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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 25, 2015

Jake Smyth knows a hell of a lot about burgers. Along with Kenny Graham, he runs Mary's – which, despite only being two years old, has quickly become a much-worshipped Sydney institution. It's easily titleholder of the best burgers in Sydney and inspires the craziest queues, even on the coldest winter nights.

David Chang, who famously said Australia screws up burgers like no other country, endorses Mary's as the exception he's on board with. No wonder Mary's sells 10,000 burgers a week between its two outlets.

Even though it was "carnage" with Jake's daughter being born on the same day that the first Mary's store opened, these two life-changing events would prove to be amazing forces in Jake's life.

He also talks about all the burger research he's done (including the worst example he's ever endured) and the unusual former lives of Mary's Newtown location, which is over a century old. He even shares some of the secrets behind Mary's amazing mushroom burger. (Jake was actually a vegan for two years, and a vegetarian for four.)

Jake also chats about the unusual things they've bartered for Mary's burgers, the Fairy's burger fundraiser and his favourite places to eat and drink (such as The Gretz and 10 William Street).