THE ROTA ARCHIVE

JERRY MAI - THE CHEF

"A GLASS OF RED WINE AND INSTANT NOODLES"

Follow Jerry on Instagram @jerrymai78

1. What was your first job in hospitality?

My first job was a waitress job in an Italian Restaurant in Melbourne. I very quickly learnt that waitressing was not my gig!

2. What is your favourite cuisine to eat - preferably the opposite to what you work in?

I would have to say the spicy flavours of Thai and comforting flavours of Chinese food.

3. Which dish do you most associate with childhood?

My childhood dish is braised pork belly in young coconut juice and boiled eggs. This dish is traditionally cooked during the Tet festival as an offering to the ancestors, but Mum also cooks it throughout the year. Nothing better then a hot bowl of rice with some pork belly and egg on it, also the sauce drizzled over the rice. Making me hungry!      

4. What’s the soundtrack to your first love?

I can’t remember.

5. What do you crave after a long shift?

A glass of wine and instant noodles

6. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – what do you have? 

An espresso, followed by soy latte.

7. What is your favourite word?

Push push!

8. If you could go on a culinary extravaganza-eating holiday – where would you choose to do so?

There are so many countries! I would have to say Thailand, the flavours and techniques vary from region to region. There is so much love and tradition in their food.

9. All at the same time or coursed out?

Coursed out gives you time to appreciate each dish and the food doesn’t go cold

10. What is the one area of working in a restaurant you wish you knew more of?

The office, I’m not very good with computers and emails.

11. What is the best cure for a hangover?

A big bowl of Pho.

12. You’re allowed one shift drink – what is it?

A glass of red preferably from the Heathcote region in Victoria, Australia.

13. What is the one thing which guests do that drives you mad?

When they want something for nothing. Don’t they understand that it will cost us extra to put extras on the plate.

14. Do you have any rituals during a shift?

Have a good laugh with the staff before we get slaughtered! Makes service a little easier.

15. What’s the last film you saw?

Fast and Furious 7. Cars and hot girls.

16. Best thing that has ever happened to you in a restaurant? 

Working at Nahm in London. I got yelled at by David Thompson and it made me pull my head in!

17. What’s your tagline/motto?

I don’t think I have one.

18. Photography while eating – yay or nay?

I want to say no, but I find myself doing it.

19. Rank the following in order of priority: wine, food, sex

I think I should say sex, food ,wine but it might actually be food, wine, sex.

20. What would be your last meal – drinks included.

Suckling pig from Lang Nuong Nam Bo in Saigon, Vietnam.

21. What makes you happy?

Working in my garden.

22. How do you relax?

Long drives into the country.

23. What is the background on your phone?

A bowl of Pho.

24. Favourite Instagram accounts to follow 

@vietnamesegod

@little_meg_siu_meg

25. What is the best thing about working in hospitality? 

As a chef sharing my heritage and culture on a plate.

26. Which restaurant are you ashamed to NOT have eaten at?

Fat Duck when I lived in London.

27. Who is the person you most respect in the industry?

The man that yelled at me and made me pull my head in, David Thompson.

28. What is your go to party trick?

I don’t have one.

29. Finish this sentence: I eat everything except ...

Dogs! I draw the line!