Food Wine Produce
27/12/2019
A CHAT WITH OUR FOOD, WINE & DINING EXPERTS , David Wilson, chef — 38 South Café and Bar, 131 Nepean Highway, Seaford

What makes 38 South Café and Bar’s food stand out from the crowd?
The first thing everyone mentions about our food here at 38 South is the colour and presentation of the dishes, which I personally love playing around with. We always try to give people choice stemming from our basics, especially with our weekly specials.

Where and when did you start cheffing?
I began cooking commercially when I was 10 years old. My dad has an American Navy background and is a qualified chef. He had his own restaurant called The Drugstore Café Bar in Sydney and trained all his seven sons — of which I am the youngest — in cooking. I became a qualified chef at 14 and travelled throughout Asia studying Asian cuisine until I was 18 years old. I have certificates in all styles of Asian cookery. Then I travelled and worked as a head chef consultant in Madrid, El Salvador, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Germany and France for 12 months and at the age of 20 was employed as the regional executive chef at Planet Hollywood in Sydney. Since then I have worked in restaurants and cafes across Australia

You serve modern Australian cuisine. What does that mean?
To us, modern Australian cuisine relies on locally sourced produce as an excellent base for new takes on traditional dishes as well as fusions with other cultures.

Do you have any favourite flavours at the moment?
I currently enjoy pushing boundaries with sweet and savoury combinations. But besides that, I thrive on keeping a wide flavour profile where nothing tastes the same.

Tell our readers about your vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Starting at our cake cabinet, there is something for everyone whether it is gluten-free, vegan or vegetarian. Our summer menu provides a variety of vegan and gluten-free options and I am always open to any requests from our vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian customers, who we aim to please.

We hear you’re the go-to place in Seaford for special occasions. What does an event spread look like at 38 South? 
We cater for private functions, tapas, sit-down and stand-up menus. We welcome any type of private event and tailor and create packages to suit the occasion. A typical sit-down function includes a selection of house-made dips with house-made flatbread, salt and pepper dusted calamari, eggplant chips with gorgonzola and organic honey, and peking duck tacos amongst other tastings. A trio cheese platter and warm sticky date and rum pudding tops off the event.

You make your own pastries daily. Tell us about the process and when does the baking begin?
I come in at 5am every morning and prepare up to 21 varieties of cakes, pastries and giant muffins. The owner, Jim, comes in early to arrange the cabinet with an impressive eye for presentation. We tag team on this one because we bake fresh every day since the cabinet never stays full for long.

And finally, what’s your go-to meal at the end of the day when all the punters have gone home?
It might sound boring but there’s no food in the world that makes me happier than a bowl of strawberry ice-cream at the end of the day.

LIZ ROGERS

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