Fanning the flames with Palermo head chef Ollie Gould

Palermo head chef, Ollie Gould. 

Palermo, sister restaurant to San Telmo, Pastuso and CHE, opened on Melbourne's Little Bourke Street last month. Foodservice sat down with head chef Ollie Gould to find out about the Argentinian BBQ-inspired venue and what he enjoys most about cooking over a fire pit.

Why did you want to become a chef?
Working through high school as a cook in a local restaurant exposed me at an early age to industry. The energy and thrill of a busy service and the comradely linked with my colleagues was enough to hook me in. The love of food came as I began to enjoy the creativity and personal development involved with being a chef.
 
What is your philosophy to food?
Respect for produce, passionate execution, and constant improvement.
  
What does success mean to you?
People enjoying your craft and communicating praise is the most rewarding aspect of cooking.
 
What piece advice from your training days do you still follow?
Work hard and fast, if there is nothing to do, find something to learn off the next person.
 
What have you enjoyed most so far about being the head chef of Palermo?
In recent years I’ve focused predominately on seafood, it’s great to branch out to a meat-focused restaurant to retrain myself and staff around me on the nuances of great, quality, Victorian meat.
 
What is your favourite dish to cook using the fire pit?
Western Plains suckling pigs are working a treat. 4-hour brine, cooked for 6 hours over ironbark and charcoal is delicious.
 
Over your career, how has the average Aussie diner's tastes changed and evolved?
Australia is going through a renaissance in dining, continuing to broaden the spectrum of diverse cuisines produced in traditional and simplistic ways. Fine dining chefs are slowly moving to develop their skills in similar approachable ways.
 
What do you predict are the next big trends in Australian dining?
Affordable food to attract regular patrons in our establishments. This would involve using secondary produce and cuts to find a price point perceived of value. Throw in some more native produce and an insect or two and you’ve got a viable business. 

For further information, please visit palermo.melbourne.