Flavour Over Fancy: An Interview with Kieran Day

by Kieran Day

Was there a particular moment you remember first wanting to become a chef?
I had always had an interest in cooking. I was playing music and working a crap job that I hated. When my band winded up I was kind of like "fuck it" and gave cooking a crack. I went and studied business as well and did up a business plan for the bishops.
Do you think your background in music and playing in bands has affected the way you run a business or the way you cook?
I guess I'm used to night-time action. Haha. I think playing in a band is awesome no matter how far you take it as it teaches you the art of communication, teamwork, restraint and passion, which are all applied to running a business. I can shred a chicken better than a guitar!
I really love the feel of The Stinking Bishops, how long did it take from when you signed the lease to when you opened the doors? Was it a difficult process getting it ready?
It took us about 5 months from signing the lease. Our landlord is awesome though, and helped us out with that period. We were very lucky with the council, everything went through pretty quickly. We were really organised though! I have heard plenty of horror stories!

"I can shred a chicken better than a guitar."

Do you think there’s some tips "great chefs" could give "great home cooks" about how to better cook for others, how to entertain, how to create a better experience all round?
I think the number one rule is to cook within your ability and comfort zone. If you are relaxed, your guest will be relaxed. There is nothing worse than a dinner party where someone tries to be Heston Blumenthal and it sucks and they are completely stressed out.
That’s really solid advice. Have you found yourself thinking you’re way out of your depth in the kitchen at certain points in your career?
Definitely at the first job I went for. I had no experience and was super nervous. I was surrounded by awesome chefs and it was really intimidating. After the first 80hr week you kind of get over that though.
How would you describe your style of cooking?
Pretty rustic I guess. Flavour over fancy, but with good presentation of course.
At The Stinking Bishops you take your cheese very seriously. Are you the resident cheese expert or do you have help?
We sure do! We are all about the stuff. Myself and Jamie (my business partner) taste and test cheese on a regular basis to ensure that we have interesting and obscure stuff on our list.
How does your cooking at home differ from cooking at the restaurant?
Generally quick and easy as I'm not at home that often. We almost always have a side of raw stuff such as beans, broccoli etc. We usually end up eating out as it's our favourite thing to do. We try and have a roast every Sunday though. This includes all the trimmings! Yorkshire puddings and all.
That sounds amazing! Where do you like to eat out in Sydney?
Favs would be Hartsyard, Berta, Marigold and Frangos chicken.
What else do you enjoy outside of cooking and the restaurant?
Playing guitar, watching Tele, hanging with my wife, hanging with my friends, eating.
Enmore has a great energy at the moment. Can you feel it? What’s your take on it?
Yeah... Everyone is saying that... I think it's going to see big changes in the next year with other restaurants and bars opening. We have a really loyal local customer base as well as loads of new faces which is great, as it makes enmore feel like a heavily populated country town.
Do you consume any food related media, tv shows, blogs etc ? If so, can you share some favourites?
I really love Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, as well as Rick Stein. Any of their books and shows are always enjoyable. I love to read over Time Out and Gourmet Traveller.
Can you see yourself in a River Cottage one day, growing your own veggies, raising your own livestock?
It's my dream. I would absolutely love to. I think it would be harder in Australia than in the UK due to the distance between towns etc. Maybe one day. Who knows what the future holds hey!
Kieran has 5 Recipes available on Nourish:
Pickled Mussels
Smoked Fish, Scallop and Cheddar Pie
Chocolate, Hazelnut, Yoghurt and Olive Oil Cake
Smokey Steak Tartare w/ Chipotle Mayo & Charred Sourdough
Heirloom Tomato, Sheeps Milk Labneh, Broadbean and Mint Salad

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About the Author

Kieran Day

Kieran is the head chef and co-owner of The Stinking Bishops in Newtown, Sydney. The Stinking Bishops is a specialty cheese shop, bar and restaurant serving up wholesome British & European inspired dishes, alongside cheese and cured meat boards. "I have a passion for simple, uncomplicated... Read Full Bio

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