A SPECIAL sensation washes over you after slaving away in the kitchen for 12 hours and then having the customer eating your meal remark, ‘it’s amazing!’ says Perth young-gun chef Sam Ward.
The New Zealand-born 23-year-old, of European hotspot Cantina 663 on Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley, is set to become head chef at eagerly anticipated Mexican eatery El Publico, also on the popular dining and retail strip, next month.
The Weekly chatted to the affable youngster before he jetted off to the land of tacos and tequila on a three-week tour of cooking, eating and no doubt sampling a few margaritas.
“It’s a chance to get a taste for real Mexican food and the way people there dine, how they approach food and the philosophy behind it,” Ward said.
We were keen to hear what lay in store for punters of the forthcoming venture, owned by the guys behind Cantina 663 and eco-friendly Perth eatery Greenhouse.
“It will be different to La Cholita (recently-opened Mexico bar and bistro on William Street in Northbridge); we’ll be focusing on dishes people don’t regard as Mexican but which are, such as green chorizo,” Ward said.
“Normal chorizo is your pork, paprika and spice but this one is filled with herbs and green chillies and when cooked becomes bright green.
“We’ve planted our own organic gardens up past Yanchep and there’s quite a large car park out the back of the restaurant where I’ll be planting chillies.”
Ward shared his thoughts on the Mexican phenomena sweeping over the city.
“When I came to Perth in July last year it was all about Spanish fare and now it’s Mexican. The popularity has a lot to do with the social way of eating it – you can share servings, drink together and have a good time,” he said.
The talented foodie – who planned to come to Perth for just six months – aspired to be a chef since age 12.
“I did cooking all through high-school and scored really good marks and then I got a job in a hotel in Christchurch,” said the young chef, who loves the creative side of the business and getting paid to do work he loves.