From a young age, Iain Smart knew he wanted a career in food, helping his mother bake and having a trained chef and hotel manager as a father meant it was in his blood. “I started studying hospitality and did some work experience in hotels but quickly realised that being front of house was not my thing, but in the hotel kitchens I felt at home straight away,” he said.
Iain kicked off his career as a commis chef and quickly progressed to Chef de Partie at Michelin-starred restaurant Chez Bruce in London’s South. Four years perfecting traditional French cooking skills formed the foundation – like so many world class chefs – for Iain’s current style.
“I still use the French techniques I was taught years ago, particularly when it comes to sauces and braising but these days my style is more centred around the produce and is far more relaxed,” says Smart who counts Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Jamie Oliver among his food heroes.
Holding roles as Head Chef at fine dining restaurant Four O Nine and Head Pastry Chef at Medlar rounded out Iain’s restaurant experience in London, developing the varied skills required of a modern European menu.
After cooking in fast paced environments it was time to switch gears, and the high seas were calling. As a private chef working on luxury yachts in the Mediterranean, Caribbean and North America, a new set of skills were required. Heading to the local market to source the best catch, and everything to go with, sparked Iain’s creativity and resourcefulness – which is no mean feat when the quality must be Michellin-starred from a kitchen three feet by three feet.
“The produce I came across at each port was incredible, so fresh and so unique to the area so it meant no day’s menu was ever the same,” he says.
Not long after meeting his now wife, Kath, Iain returned to Australia in 2012 taking up a role with one of Sydney’s premier caterers, Simon Ekas Catering where he turned out canapes, desserts and grazing tables for corporate and private events.
Then it was time to take on a new challenge as a chef and owner, opening a cafe in Sydney’s inner west. Created from the ground up, this gave Iain the chance to design a menu and style which was wholly his own. Homemade everything saw this become a favourite among locals, and by demand Iain was able to get back to his roots hosting fine-dining dinners each month based around seasonal ingredients.
After three years in Sydney’s busy café scene, the growing family was ready for a tree change, which brought them to beautiful Berry. An existing food scene and being surrounded by incredible producers was a huge drawcard for this foodie couple wanting to try something new.
Now, you’ll find him behind the custom-made parilla grill at Far Meadow Table turning out grilled and braised meats, hosting cooking workshops and enjoy his garden and bees when he can.
Iain is enjoying working with the local produce and meeting some other fantastic local chefs in the Shoalhaven region