On the Pass: Jacqui Challinor, Nomad

Author: Samantha Teague
Photography: Ben Hansen

Nomad's head chef Jacqui Challinor talks us through the current menu at the Surry Hills restaurant as well as her favourite go-to light dish.

What's the food all about at Nomad, Jacqui?

We try to do as much as we can in-house: we bake our own bread and we make all of our own charcuterie. My mum is Maltese so I grew up with Mediterranean-style food and flavours and that's where most of my inspiration comes from in the kitchen. It's pretty simple and stripped back, with a focus on wood-firing and char-grilling.

Related: Nomad review

Why does Nomad butcher, bake and cure in-house?

From a cost point of view, it's a lot more effective to buy a whole pig, break it down and try to use every single part of it. Second, it's a great learning experience. The same goes for the bread. It gives you the opportunity to create an individual product that no one else has, and hopefully that's a reason why people come to Nomad.

Do you have a favourite summer ingredient?

Cherries. I've been working on a white chocolate and cherry pavlova, and we made a batch of fresh pork sausages that I'm going to serve with pickled cherries.

How do you reboot after the festive season?

It's so hard as a chef, working the hours that you do, to focus on your health. I find the easiest way to give myself a bit of a kick-start is fresh juices. I always go for celery, apple, silverbeet, greens, parsley and more greens.

What's your go-to clean and light dish?

I love nice raw fish with a few greens. I love kingfish and ocean trout thinly sliced with a bit of fresh citrus. It's an easy way to do something light and tasty for summer.

In the spirit of Chinese New Year, what's your favourite Chinese restaurant in Sydney?

Every chef is going to tell you Golden Century. I get the pipis with XO sauce and you have to get the fried bread and the fried noodles. It's not one or the other; you have to go for both.

Nomad, 16 Foster St, Surry Hills, NSW, (02) 9280 3395, nomadwine.com.au

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