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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.

Jul 18, 2017

“It was pretty crazy, actually,” says Clayton Wells about opening Momofuku Seiobo, but he could also be describing the incredible response to his solo restaurant Automata. Since Automata’s launch in late 2015, Clayton has been named Australia’s Hottest Chef by The Weekend Australian magazine, Time Out Sydney gave him their Chef of the Year award and Automata has been voted #9 restaurant in the Australian Financial Review’s Top 100 Restaurants list for the second year running.

Oh and the most important food critic in the world, Pete Wells, also held up Automata as a restaurant worthy of global recognition in The New York Times.
And despite all his mega achievements, Clayton isn’t above peeling nine kilos of grapes because his chefs think the job is “too shitty” to undertake themselves. 
Clayton talks about his path to opening Automata – which involved doing time at top restaurants such as Quay, Tetsuya’s, Noma and being part of the star team that helped Momofuku Seiobo, David Chang’s first restaurant outside of New York, land three chef’s hats in the first year that it opened. (Launching Automata also involved doing battle with a 2.5 tonne bank vault, too.) 
Clayton also covers what it’s like when the world’s most famous food critic steps into your restaurant and the chef also answers a hilarious bonus round of questions (involving Allen’s snakes and toilet paper), generously supplied by his award-winning sommelier Tim Watkins. (Thanks Tim! And thanks to Automata’s Glenda Lau with some of the intel for this podcast, too.)
PS Look out for Clayton’s new restaurant, Blackwattle, opening in Singapore later this year.