Secret Foodies recently hosted it’s annual Christmas In July event at The Provincial restaurant in Rozelle, Sydney. We were blown away by the food, this was no ordinary Christmas meal. Behind the pans was young chef Keno Perlas. We caught up with him…

So Keno, how long have you been a chef?
I have been cooking for 8 years now.

How did you get your start?
I started working as a kitchen hand at Chifley Hotel in Wollongong and then later I was given a chef apprenticeship which started my cooking career. I worked there for two years and later moved to Sydney to finish my apprenticeship under Chef Paul Eason at Gowings Bar and Grill in QT Hotel.

Working at QT would have been fun, that’s a great restaurant.
Yes, I was a part of the opening team when I joined and we later went on to win a One Hat Chefs Award later that year.

How important is the produce to your cooking?
I was always curious as a young cook. I had not seen most of the ingredients that I use now back in my home country (Philippines) so I would always challenge myself on how to best use them in my cooking. This curiosity has lead me to work in Emirates Wolgan Valley by One and Only Resorts to further my cooking. We had our own vegetable and herb garden where I developed an understanding of different produce which shaped my style of cooking.

What is your style of cooking?
I would say my line of cooking would be Modern Progressive Australian Cuisine with an Asian undertone. I’m lucky to have been introduced to the best produce in Australia and used it to make dishes. I have learned that my core focus of creating a dish is to showcase an ingredient to its full potential without over complicating it. I try to let the produce speak for itself.

What’s your favourite thing to EAT?
Chinese food.

What’s your favourite thing to DRINK?
Gin and tonic

What’s your favourite PLAY (things you do in your spare time)?
I try my best to travel and get away every moment that I can. I think it paves the way to understanding new cultures and discovering new flavours, ingredients and spices that are not very well understood in Australia. Lately I have explored Eastern Europe including Italy and France where I got to know the very basics of cooking there and also the main essence and soul of their cooking.

What’s your overall goal for The Provincial?
To bring people together and create memories with our close friends, family and loved ones. That’s the spirit that I try to bring at The Provincial.

Well you certainly did that through your incredible Christmas In July feast! 

To see pics from the Christmas In July event click here.

To try Keno’s food for yourself visit him at The Provincial.

The Provincial
Union Place, ​124 Terry Street Rozelle, NSW, 2039
Ph. 02 9818 4411
Open Brunch: Friday – Sunday​, Lunch: Tuesday – Sunday, Dinner: Tuesday – Sunday