Michael James – The Bunker Restaurant

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The Bunker Restaurant is a ‘must visit’ this month. We speak with acclaimed chef Michael James …

How long have you lived in the Manning Great Lakes, and how long have you worked in the industry?

We have lived in the area for almost 16 years, so we are not quite locals yet.

It is the most underrated area in which to live, perfect for raising our two beautiful girls and having a balance between work and lifestyle. I have spent 26 years and still counting in the industry and still love it like it was my first.

Is there anyone past or present who stands out as a major influence in your food?

My food is French influenced; my early days of training with Marco Pierre White’s food laid my foundations to create well constructed food.

And more recently, the food of Justin North at Becasse / Etch restaurants, which is the benchmark of Sydney food. We have eaten his food from the early days in Surrey Hills, and his food is still just as awesome.

Where do you draw your passion and inspiration from for the restaurants?

Passion is from within; you cannot create good food without it. Inspiration comes from picking up a cookbook at least once a day and constantly learning and refreshing what I have learned.

WE NEVER STOP LEARNING, and anybody who thinks they know it all is kidding themselves.

What can people expect from your food when they come to dine?

We aim to give our patrons a special dining experience, that is the whole package. After all, it is not just about food.

The ambience, the service, the food and wine must all connect to give people an evening that perhaps they would not get at home.

How important is local produce to you as a chef?

Local produce is vital if we are to get the area on the map; however, what is more important is the chef / supplier relationship.

It is vital to strike an ongoing accord with your supplier in order for us as chefs to understand their product and for our suppliers to know our needs for a consistent quality product.

What are your plans for the future?

To create a quality, consistent restaurant at The Bunker Tallwoods, where the pursuit of excellent food is married with well sourced, well cared for produce.

Finish this sentence … Come for the food, stay for the … total experience.

Thank you Michael.

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