Sydney – my parents grew up in Cyprus
DISH FOR A SPECIAL DATE
Handmade tortellini, followed by a rich chocolate dessert, accompanied by a bottle of wine
ON MY BUCKET LIST
To take a culinary holiday and eat my way through Tokyo
Head Chef, Bella Vista Hotel
Abiding to the laws of Italian cuisine, Bella Vista Hotel’s Head Chef, Cemal ‘Jem’ Erdonmez, tastes his dishes throughout the cooking process and stocks his own fridge with staples such as eggs, prosciutto, marinated green olives and open bottles of wine. Now, the under-30 taste master combines the rich and satiating elements of Italian cuisine with the delicacy of Japanese cooking and the intricacy honed in fine-dining kitchens into his own menu as Head Chef of Bella Vista Hotel.
- Describe your culinary journey:
My culinary journey has been so rewarding working amongst some of the best restaurants in Australia. It has been very tough at some points, requiring my complete commitment but I am now beginning to see the fruits of my hard work and it’s all worth it.
- What drew you to a career in food?
I have always been interested in food. I remember coming home from school and watching Huey’s Cooking or any other cooking show I could find on TV. Meanwhile my sister and friends would all be watching soap operas.
- What’s something we might not know about Jem?
I’m a bit of an undercover nerd. I used to play computer games a lot and have even built a few computers in my time. If I was not a chef I would probably be working in IT.
- Your favourite dish?
This can change from week to week depending on the season and where I have been to lately. My current favourite dish on the Bella Vista Hotel menu is the 21 Day Dry Aged Tajima Wagyu Rump Cap with celeriac, caremlised onion and picked eshallots.