Here are a few things you may not know about our award-winning Executive Chef…
Being the multicultural society that we are, Sydney’s streets are filled with a variety of stories and pedigrees that range from families who boast a long-line of financiers, military backgrounds, first and second generation migrants, to survivors, and sea-changers.
And our Executive Chef Brad Sloane, Australian Hotels Association Chef of the Year for 2012, knows all about the menagerie of culture that unites to create modern Australia – an all-encompassing flavour palate that he embraces in every dish served at Verandah.
Sloane also knows about the importance of pedigree. Not only has he made a name for himself during his 20-year tenure as Sydney’s ‘gastropub guru’, he’s cut his proverbial teeth in some of the world’s most prestigious kitchens, along with the world’s toughest – The Belvedere under Hell’s Kitchen’s Marco Pierre White.
“My time with Marco was a very challenging time in my career because of the long hours, demands and all the screaming,” he says. “But I learned so much about food from Marco – from the use of quality produce, to learning about striving for perfection with every dish.”
“Modern Australia incorporates a bit of everything and doesn’t hinge on one style of food,” he says. “There’s so many influences and cultures around us that really add a wealth of flavour to our food experience over here.”
Nonetheless, while the enfant terrible of cuisine taught Sloane a thing or two about kitchen ethics, it’s the long line of ‘chefdom’ in his family that taught him his love for food. His grandfather, who grew up in the Asti region of Torino in Italy, had five brothers who were all chefs.
“I grew up with an Italian grandfather and an English grandmother who had a big veggie garden in the backyard and our lives seemed to revolve around food,” Sloane says. “Naturally, that environment, along with the family background, played a large hand in inspiring me to become a chef.”
This rich Italian heritage makes a subtle appearance in some of his dishes at Verandah Bar, such as his signature Nettle Gnocchi which features tantalising taste layers — sautéed mushrooms, potato and pecorino foam, and a tartan crumb — nestled on a bed of stinging nettle-spiked gnocchi.
“The use of nettle is my nod to native Australia which, I feel, should receive more prominence in modern Australian cooking and the gnocchi is a strong Italian family-favourite,” Sloane says. “Both elements create a dish that not only hits all the flavour and texture points that a dish should but one that really showcases my heritage.”
There’s also a strong reverence towards land and produce which is apparent in his waste-not-want-not approach to proteins, and his respectable nod to sustainable eating.
“My family always said that a chef’s technique is shown through the use of secondary cuts complimented by what he can forage off of the land,” he says. “Anyone can make a prime cut taste good but it’s the cuts that make you work for it that can really shine under the hands of a skilled chef.”
With that, Sloane not only strives to deliver modern Australian cuisine at Verandah but hopes to become part of modern Australia’s story itself – someone, who through the use of cooking, is all-embracing, open to new experiences, and tells the story of the people who made it possible to enjoy life’s small pleasures in our sunburnt country.
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