Bowral born, now Bondi bon vivant, chef Guy Turland (pictured above) has found a way to combine his love for the beach with his passion for food. Bondi Harvest is a cooking show that matches the prototypical Sydney beach bum lifestyle with fresh and diverse dishes. On a recent trip to New York, Billabout sat down with the surfer-chef hybrid in B_Space on Mulberry Street to chat about one of our favourite subjects – food.
How did you get into cooking?
My first job was with a restaurant that my dad built in Bowral, I was in year 9 or 10 (at high school). I slowly took on more kitchen jobs, like making garlic bread and cooking fish, it grew from there. Then I moved to Sydney straight after school and started my chef’s apprenticeship at Est doing 80 hour weeks; it was hard work but I loved it. From there I went to Icebergs in Bondi, so another fine dining restaurant and then to its sister restaurant, North Bondi Italian.
Do you come from a long line of chefs?
Not at all, my dad’s a builder and mum’s a professional marathon runner. My older brother was in hospitality and moved back to Bowral when a cafe came up for sale and he jumped on it. The parents wanted to get on board so our family crew took over.
Do you still own the cafe in Bowral?
Nah, we sold that and then got involved with Depot.
So is the whole family involved with Depot?
There are four siblings and everyone lives in Sydney now. Three of them work in Depot (the North Bondi café which Guy co-owns) and then my sister designs clothes for Alice McCall.
How did your cooking show, Bondi Harvest, come about?
I was approached by a friend of mine to do a different cooking concept but it didn’t work out. Then the producer, Mark Alston, the other half of Bondi Harvest, approached me with this idea. It’s based around my lucky life of living in the sun, surfing, cooking and philosophies about healthy food. It’s basically like Jamie Oliver meets a Corona ad; it doesn’t have to be hard to cook. Mark and I work really well together, he’s awesome behind the camera and we have a lot of fun.
What’s the reaction been so far to the show?
It’s been great. We’ve done 25 episodes with 15 released and we’ve had a lot of interest from production companies, Murdoch Books and we just signed a deal with an LA food channel aggregator. The end goal is TV, books – a complete empire would be nice! Restaurants, catering and all that sort of stuff.
We’ve heard you have quite a devoted female following?
We do! (Laughs) It’s funny, through YouTube you can go into your analytics and see who’s watching and from where, it’s amazing. I think Australia is our largest audience followed by the US and England; it’s like 75 percent women.
What’s your favourite dish to cook?
I love seafood. I do a lot of freediving and spearfishing in Bondi and I absolutely love lobster. I’d probably say slow poached lobster!
Yum! Any chance Bondi Harvest would set up some American digs?
Yeah, definitely, we just signed a contract with a company in LA. From the way they react to Curtis Stone I think America is a huge market for us. (Laughs)
What food trends have you noticed in the US that you think could work back home?
I’ve been blown away actually. I came over to America with the thought of unhealthy and deep-fried meals but its actually been the complete opposite. When we first arrived in New York the first place we went was Whole Foods where it was quinoa, grain and kale. It’s organic and healthy and would take off in Australia.
You’re all about organic?
Yeah, understanding where food comes from, where it goes, the whole circle.
By Charlotte Mortlock