working for a group called Merivale in Sydney as executive chef for 4 venues they are opening late 2015/early 2016 in Paddington, a very different operation for me which is a big challenge that I’m looking forward to.
What restaurant is currently at the top of your list to dine at?
I have a few on the list, Maaemo in Oslo, Henne Kirkby Kro, Denmark and Semilla in New York.
Find out more information about Ben Greeno and Restaurant Ikarus here |www.hangar-7.com