Get to know two of the faces behind one of Sydney's most-adored restaurants Baba's Place. More than just a place to dine, Baba's Place sets about to explore the 'suburban' cuisine unique to Sydney's west created by a complex diaspora.
As part of our Artist Collection No.3, we collaborated with chef Jean-Paul El Tom and creative director Alex Kelly, to portray their recipe for Summer Tomatoes with Toum.
Firstly, what do you think makes Baba's Place so special?
A: This is a tough one to distill but I think if I had to give a short answer, I think it's 'honesty' and all that the word entails. We didn't hide the fact that we were new to this. We don't hide our story or our history and the confusion that brings. We try to be honest with ourselves and the customers that this is a growing, shifting and changing exploration of immigrant culture and the impact that's had on Suburban Sydney. All with the intention to put a voice and name to a Suburban cuisine we believe is unique to Australia.
Take us through an average day on your plate. What does breakfast/lunch/dinner/dessert look like for each of you?
A: Oh this changes day to day haha. Breakfast is usually a healthy smoothie. Lunch is either a tuna salad sandwich or leftovers. Dinner, we quite regularly make tacos with our tortilla press or some Malay inspired noodle dishes. And dessert, Yalla Dark Chocolate Mousse.
JP: This varies for me depending on the day ahead. Assuming a work day I will have a very light breakfast (green smoothie and coffee). I will go to work and look around for any fruit that has come from Sift Produce. Lunch will usually comprise of whatever is brewing in the kitchen (boiled potatoes and salt and olive oil and lemon). Dinner would occur around the midnight mark and would be a piece of AP bread sourdough with mayo tomato slices and heaps of pepper among other things. Also lots of kisses to my kitty cat Anchovy.
What is one of your happiest food memories?
A: My Baba making me chicken Schnitzel with a vegeta tinged crumb. Served with a side of ETA original BBQ sauce
What are some cookbooks you always turn to?
If we were to peer into your pantry and fridge, what are 5 things we would always find?
A: Belachan, Spinach, Leek, Coconut Water, Lao Gan Ma
JP: Maple syrup, Lemon, any hard goat cheese, Olive oil, Sourdough
What do you cook for the people you love?
A: Malay Chicken Curry or a Moussaka with a simple salad.
JP: steamed fish with garlic lemon and my dads olive oil. Plus any salad with similar dressing
Do you have a strange go-to midnight snack or weird food pairing that you love?
A: I love three olive dips and kettle salt and vinegar. Just whack me with the vinegar and salt and acidity you know
JP: Brie, turkey, and jam sandwhich with chips