Feb 13, 2014
O Tama Carey grew up "eating nothing, refusing all food", so it may be surprising that she ended up as a chef. In fact, she jokes that she was "tricked" into this career. She's made a name for herself in Sydney, through working at Billy Kwong, running pop-up dinners with Billy Kwong co-conspirator Hamish Ingham (who now heads Bar H) and for the last three years, she's been adding a contemporary twist to Italian food at Berta in Surry Hills (her Sri Lankan background leads her to sneaking some curry leaves into the dishes, occasionally). O Tama's hands-on approach means that she's reared pigs for the restaurant (an incident that resulted in her first experience with shotguns) and she's had to deal with mega beestings and chasing queen bees in the post (yes, they do get sent in the mail!) in order to cultivate honey for Berta. She also talks about coverage of women's chefs, what she refuses to eat and her upcoming appearance at Stories from the Cellar on February 23 at Elizabeth Bay House, as presented by Wildwon Projects and Sydney Living Museums. O Tama name-checks her favourite places to eat in Sydney, too – in particular, she salutes the brilliance of Brent Savage (Monopole, Yellow, Bentley).