In today’s age of the ‘Celebrity Chef’ what is it that sets one chef apart from another?
To sit down with Roy Ner, the talented young chef behind Sydney’s fresh Middle eastern restaurant and many other venues, and talk on the subject of his life-long passion for food, you begin to get a sense of what that difference might be. All the common elements are present - dedication, discipline and a commitment to freshness and seasonality bordering on fanaticism. But something else is evident in Roy’s approach, and that is a lightness, a sense of playfulness, that comes as a result of viewing his resources and techniques on-hand as ‘friends’.
“Its almost as if the dish creates itself. The food writes its own story. And if it’s not in season, it’s not on.”
“I feel like at Nour we are highlightingflavors trough a very old Middle Eastern story. 3000 years and a journey between many countries, old & new cities, cultures and ingredients all coming together through food. It’s great feeling being part of that”
Roy speaks with fervour about seasonality and the Middle Eastern as you would expect. His dishes are backed- up by meticulous up-to-the-minute research about all his suppliers and any factors that may impact on his produce, from climactic conditions to ocean currents. Roy makes extensive use of technology for this purpose, which means that he always has access to the best ingredients. His enthusiasm for great quality produce extends to his respect for the growers and producers. Roy sates;
“I want to be sourcing my ingredients from the be people, as close-by as possible. It’s all about the little guy. I want to do them justice.”
It goes without saying that the lightness of Roy’s approach is underpinned by years of hard work, learning technique at the very higher level - from the Cordon Bleu school of France to ARIA, one of Sydney’s busiest restaurants. It is also clear from Roy that not a single lesson was learned, and all of his experiences and the people he has met on his journey inform his approach today. This is particularly in evidence when Roy speaks of his mentors.
“My first chef taught me how to love food. This is the single most important thing to learn. My next chef taught me about how to run a business, cost, money. Precision. At ARIA, I have learned the old-school English & French approach and also a lot on Australian products.
But it’s important to realize that, in the end, you have to be YOU.”
It is a statement from a young, confident and inspired chef who is seizing the day with sophisticated, balanced and visually stunning food that excites and satisfiedin equal proportions. With his food we have access to the real middle eastern cuisine of a young chef coming into his own in the form of Roy Ner