Paul Cooper, the head chef and nose-to-tail die hard at Surry Hills’ Bishop Sessa restaurant, shares his snapshots and thoughts. In the first of a series on chefs using Instagram, we scroll through our favorite chef shots.
As social media allows chefs to don iPhones as part of their professional artillery and open the virtual swinging doors to their kitchens, Instagram has become the ultimate insider’s guide. Paul Cooper’s Instagram pictures reveal the chefs’ passion for nose-to-tail, using the whole beast, and knowing exactly where it’s come from and what it’s eaten. (There’s a run-through of each image below the jump).
What’s the best thing about Instagram?
Instagram allows us to show many aspects of life in a kitchen, and a little of how a product evolves into a plated dish. This is important to me, as it shows that we really do utilise the whole beast in a smart and interesting way. It is one thing to say you enjoy nose to tail butchery, but another to be creative enough to use an entire side of Wagyu, pork or venison
Is Instagram a creative outlet or a visual journal for you?
Instagram allows us to show another creative aspect to ourselves through photography, and also the comments box. It is certainly a fun form of social media that allows us to showcase what happens in the kitchen, and hopefully educate people along the way.
How important is food’s provenance?
Knowing where your produce comes from is something that is extremely important to me. I spend a lot of time sourcing products, and am always looking to find farmers and producers who believe in ethical, humane and sustainable practices. If the farmer or producer has respect for the product they are producing, be it vegetable, beef, pork, lamb or seafood, then we as chefs need to show an equal amount of respect. I think it is important to our customers to know what and where their meal comes form, and that it has been treated with respect from the paddock to the plate.
What comes first, the new dish or the produce?
A menu needs balance, so I quite often find myself in both situations. You sometimes find a product and say, “wow, that has to go on the menu straight away”. But it creates an unbalanced menu, so you are forced to change other elements to bring back that level of balance.
Is the concept of locally-sourced produce and “growing your own” a beat up?
Absolutely not. Supporting local producers is supporting the local community. Buying local products is about knowing what you’re eating. If you’re in doubt over its location, then there is no guarantee over its quality. I like to be able to talk to the producer, and discuss what is happening on their farm, and why certain things happen at differing times of the year. It brings a greater awareness to me, which I can pass on to our customers.