Starting your own restaurant at the age of 23 is no easy task. The hard work for Lewis; chef and owner of Farina00 extended beyond time in the kitchen. It included early morning trips to the market everyday to buy fresh produce and delivering it to the restaurant as every dollar saved was essential to making it through the early start-up period of a new business.
This hard-work ethos and exceptional skills in the kitchen, has taken Farina00 to it’s 3rd birthday and the future looks bright. Recently opening the courtyard following it’s construction allows you to host functions at Farina from 30th birthday parties to engagement parties, the space is perfect. And as we head into Winter, you can enjoy there two fire places as you indulge on delicious pastas good wine.
For the month of June as part of King William Road’s Food & Wine Sessions, you can celebrate Farina’s 3rd birthday with a 3-course dinner menu including a glass of wine.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Growing up, I didn’t necessarily want to be a chef but I knew I wanted to own my own business and I enjoyed working with my hands – so opening up my own restaurant and being the chef gave me the opportunity to do both.
What’s your earliest food memory?
Well my earliest memory would be when I was about 3 or 4 years old. I remember my sisters and I, sitting down as our Nonna spoon fed us what we thought to be chocolate pudding but in actual fact was an Italian dessert – “sanguinaccio dolce” or in English, pigs blood pudding.
Who are your favourite chefs?
I would say Nancy Silverton and Giorgio Locatelli, because of their passion and energy.
How did you get your start in the restaurant industry?
I started in the industry when I was 15 as a waiter, quickly moving into the kitchen where I found I was most comfortable. I’ve been in the kitchen ever since and cant really imagine myself doing anything else.
Can you tell me a little about your journey to opening your restaurant?
Although my journey to becoming a chef began when I was 15, the journey to opening my own restaurant wasn’t one that was all that long. At 22 – after working in a couple respected Adelaide restaurants, I decided I wanted to open my own place which would allow me to focus on the specific aspects of cooking I was most passionate about.
Where does the name come from?
The name farina 00 comes from the type of flour used in the pasta which is much finer and as our specialty is fresh pasta, I thought the name was fitting.
How would you describe the restaurant?
Its hard to say, working in the restaurant every day you tend to loose sight of what it feels like for someone who hasn’t been before. I would like to think people find it quite cosy – particularly in the winter with our open fireplaces and the aroma of garlic and tomatoes slow cooking. I hope that the jazzy music together with the lounges provides a casual feel, with the display of genuine Italian products (many of which I use throughout the menu), inspired by my Nonna’s kitchen adding to that feel, whilst the linen napkins and tableware adds a certain sophistication.
What are your signature dishes?
At the moment, one of our signature dishes is our handmade tortellini. On our menu we have a squid ink tortellini, filled with flathead and ricotta, served in a light tomato bisque but we also love to special others such as our oxtail tortellini.
What is the most popular dish on the menu?
One of our most popular dishes is our Gigli which is predominantly a mixture of different mushrooms, aged parmigiano, both truffle salt and oil, with a dash of cream.
I use 4 different types of mushrooms in this dish, all of which I source from the Mushroom Man in the Central markets. I created this dish when I first opened the restaurant and found that the flavours of the different mushrooms – with the truffle, worked really well together.
Is there an ingredient you use a lot that would surprise people?
I always use filtered water for my stocks, you can definitely taste the difference.
Throughout the month of June, you can experience all King William Road has to offer in food as part of Food & Wine Sessions. Visit Farina00 for dinner during the week to enjoy their exclusive 3-course menu and help celebrate their 3rd Birthday. Plus click HERE to view all of the sessions that are happening on King William Road.