Guys, I’m about to introduce you to someone pretty bloody special.
Everyone, meet Brendan Owens. Brendan is someone who’s work (read: brownies) is something I admire greatly (read: eat often). BUT, the man does more than a kick ass brownie.
I can’t stress to you enough how brilliant it is to have someone of this calibre kicking around town. I don’t know about you, but I like my sweets a little bit fun. What makes Brendan interesting is that he’s trained under the people who matter in the pastry scene, so he’s got all of those beautiful classic elements down, but he’s also kept a rough edge which keeps it from being boring.
I met Brendan during his tenure at The Flour Factory – if you follow me in Instagram, you saw me eating macarons and lemon curd tarts for breakfast most days. You can find him now at Rochelle Adonis in Highgate, creating dishes for what I’m pretty sure is a rite of passage for women of Perth – their signature (and incredible) high tea.
What I Love – Brendan Owens Edition
Who are you/what do you do?
My name is Brendan Owens, and I’m a pastry chef from Perth. I’ve worked at 2am Dessert Bar and 2am Lab in Singapore under Janice Wong, and more recently was the head pastry chef for Vue de Monde in Melbourne between 2012-2014. My previous record in Perth sits with The Weld Club for my apprenticeship, as well as Restaurant Amuse, Rochelle Adonis Cakes and Confections, and Mrs S Cafe.
Originally my stomping ground, but I had to leave. Otherwise, you will get stuck in the same routine and kitchens. The travel and experience of international and high-end kitchens are the only way to find out who and what you want to be behind the stoves. The Perth food scene has always been a little behind, but these days it has made a massive change and is finding its feet; becoming the city is should be, with the food and bar scene it needs. We have the best weather and lifestyle, so that also swayed the decision to come home.
What/who inspires you?
Depends on the day, really! I have a fair focus on street art, I like to randomly select colours and then attach flavours which end up on the testing table, adding additions like smoke, nitro and ice. Mentors are always having some form of inspiration and impact on style for me. As a rule, I want to work with the best in my field. These people are legends in their own right:
- Janice Wong from 2am Dessert Bar/Alinea
- Andres Lara
- Anthony Hart from Don’t Lose Your Temper/ex Vue executive pastry chef & Press Club/Alinea
- Rochelle Adonis
On a daily basis, I make something with their influence – kind of like the old angel/devil on each shoulder. Of course, there are other big players in the pastry world that I follow – Stupak, Underwood, Raquel, Khan, Campbell.
Your dream food day?
No truffles, caviar or anything wanky! It can vary, from being in Singapore, searching for the best chicken rice, to doing a pub crawl with Shannon Bennett and the lads from Modernist Cuisine and Chef Steps through Seattle, starting at 8pm and ending up at some pizza joint at 4am.
The best food day that I hardly remember though, was my leaving lunch from Vue de Monde. I was with 3 great friends, there was 15 courses, 20 wines, 16 negronis… Lunch started at 12:30pm, finished at 6pm, then we sat in the bar on those negronis with bar snacks, finally finishing up at 400 Gradi with 6 margherita pizzas.
What ingredient makes everything better?
What’s the best thing you ate recently?
An impromptu barbecue at a fellow chef’s house, consisting of dry aged wagu over bichutan charcoal and kipflers with bernaise… Totally bogan but done super classy. And beers.
Where do you love to go to eat?
For an amazing dinner: Clarkes of North Beach. Clarky does the food I love to eat, Wayne knows how to respect good wine and the rest of the team out there are pushing on, day in, day out. For a great pub: Wayside Inn, South Melbourne. Just good, honest pub food, a full restaurant with an empty bar. I didn’t get it when I went in there the first time, but I did when I left though. For a wonderful café: Mrs. S.
Where do you love to hang out?
Generally on a weekend, in the early morning I’ll be chasing a wave either in Perth or down south with the lads. Surfing is a past time and a lifestyle. Otherwise, Bunnings. For some reason, I always find myself there. Usually the sausage sizzle after the beach leads me to Bunnings, and then to the sprinkler aisle or something.
What’s your favourite thing right now?
MAPLE BACON + PRETZEL + SALTED CARAMEL DOUGHNUTS (Bri note: I tried one of these, and they were incredible. Worth being obsessed over!)
What are you looking forward to?
I have a couple of short trips lined up to Melbourne, Sydney, Singapore and Tokyo coming up, so they are playing quite heavily on my research for eating drinking and who I’m catching up with.