In recent years I’ve had an obsession with American BBQ and smoked meats since working in smoke house in London, and have an equally strong attachment to Portuguese food, ever since I was introduced to it it by my Portuguese wife. The simplicity of the cuisine was my main draw. Both American BBQ and Portuguese food have a unique flair to them so I thought… why not combine them? Smoked meats don’t just have to be served with BBQ sauce, slaw and corn bread.
I was born and raised in Adelaide, Australia. I moved to Melbourne when I was 20 and it was here I discovered my love for cooking.
We never had a lot of money when I was growing up so a lot of my early food memories are of mince meat and rice disguised in different forms… there’s not many. When I was a teenager my Mum used to buy packets of sliced cured meats, different cheeses and fresh breads for us to have on shopping day. She’d set it up on a board and we’d all eat together, Mum, my 2 brothers and myself. It wasn’t much but it was her way of getting us to try new things.
After moving back from Portugal, my wife and I were living and working in London. But we decided to move to Brighton when we found out she was pregnant. It seemed like a better idea to raise a family near the beach where the restaurant scene was almost as good as London but not as cut throat.
After being at The Urchin for almost two years, I realised I’d hit the ceiling and there was no where else to go. So I thought, why not try doing a little side hustle and see where it goes. We did the first pop up in Feb of 2020 not really knowing what we wanted to do or how to do it, but it was fun. Then lockdown hit. That gave us a chance to look at what we were doing and what could work better. With each pop up we do, it seems to take its own direction letting the venues shape the image of the night. We did a larger scale pop up at The Grounds @ Platf9rm where we did small plates called petiscos, suitable for sharing whilst drinking. We’ve done a supper club at Platf9rm’s The Penthouse suite and more recently we’ve been doing street food style food at Level 1, BRZN Arms and Hand Brew Co.
Apart from cooking and my family, the main thing I do outside of work is go to the gym. I’ve been training for a few years now and I still love it. It also stops me getting fat from over indulging with food.
One of my sous chefs when I was an apprentice. He was always chilled, joking and extremely crude. He used to draw cocks on everything, labels, prep lists, hidden in cupboards was always hilarious. Or hard boil your service eggs so when you were busy needing a raw egg to use and having none available. I still use his jokes and mannerisms today. One day, during the pride parade in Melbourne he stood in the crowd wearing nothing but his apron and birkies… what a character. RIP Trouta.
When working at a reputable steak house in London, I’d be unfortunately rota’d onto doubles over the Valentine’s Day weekend. Needless to say it was epic and crazy. So much so that I’d worn the skin down on my feet so much, they were bleeding. I was hobbling around at work… my nickname that weekend was penguin.
My career low was deciding to leave a reputable seafood restaurant after only two months. I felt like I’d failed as a chef and a leader. I wondered for months afterwards if only I’d stuck it out for a bit longer it might have got better, easier. But looking back now I can see it would have been pointless to push on with a company who’s ideals and work ethics don’t match up with my own. If I was gonna make it there, I would have need to become someone I’m not… an arsehole. I’ve always believed in treating staff and colleagues with respect and in turn, they do the same.
I can never go past a Papa John’s pizza. Bee Sting Bites with their special garlic sauce… The main reason I train so much.
I am also a qualified personal trainer but could never make the leap into the industry because of the wage sacrifice. But if money wasn’t a problem then definitely personal training and nutrition.
I think supper club style dinners will start to take off, where you go to someone’s house and feed them and a group of their friends. No need to book a table of worry about service or a noisy restaurant as it’s your own house.
I’d love to have a little wine bar, mainly chairs around a long bar with a few small tables serving small sharing petiscos, good wine (vinho verde) and good beer.
I think everyone needs to know how to make a good Napolitana sauce. It’s so versatile and useful in many forms – either a pasta sauce, meat sauce, braising sauce, the list goes on.
Either in my Portuguese cook books, watching documentaries about American BBQ or from trying out new smoke house restaurants.
There have been so many but one that stands out was the first time I tried Smokestak in London. Brisket was made for smoking and only smoking. So simple, so mind-blowingly delicious.
The Little Fish Market – it’s a Brighton icon and I’m still very much in love with fish and seafood, so would be amazing to try.
Due South – I’ve been eager to try out what Mark has built up there, and seeing as everything is cooked over coals and fire it’s very much up my alley.
Bincho Yakitori – another Brighton icon and I’ve never heard a bad review of.
Going outside of Brighton, I really want to go to the classic American BBQ places – Franklin’s BBQ, Snows BBQ, Rodney Scott’s BBQ.
Published: 9th August 2022