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The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry: Lee Tran Lam quizzes chefs, critics, bar staff and other people from the world of food about their career highlights and lowlights, war stories and favourite places to eat and drink in Sydney.

Nov 20, 2015

“There’s no $10 steak, that's for sure,” says Ben Greeno.

There's nothing standard-issue about his upcoming ventures with Merivale, which is no surprise – Ben is far from a standard-issue chef. (In fact, there's question about whether The Paddington – the 'pub' he's opening for the hospitality group – is even actually a pub. And the chicken shop that will follow is not going to be your average takeaway outlet, either.)

So there are many dynamite reasons why people are majorly excited about this acclaimed chef's next moves.

After all, Ben was Rene Redzepi's first employee when the Danish chef opened Noma. “It was one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had,” says Ben.

And after working at Michelin-starred kitchens in Europe (and running a supper club in London, where he fed 10 people at a time from an apartment), Ben ended up at David Chang's Momofuku outposts in New York – and later headed the award-blitzing team that opened Momofuku Seiobo in Sydney.

He talks about all of this in the podcast – plus, the dish that outlasted the famous pork bun at Seiobo, and that wild time they had when recreating Momofuku Ssam Bar's seminal 2007 menu for Good Food Month in 2014.

This year, Ben joined Merivale – and it probably doesn't hurt his employment prospects that CEO Justin Hemmes name-checks Ben as one of the best chefs in the world.

So Ben also chats about his plans for The Paddington (which opens on Tuesday), with a menu that is inspired by three fantastic on-site rotisseries (where he'll be roasting everything from lamb to celeriac), and the research he's done for the upcoming takeaway shop (including the time he ate 100 euro chicken in France with Hanz Gueco).

Ben also talks about his standout experiences at L’Arpege and his anticipation for the future Merivale venues for Patrick Friesen and Danielle Alvarez (“It’s gonna be one of the best openings of next year for sure," he says about her planned restaurant, Fred's.)