5 minutes with Josep Espuga

Take traditional Spanish bohemia, add quality Australian produce and you have The Bohemian, a wholly authentic yet original experience. We chatted with Head Chef Josep Espuga.

Where is your hometown?

It is in Catalunya, north of Barcelona, close to the French border, and my hometown is called Oliana.

How did you find producers when you got here?

It was difficult for me because I lived all my life in Spain and then one year in New York and it was my first time in Australia.

It was quite hard at the beginning because the menu was 100 percent Spanish and you know, to find all the Spanish products was quite difficult and all the seafood here is very different to the seafood we have in Europe. It was a bit difficult to make the recipes I used to in Spain.

So have you had to change your recipes much to use Australian produce?

Yeah, yeah, of course. I have to alter everything with the product we can find here. There are a few importers and they bring things from Spain, like dry goods, rice, paprika, olive oil, anchovies, or the right pepper, these kind of things, but it is not enough, you need fresh product.

Do you have any favourite products that you’ve discovered in Australia?

Yeah, I like the lamb here obviously, I mean we have lamb as well you know, but I like the lamb here, I like the Wagyu beef, I like the Black Angus also, then in vegetables what I like here is you use quite a lot of roots, like beetroots. One product I had never seen in my life before was the finger lime.

Josep Espuga

You make almost everything from scratch at The Bohemian. How many hours of preparation would you do a day?

We start at ten every day, we don’t start at six or seven am, but during the week we do a lot of hours of prep because we make our own chorizos, we make our own lamb bacon, cured bacon, we make our own fresh cheese, fresh ricotta and fresh pasta.

Do you make it like you’d make at home or do you adjust it for an Australian palette?

No, I think the chorizo is prettymuch what we eat in Spain, this is our family recipe, it’s pretty much like we do over there, maybe it’s a bit more spicy because Australians like the spicy flavours.


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