Behind every great restaurant is an even better chef, and The Sanderson is no different with Head Chef, James Green at the helm. Alongside incredible cuisine, Chef Green is bringing his experience from some of Sydney’s most iconic venues as well as internationally from time spent abroad in Toronto & NYC. We asked him to share a little about his go-to ingredients, favourite things to eat and of course, the must have dishes the next time you’re at The Sanderson.

Tell us a little about your background and why you became a chef.

I grew up on Lord Howe Island, and began my career working in the family restaurant when I was about 15. After finishing school, I did about half of a commerce degree before realising what I’d much rather be doing with my life.

I started my apprenticeship at Otto and Fratelli Paradiso, before spending two years overseas working for Momofuku and WD-50 in Toronto and NYC, and then found myself back in Sydney at Icebergs, before taking on more senior roles as Executive Chef of Q Station, North Bondi Fish and Manta Restaurant.

I’ve always enjoyed the creative side that being a chef allows me, I truly love working with terrific produce and getting to be a part of the process of turning the raw ingredient into a beautiful dish.

How would you describe your style of cooking?
I would say my style is primarily Italian in its ethos, with the core mantra of keeping it simple with the best ingredients we can source. I very rarely have more than three primary components to a dish, I typically try and focus on a hero ingredient with 2-3 complementary interesting flavours and textures.

The flavours of my food are very reflective of modern Australia, utilising flavours from many different backgrounds with a European backbone.

We are huge fans behind the menu at The Sanderson. What was your inspiration behind it?
The goal from the beginning at The Sanderson was to be very produce driven with a great sense of theatre for our guests, so incorporating elements such as the toast at the beginning of the meal, the gueridon service, whisky bone luges, or some of the cocktails and desserts being finished tableside really was a great jumping off point into creating the menu.

We wanted to take a steak and oyster concept and elevate that into a modern Australian context, creating a place that really makes a special occasion memorable. It sounds cliched but we try and source some of the best produce the country has to offer, so it’s fairly easy to be inspired to showcase the produce we have.

What are your goals for The Sanderson, where do you want to take it?
That’s a really tough one to answer. I guess my overarching goal is for The Sanderson to deliver an incredible experience for everyone that comes through the door, and for my food to be a big part in delivering that experience. I don’t believe in chasing awards or accolades, if they happen to come then that’s a bonus, but for me, it’s about having a busy dining room full of happy guests.

What are the top three ingredients you can’t live without?
Murray River flake salt, a good quality vinegar and a terrific olive oil. They’re the building blocks of so many great dishes.

What’s your favourite thing to EAT?
It’s not often I splurge on one, but a local live rock lobster, grilled or roasted over charcoal simply with lemon and a little butter is one of the best things you can ever eat.

What’s your favourite thing to DRINK?
I’m very partial to a Negroni.

What’s your favourite PLAY (things you do in your spare time)?
You’ll find me playing (badly) on the golf course.

Finally, if I am planning one perfect meal at The Sanderson what should I be ordering?
With a few great friends at the table, I’d be starting with a couple of caviar bumps and some beautiful oysters from our raw bar, moving on to a couple of our two-bite starters, maybe a truffled prawn toast and our tuna tartare with bone marrow, served back in the bone.

From there you should definitely be hitting the gueridon trolley, our beef tartare or spanner crab mixed tableside is great to share. Roasted bone marrow followed by a whiskey luge is also an excellent move.

Onto the mains, I absolutely love all our steak cuts, but I’m ordering our whisky-glazed dry-aged duck every time, and I wouldn’t be missing the lobster mafaldine with pancetta and smoked dashi butter. Our signature potato rosti and a grilled broccolini complements both of them really well.

I don’t have a crazy sweet tooth, but the dessert program at The Sanderson is definitely not to be missed, our pastry chef Kelvin is immensely talented. The sticky date pudding, spiked with Guinness and Talisker whisky is incredible, and will never leave the menu. Current other favourites are the chocolate mousse with pecan praline and pear gelato, and the appropriately named ‘popcorn x popcorn x popcorn’ (if anything, there’s more popcorn than the name would suggest).

That said, we have curated a number of signature menus that also takes the work out of ordering, so you can just lay back, relax and enjoy the evening.

Check out James’ incredible food here.

Try his incredible dishes for yourself and book your seat at The Sanderson.