With its huge graffiti murals outside, Bedu, like its sister Uma Nota, surely knows how to grab your attention. To understand more about this intimate Middle Eastern tucked away on Gough Street, we asked Chef Corey about his passion for Middle Eastern cuisine. Read on to learn more about Chef’s view on food photography and Bedu’s upcoming dining events
Can you tell us a little about your background. How did you get into Middle Eastern cuisine?
My family has always been in the hospitality industry (running pubs). So, naturally, something to do with food was a career path. I was offered an apprenticeship at a bistro when I was studying in trade school, so I decided to take it. It’s through this experience I found food to be a satisfying creative outlet.
My entry into Middle Eastern cuisine came when my girlfriend at the time applied for a job at a Modern Lebanese restaurant in Melbourne. The cuisine just came naturally to me – the vibrancy of flavours, exotic ingredients and spices. Middle Eastern is simple yet has unique flavour profiles. And it was different from what I trained originally in Classic French, Japanese and South East Asian. I still remember the moment when I fell in love with a dish of Pastirma with shanklish cheese and olive oil!
It’s quite an open kitchen in Bedu where people can watch you preparing the dishes. Dow do you like this intimate setting?
I love the intimate setting of the restaurant, especially the half-open kitchen counter. I like to see the customer reactions to my food. Both good and bad! And if they are intrigued to know more, I like to explain my culinary philosophy, the restaurant concept and inspiration behind the dishes.
There’s this ongoing event called Dinner with Corey, can you tell us the idea behind it?
The intention behind the dinners is to show the diversity of cuisines that are linked in history or complement Middle Eastern flavours. It’s also a great way for us to get creative. Incorporating other cuisines that complement the Middle Eastern flavours. Using unique ingredients, techniques and suppliers we may not otherwise work with on a regular basis. It’s an opportunity to give our guests a different dining experience once a month. July 17th features fish and seafood dishes inspired by the Israeli sea. One of the cornerstones defining Middle Eastern food culture.
Middle Eastern dishes are usually very photogenic. Have you been taking into account the photo-worthiness of your dishes when you create new menus?
We definitely eat with our eyes! Dishes should always be visually appealing for the guests to eat. It’s always at the forefront of my mind when we’re creating and plating dishes.
And what is your view on social media?
Social media is hugely important these days. It’s the part of our marketing strategy that works hard to promote the menu visually. It also acts as a platform to communicate our food philosophy and share dining experiences with other people.