Interview: Jed Gerrard, Executive Chef of Perth, Australia’s Wildflower

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One of Perth’s leading chefs, Gerrard’s cooking revolves around Australia’s indigenous six seasons

Wildflower is located on the Treasury Hotel's fourth floor. 

Jed Gerrard is the executive chef of Perth, Australia’s Wildflower restaurant, and he’s also spent time in the kitchen at Michelin-starred restaurants around the world, including Bilson’s in Sydney, d’Hotel de Ville in Switzerland and SaQuaNa in France.  He has an interesting background and approach to food (he uses wildflowers in multiple ways on his menus), and we had the opportunity to sit down with him at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape, a major international food and wine experience in Western Australia.

The Daily Meal: How did you get into cooking?  What were your early influences?
Jed Gerrard:
I grew up in Balingup in the south west of Western Australia. It's a small town with a population of under 500. It is a very self-sustainable community and I learned from a very young age where food came from and how to grow and harvest produce. We would go pick wild berries, mushrooms after school and gardening and cooking where a part of our everyday chores. Also being surrounded by all the farmers and fresh local produce in the Southwest helped spark a deep connection to food and curiosity as to where it came from.

From the ages of 7 to 12, I lived in New Zealand in a boutique hotel called The Gerrard's Railway Hotel in Invercargill with my grandparents, so when I would get bored I’d go down to the kitchen and hassle the chef and get him to show me how to make stuff. I was immersed into the hospitality industry at a very young age and felt at home as soon as I stepped into the kitchen.

What do you enjoy about cooking?
I love everything to do with cooking; providing plated nourishment made with my own hands and creativity is a very rewarding. Feeding people and making them happy through food is a very special gift. It’s a constant evolution and learning curve for me and I love the challenge that comes with that. The theater and environment in a commercial kitchen is electrifying and makes the normal everyday things seem boring. The fragrance of garlic, the crackle from the skillet, and the sight of a perfectly roasted bird coming out from the oven. Cooking also speaks to all of my senses, the smells, sounds, tastes.

Tell me about your restaurant.
Wildflower occupies a Perth rooftop space – an elegant, contemporary steel and glass box on The Treasury Hotel’s fourth floor looking out over the city. Wildflower serves contemporary dishes revolving around the indigenous ethos of six seasons with farmer and forager-driven menus.

What are your plans for the future?
I would like to have a restaurant with an organic farm that’s around 30 acres. It would be a contemporary restaurant with six luxury guest suites – a place to interact with nature and eat from the land. Somewhere I can drill down on the ethos of the six seasons. Something small and personal.

We would use regenerative farming techniques to help restore the land. Organic principles will be employed to produce the seasonal vegetables, native edible plants, stone fruits, citrus, nuts, berries as well as olives for organic extra virgin oil. Our own chickens will supply free range eggs, while bees will produce honey and assist with pollination.

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An ever-changing set menu will utilize the produce from the restaurants own vegetable plots and fruit orchards, the surrounding land and local farmers will also help to showcase a unique, contemporary cuisine built around an immense respect for nature, seasonality and the ethos of the indigenous six seasons.