2 minutes with Jerry Mai
Restaurant: Pho Nom
Tell us about the moment you realised you wanted to be a chef?
I still haven’t decided yet! I started in hospitality as a waitress, one day I was asked to help the kitchen and I have been in the kitchen since then. I grew up surrounded with family and food and it just clicked and made sense when I started working in the kitchen that cooking is what I really love doing.
How did the decision come about to leave fine-dining restaurants and open up a casual pho joint or two?
I was very lucky to have worked in some great restaurants with great quality produce working closely with farmers and producers. I wanted to bring eating free range and ethically at a more ground level accessibility to everyday customers, making them aware that they can afford to eat produce that is free range and ethically produced
Why is it important to you to source produce from ethical suppliers only?
There is so much rubbish in the market at the moment between produce that lacks flavour, food production that causes huge environmental problems and food that has a huge carbon footprint. We do what we can to support local farmers and buy from ethical producers as much as possible. We deserve to eat well, not just in fine dining restaurants and not compromise on tasty ethical food!
What's the biggest challenge for you in owning your own business?
There are 2 things I struggle with…
1. Find the farmers that can produce the quantities of what we need.
2. Staff! Where have all hospitality staff gone?!
You can follow Jerry on Instagram @jerrymai78