NAME Jose’ Fernandez
CURRENTLY COOKING AT Meigas Spanish Restaurant, 33 Armstrong Street North, Ballarat, Victoria 3350 Open Tue-Wed 5pm-9pm, Thu-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 11am-3pm
TELEPHONE (03) 5331 9444
GLOBAL ORIGIN Galicia, Northern Spain
YEARS AT THE STOVE Twenty-something years
WORK HISTORY Jose’ worked from an early age in both the kitchen and the bar of his father's restaurant, Rio Mino, named for the main river where it was located in Venezuela. Jose’'s father owned and operated the five star restaurant for over thirty years.
WHAT THINGS ARE TRENDING ON YOUR CURRENT MENU? Seafood. Everything from prawns to octopus, a variety of fish, pippies, sardines and mussels.
BEST LOCAL INGREDIENTS Sebastian Jurcan's Country Style Smallgoods chorizo, morcilla, pancetta and serrano ham.
MOST MEMORABLE CHEF ANECDOTE For many years Jose’ resisted the urge to try the mushroom dishes prepared in his Father's restaurant as he was not attracted to mushrooms. It wasn't until he was at university in Spain that he eventually tried Spanish mushroom tapas and he loved it. He was dismayed that he had for many years not bothered to taste something so wonderful just because he did not initially care for their look. It made him realise how important it was to try as many new things as possible. Sometimes we have a preconceived idea about certain foods that prevent us from enjoying some potentially wonderful delights for our tastebuds. Since then Jose’ has been open to all new food experiences. It is the reason he likes to send out tasting plates to his patrons at Cafe Meigas, as quite often we will limit our choices to only the things we know, which means we may miss the opportunity to experience a wider range of gastronomic delights.
INFLUENCES Jose’ is entirely open to all kinds of food styles and genres. Never say no is his maxim.
POLYNESIAN? FRENCH? ASIAN? GOURMET JUNK FOOD OR MAYBE JUST GOOD STUFF COOKED WELL Jose’ loves Asian cuisine, all varieties. Despite his first attempt at cooking fried rice for friends, it was prepared with love but upon tasting all agreed it was not a great fried rice, more of a weird paella dish.
BOOKS YOU ARE READING, MAGAZINES YOU MUST HAVE Jose’ is not a fan of cook books, he finds the recipes are not genuine. Instead he prefers to go direct to the source, he cites his parents, brother, in laws and grandparents as his best source of inspiration. He also prefers to use internet forums over magazines, here he finds genuine food ideas either directly from the source or handed down from previous generations across all cultures.
FAVOURITE CURRY IN A HURRY Chicken Tikka Masala. His brother in law is Indian and states Jose’ makes the best version he has ever had.
WHAT IS SUMMER FOOD ALL ABOUT? Seafood platters and fresh salads. Sardines in a vinaigrette is also a summer favourite.
WHERE ARE YOU WORKING NOW? WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? We have only just commenced this fantastic adventure in Spanish cuisine in Ballarat, we are very excited about our future here at Cafe Meigas in Ballarat.
SECRET PANTRY STAPLES Quality olive oil, garlic and paprika.
FOOD PHILOSOPHY Obtain the freshest ingredients and keep the preparation as simple as possible.