Tell us a little about yourself, where did you start?
My name is Scott Pickett, I have a few restaurants in Melbourne although I started cooking when I was 14 in South Australia where I grew up on a farm in a little town called Kangarilla. My first job was at a little local winery as a kitchen hand & the first day I stepped into the kitchen I found my stainless-steel asylum & my happy place, which I’ve been in ever since.
You have had an extensive career in food, was it always the dream job?
I’ve never really done anything else; it was a dream, but I probably didn’t appreciate or understand or recognize the dream until I was a couple years into the kitchen and restaurants lifestyle and it’s like the best drug in the world. This adrenaline is second to none from the service, cooking & great produce, always learning and being creative – cooking great food and great dishes so the dream kind of came along in the whole process.
Did you grow up around food?
I did my grandmother was a massive influence with us at the farm, we had pigs, cows, ducks, sheep, chickens an abundance of veggies, vines, and olive trees. It was always apart of my life growing up and I learnt an appreciation for produce and the whole animal.
You have obviously worked alongside some very well-known chefs is there a standout dish or memory from over the years?
That’s a hard one, there have been many monumental moments over the years. It would have to be my last lunch service when I was living in London working at a restaurant called The Square in Mayfair which is two Michelin stars. The last lunch was the 23rd of September and the final two customers I cooked for were Bill Clinton & Bono. They came in for lunch together at 3pm, the secret service came through first and scoped the place out & our team cooked them lunch and then I got on a flight that night and came back home to Australia.
What’s it been like juggling so many restaurants & what has made you keep creating more?
Its manic, intense, busy, lots of fun, it keeps me excited, keep my brain motivated and stimulated and the growth has just kind of come along the way because I see a new project or a great opportunity & I jump straight at it.
The best part of it all has to be the people, whether that’s the staff, the customer or the supplier – ultimately, we are in the people business and that’s not just the guest dining in, but the person taking the bookings, the kitchen hand, waiter, chef, the farmers that grow the produce and the delivery driver. It’s the overall picture of being in the people business.
Any tips for aspiring restaurants owners who are starting out from scratch?
Work for the best people you can, learn as much as you can & be aware that you are going to make mistakes and learn from them. Always take calculated risk.
Do you have any exciting plans in the works? What can we expect from you in 2022?
2022 we will be opening Smith Street Bistro in Collingwood & in March we are opening the Hotel Continental in Sorrento, which is a massive project – 12 food and beverage outlets, 65 chefs, 250 staff. There is some pretty big & exciting plans for next year.
On the day you aren’t in your chef’s hat, what are you wearing?
You’ll see me in a pair of jeans, t-shirt and a nice pair of boots or sneakers. I like a casual and relaxed look.
Do you have a go-to shoe & what do you look for in a good shoe?
I usually opt for a runner for comfort purposes, I’m always looking for something rich in colour, design, quality and how it fits on my foot.
One pair of Wild Rhinos you can’t take off?
My favourite pair at the moment is the Chelsea boot Lloyd Tan.
Early bird or Night owl?
Knock off Drink of Choice?
Lemon & ginger tea
Bowl of pasta
City or Country?
Introvert or Extrovert?
Check out Scott’s socials here and visit one of his many outstanding restaurant, we can guarantee they do not disappoint.