New-Zealand born chef Jethro Vincent is the creative culinary brains behind all the venues in the 8 degrees projects group, the team behind Seminyak’s famed Sisterfields, Bossman, Expat Roasters and Bikini. We talked about Bali, Asian food and dumplings!
1. What food should everyone try at least once in their lives?
– Anything that would push your boundaries: crickets, frog legs, tongue, snake. That and truffle dumplings. Everyone should at least try truffle dumplings once in their lives.
2. Jethro dreams of?
– Food. Sometimes I will wake up and the first thought will be something about food. Not so much food that I would like to eat, but more so food that I want to create. Inspiration for new dishes.
3. Favorite eating spot
– I’m a sucker for Yum Cha; Chinese dumplings. It would be between Feyloon, Happy Chappy and Paradise Dynasty. Back in Wellington my wife Judy and I used to live above a Yum Cha. We would eat Yum Cha every single Sunday. Bbq duck, pork belly, kaolin, chili oil, soy sauce, black vinegar. Everything about dumplings. Now I’m talking about it, I’m going to order dumplings for lunch.
4. Favorite food memory
– Growing up, we used to go to my grandparents house. My grandfather, who is South African, would cook a braai, which is a South African barbecue. I remember him having home-brewed beer in hand whilst turning the meat, the beer bread being baked in the oven, the meter long ‘boerewors’ (sausage) sizzling on the barbecue. I had to hand-round the chip bowl, which meant I could eat as I went around. This brings back good memories.
5. Food you cannot live without
Dumplings, period. Otherwise it would be Asian food. If I would have to choose between sushi and a steak, it would be sushi. If I would have to choose between dumplings and pasta, it would be dumplings. Asian food in general is just really high on my list.
6. If Bali were to be a food, what would that be?
– Bali would be a fruit. Light and bright, sweet and sour. This matches the good and bad experiences Bali can bring you. It definitely wouldn’t be a dull average flavour. Bali is exciting, flavoursome. Vibrant is probably the right word. And who can live without fruit? You have got to have fruit in your diet!
7. Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party (dead or alive, in your fantasy)
– It wouldn’t be Gandhi or Mohammed Ali. It wouldn’t be a rockstar. If Jay Z or Beyonce would rock in the door I would be like “oh shit”, but I wouldn’t choose them as my ultimate. All I can think of now are chefs. Ultimately it would be any of the chefs from the top 50 in the world. Having someone with such a wealth of knowledge and experience comment on my food, and that they would enjoy it, that would be a career highlight. That, or my grand parents. All my grand parents. They would never get to see this.
8. Favorite tunes to play while cooking in the kitchen?
– Honestly, I don’t listen to music whilst working in the kitchen. If I were to listen to music, it would be hip hop.
9. Who are your heroes?
– I would have to say my wife, my old chef and my parents. My wife because she is my best friend, and she is an amazing wife and mother of our two beautiful girls. James Stapley, my old chef, because the two years I spent with him changed everything in terms of how I looked at- and thought about food. The working relationship we had was a key turning point in my career as a chef. Last but not least my parents because they never stopped supporting me and encouraging me, whichever choices I made.
10. What’s on your Bali bucket list?
– I would love to explore more of the archipelago of Indonesia. Not necessarily a Bali bucket list, but I would like to think a bit bigger than that.