EGGING ON A STAR
by Sean Connolly, Sean's Kitchen.
I have loved caviar from the age of 18 from my days working on the QE2 when I was in charge of collecting 2 kilos of caviar everyday for 2 years. The ship had a third of the world’s caviar in its fridges. I use it at any opportunity, and between my 2 restaurants here at Star City Casino (Sean's Kitchen and Astral) we serve more caviar than any other restaurants in Australia.
Born? 1967 Huddersfield, UK.
Education? School of hard knocks.
Experience? Tons 27 years in the game.
Favourite cheap eat? Bodega rocks. It has to be the best thing to happen to Sydney dining in the last few years; great food, great concept and very cool.
What keeps you going? 3,2,1 three kids, 2 mortgages and one beautiful wife.
Advice to future chefs? Don’t loose the passion, dedicate your life to the art of cooking and the rewards will follow.
Favourite kitchen tool? Dehydrator ��" you can dehydrate almost anything from apple crisps to smoked eel powder, creating interesting textures that can be added to many dishes.
Most controversial menu item? Depends how you look at it. I am a great believer in not putting anything too shocking on the menu and don’t want anyone to feel challenged coming to the restaurant. At the moment we do have a Parmesan Crème Caramel on as the amuse bouche which has been a great hit; despite the unusual flavour pairing I have had lots of positive feed back about it.
Favourite thing about Sydney? My Australian children and the fantastic climate here.
Most useful cookbook? Mrs Beetons all about cookery’ book.
Early influences? My Grandmother Esther. She was a fabulous cook with a great sense of humour. I began baking cakes with her when I was nine years old.
How does it feel winning ‘Chef of the Year withSMH awards last year? This was an amazing award. It was a real honour and totally unexpected. The response has been fantastic. Dare I say life changing?
Career you would have pursued if you didn't become a chef? I have always like to paint so maybe an artist although I really enjoy renovating so may be a builder.
On molecular cookery?��"Warm jellies, flavoured powders, liquid nitrogen & the anti griddle.
Career turning point? 4 years ago when I began the culinary journey with Astral. A mission if you like to turn Astral into an international destination with good food and great service. We are still in pursuing the dream.
Favourite sport? Long distance running. Tthis is some thing I used to do 15 years ago. I managed to come in the top 1500 out of 44,000 in the City to Surf. I am slowly getting back into shape and hopefully I will be fit enough to run it again this year. I will be happy if I finish in the bottom 1500 this time.
Describe the diners at Sean's Kitchen? Mixed bunch but generally empty nesters, first timer tourists, young lovers and gaming patrons.
Countries traveled to recently and what you learnt? I travelled to San Fransisco, Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, London and Paris, and lucky enough to eat at some of the best restaurants on the planet. The chefs were very restrained as to what they put on the plate. Only the best produce available was used with simple techniques and presentation. It was the service that made the difference to a world class dining experience. You have to deliver both to make a difference.