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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.

Aug 11, 2019

Jordan Toft has been a chef for Saudi royalty and he's run a chalet in the Haute-Savoie in the French Alps. In Sydney, he's known for his work at Bert's (which was nominated for New Restaurant of the Year in the last Gourmet Traveller restaurant awards), The Collaroy, Bar Topa and Coogee Pavilion. His next venture – a restaurant on the middle floor at Coogee Pavilion – has been more than four years in the making.

Jordan started his career as a teenager and has since worked with many great chefs (he was mentored by Peter Doyle during an influential stint at Est). His career has sent him to Italy and France – and we spend a lot of this conversation talking about Europe because a) Jordan had one of the best meals of his life at Michel Bras's restaurant in Laguiole, France (the lunch he ate preceding it is pretty hilarious, BTW) and b) because Jordan and I recently went on a Eurail trip that zipped through Spain, France and Switzerland.

We talk about the highlights of travelling via train carriages through this part of the world while flexing a Eurail pass. Some of the memorable experiences we had included eating at Llet Crua, in Barcelona (a cheese shop that specialises in revived Catalan cheeses); foraging for wild Spanish flowers and herbs on the Costa Brava coastline with Evarist March (a "gastrobotanist" who works with the acclaimed El Celler de can Roca); eating desserts inspired by old books and Game of Thrones at Rocambolesc (the gelato parlour run by Jordi Roca, the world-renowned pastry chef); Jordan running into a strangely familiar face at a traditional Lyon restaurant; and taking ultra-scenic trains around Lake Geneva, including the GoldenPass Classic "Belle Epoque" trip up a Swiss mountain to eat mushroom fondue and see Gruyère cheese being made from two-hour-old milk at Le Chalet. Oh and there's the time Jordan bought 150 euros of jamón and schlepped it through two entire countries, too!

This was a fun country-hopping conversation. Thanks to Eurail and Example's Rebecca Gibbs for making the aforementioned trip possible! You can see my Instagram Story highlights of the trip here (featured are some of the places that Jordan and I chat about during the podcast).