Q&A Session with
Head Chef Jo Ward
Say hi to Jo Ward. Jo is our Head Chef at Bistro Rex and has been since our conception: March of 2017. It is hard to get to know this superhero behind our delicious dishes. Usually she is running around the kitchen trying to get meals prepared and orders served, and so there is no time for conversation. So we thought we would ask Jo a few questions in her (lack of) spare time, so our friends and guests of Bistro Rex can get to know her a little better.
Did you eat your vegetables as a kid?
Of course I did! In fact, my dad was a market gardener when I was young, so we grew most of our vegetables in our backyard. Dad was born during the depression, so we had to eat practically everything that was put on our plate. We didn’t have the luxury to choose what we wanted, which is not necessarily a bad thing, because I don’t think I would have been a healthy kid!
When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
Wow! From the beginning I would say. I started working in kitchens at 14 years. I was then offered an apprenticeship at 18 years. I never really thought about doing anything else. I guess it was my calling right from the start.
Who inspires you in the food world?
I really don’t have anyone in particular who inspires me. I would say that any chef still working in the kitchen who is over 50 is an inspiration! Haha. It’s a tough gig these days for mature aged chefs, and it’s not getting easier. I guess it demands lots physically, and hats off to those who are able to put up with it later in life.
How do you get your inspiration when creating new dishes?
It is what I am given and who I am working with that inspires me to create something new. You could say I am practical. New and inspiring dishes come from (1) the produce I am working with and (2) the team around me.
What is your favourite kitchen accessory and why?
My butchery knives. I have been using the same ones for 20 years! They still have a good couple of years left in them… Just like me! 🙂
How long have you been working for Bistro Rex?
Since the very beginning and we opened March of 2017.
What do you love most about working at Bistro Rex?
The team I work with. It might sound a little cliché but they are pretty much my family now.
Of the dishes you prepare at Bistro Rex, which one is your favourite?
Definitely the Grilled Duck breast with pickled plum and radicchio. Duck is my all time favourite meat. You’ve got to try it! (see menu)
Are you a wine drinker? If so, what is your favourite wine?
I don’t really drink wine. If I do drink it, it is only when I am out for dinner. I do love my beer though! It’s not just a breakfast drink…
What would you advise a new customer to get for their first time at Bistro Rex and why?
If you have not had a chance to dine at Bistro Rex, and it is your first time experiencing the food, then I would most certainly recommend the Steak Frites. It is one of our most popular dishes and what we are becoming famous for. (see menu)
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I actually like to work in my vegetable garden… when I can find the energy. Otherwise I like to just chill on the couch and watch my favourite show on Netflix, particularly after a long working day.
What is the one inspiring quote that you live by?
My mentor always said ‘whatever I do, I must have conviction’. Also ‘beer, it’s not just a breakfast drink’ (as mentioned earlier).
Learn more about Bistro Rex, and our Head Chefs and Co-Founders, Jo Ward and Michelle Powell.