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Chefs’ Secrets

Darren Robertson from Three Blue Ducks in Byron Bay, Steven Snow from Fins in Kingscliff and Takashi Yaguohi from Doma in Federal believe food cooked with love tastes better, and stress in the kitchen is unnecessary.

Cook. Surf. Love.

Susanna Freymark

How not to be a bastard in the kitchen

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has made a name for himself as an angry cook who swears and shouts in the kitchen.

Three of the shire’s top chefs prove it doesn’t have to be that way.

Darren Robertson from Three Blue Ducks in Byron Bay, Steven Snow from Fins in Kingscliff and Takashi Yaguohi from Doma in Federal believe food cooked with love tastes better, and stress in the kitchen is unnecessary. Surfing is one way all three chefs beat the stress.

Snow has cooked with Ramsay. ‘He’s an extremely rude bucket-mouth,’ were the kindest words Snow could find about the famous hot-headed chef.

Snow admits he used to be angry in the kitchen. ‘I learnt to meditate, stand on my head, do anything to stop manifesting into a horrible person because I was such a perfectionist,’ he says.

It worked, with surfing providing the greatest outlet of all. ‘No one is allowed to upset anyone in my kitchen,’ he says.

‘Right now, I have the best kitchen team. For two days we all went surfing at Cabarita Point. We really like each other. These guys are radical. It’s about respect. I never yell.’

Robertson reveals that he wasn’t the nicest chef in his younger years.

‘I’ve been a bastard. Sleep deprived from long hours. I don’t want to conduct a kitchen like that,’ Robertson says.

Now he values the life-work balance for himself and his staff.

‘I’m not a screamer in the kitchen,” Robertson says. ‘You have to be assertive though. You get more out of people by talking to them.’

Listening is one of the best skills for a chef, he says and after working with renowned chef Tetsuya for eight years, Robertson learnt to keep things simple.

He regularly surfs with his four business partners from The Farm.

Yaguohi has been a chef for 13 years and was lured from Japan to the Northern Rivers because he was keen to surf. The range of organic food in the area especially appealed to him.

‘In Japan, since the radiation, people care more about organics,’ Yaguohi says.

He has been running the Doma Cafe in Federal for three years after learning from Byron’s O Sushi owner Dan Regev who had a favourite saying — ‘Love is the best spice for food.’

‘When busy waitresses are always smiling, this is love. We all influence each other. I love to make people laugh and create a good mood in the kitchen,’ Yaguohi says.

‘I have to put love into the food.’

Now, who is going to tell Gordon Ramsay?


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