Who is Steve Jacomos: I am the executive chef of The Inn, Wakefield’s Bar & Wine and Edgar’s Inn.
Best recent dining experience: Our neighbours at Pilot Restaurant. I think they’re ahead of the game in Australia. Their food is minimal yet progressive and delicious! It reminds me of a meal I had at Lyles in Shoreditch, London, which was Michelin-starred and currently in the top 50.
Favourite cuisine: Definitely French cuisine. This is simply because I was classically trained and have worked under Michelin-starred and hatted classic French chefs my whole career. I believe it provides the basis of all good cooking.
Most embarrassing pantry item: Probably packet noodles … of many varieties, too. I have Mi Goreng, Nissin Ramen, Two Minute noodles and Maggi Masala just sitting there.
What ingredient can I not live without: I can’t live without good quality flaky sea salts like Olson’s, Murray River and Maldon. It’s an obvious choice, I know, but the importance of salt and seasoning correctly cannot be underestimated. Salt draws out the natural flavour of the ingredient and life would be pretty bland without it!
Next big thing in the Canberra food scene: It’s already pretty big, but I think providing experiences while dining will become even more crucial. Most nights in Wakefield’s you can immerse yourself in live music or catch a burlesque show, all while enjoying a great meal.
Favourite place for lunch in the ACT: I love Pavilion Dining at Pialligo Estate. It’s the perfect place to be with my family on a Sunday afternoon. There’s also plenty of room outside for the kids to run around and play while enjoying a nice meal.
My go-to coffee spot in Canberra: I love Two Before Ten in Aranda. It’s right around the corner from where I drop my kids for daycare, which is super convenient, plus the coffee is just fantastic. I love that they also have a garden on site and are big on sustainable practices.
A must-try on our menu: On The Inn’s menu, our go-to winter dish is hands down the slow-braised short rib with soy caramel and smoked mash potato. It has already become a feature of the restaurant and is sure to make a return every winter. It’s simple, classic and hearty food, which is what we’re all about at The Inn.
Biggest culinary influence: My biggest culinary influence would be Jeff Galvin. He is a firm but fair leader that taught how the ingredients always come first. He said: “If we source great quality ingredients, Steve, our job is to simply not F it up.” That line will stick with me forever.
Favourite cookbook: I would say my favourite cookbook is White Heat by Marco Pierre White. It was published in 1990, before my time, but it was and still is inspirational for many up-and-comers. So many young chefs have had greasy, dirty, spoiled versions of this book handed down to them.
This is followed closely by Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain, which has also inspired many young cooks for telling kitchen life as it truly is. These are the first two books I give any chef that walks into my kitchen.
Who I admire in the Canberra food and wine scene: I admire Sean McConnell at Rebel Rebel. He creates simple flavours that are cooked well with no fuss, and he’s got an interesting wine list.
What’s the special of the week at The Inn?: This week we have our 1.4 kg Riverine tomahawk with bordelaise sauce and caramelised shallot tarte tatin – you might need to bring a small crowd to eat it.
Where am I travelling to next: I will be heading to Fiji with my family. It’s all booked in and I can’t wait! I’m looking forward to my mid-winter tan … although I’ll come back most likely looking like a cooked lobster.
Death row meal: I’d probably say a good shepherd’s pie – it’s a fulfilling and timeless classic.
My least favourite food: I can’t stand Marmite and Vegemite. I’m just not a fan!
COVID-19 response: I think that the sooner we stop mentioning it, the better.
My three recipe tips:
- Taste, taste and taste again
- Seasoning is a true skill. Season with salt throughout the cooking process, not just at the end. Also, freshly cracked pepper is best used at the end of the cooking process.
- A recipe is a guideline not a bible, don’t be afraid to play around. Cooking should be fun, after all!
Edgar’s Inn is open Sunday to Thursday from 7 am to 11 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 7 am to 11:30 pm.
The Inn is open Tuesday to Saturday, from 5:30 pm till late.
Wakefield’s Bar and Dining is open Wednesday to Saturday, 5 pm till late.
They are located at 1 Edgar Street in Ainslie.