Interview by Elijah Attard, Head Chef at Maybe Sammy & Co host of the Roots Hospitality podcast. @roots_hospitality
Nomad, 16 Foster Street, Surry Hills. @Nomad.sydney
I’ve always admired Kennedy’s philosophy to working. His hospitality first ethos really shines through his presentation, whether it’s his personable touch, attention to detail or welcoming attitude. Best of all, Kennedy has taken this and applied it to both Beau and Nomad in Sydney.
And with Nomad’s 10th Birthday this month, an all-Australian spirit-led drinks menu is making its way to showcase the spirit of Nomad’s journey through the last decade. This means we can only expect more incredible things if Jacqui Challinor is leading the way. Luckily for me, I’ve got the chance to sit down with Kennedy and find out more.
It’s Nomad’s big birthday and you’re curating the drinks menu. How can we expect the menu to reflect the journey Nomad has been on and will continue to go?
From the beginning, NOMAD’s drink menu has been curated to highlight the very best of Australian produce. And the menu will only continue in this direction. When selecting suppliers, as a group we look for small, up-and-coming producers that allow us to showcase and work with the best of Australian talent. We create unique house cocktails with an ode to Australia that can only be sipped and savoured at NOMAD.
What are some examples of cocktails that you are proud to represent the Nomad story?
If you have heard of NOMAD, you have heard of our wood-fired flatbread with Persian lime & wattleseed za’atar. With the flatbread being so entwined with the NOMAD name, I asked myself how to incorporate it into a cocktail. Now a staple house cocktail, ‘The Antagoniser’ is garnished with the Za’atar from our signature flatbread to compliment the smokey and spicy drink.
Beau is NOMAD Group’s new laneway restaurant 200 metres from NOMAD Sydney. Being a short walking distance up from our sister venue Beau to NOMAD, Google Maps says the walk is ‘moderately uphill’. In celebration of NOMAD’s 10th birthday, ‘Moderately Uphill’ has hibiscus granita, a popular ingredient among our desserts, that is shaped to represent a moderate hill Incline.
Why is using only Australian products so important at Nomad? Like Saison Vermouth coming out of Melbourne.
Just like Saison Vermouth, NOMAD celebrates the bounty of each season. Australia’s vast and varied landscapes offer incredible diversity in produce, allowing us to curate cocktails that align with our sustainability ethos and our continued commitment to being a testament to the country’s passion for excellence.
Nomad Sydney itself has gone through a lot in the past few years. Does celebrating this milestone help to reinvigorate the vibrato of the team going forward?
We’ve had quite a lot going on these past few years! Our team at NOMAD Sydney; some have been with us since day one. It feels like home, it is absolutely my happy place and what has brought so much joy and celebration over the last 10 years. To do it with people I love and respect and call friends is just the icing on the cake. I hope this reminds everyone our team and guests that we are so fortunate to reach this milestone in this industry – I couldn’t be prouder!
From the early days, it feels as though because you received the support of the people and guests, you are able to give back to these small producers. Are there any you’d like to mention?
First, we want to thank all the small producers we have worked with as they all embrace the same vision – there is no planet b. A local producer we have worked with repeatedly is Slow Lane Brewery, which uses old-world methods to produce its beers. They are happy to be “inefficient if it gives better flavour”, as most modern breweries have abandoned in favour of efficient industrialised processes.
I would also like to mention one of our colleagues who grows his own edible flowers. We use these to garnish our cocktails and iconic kingfish dish, which makes each NOMAD cocktail a tangible reflection of our commitment to sustainability.
I’ve noticed some native ingredients on the menu, will this continue to be an important part of the Australian forward mindset being reflected through the cocktail list?
Yes. Incorporating native ingredients into our cocktails can create a sense of connection to the land. They are unique in flavour and allow us to embrace the native bounty of our country.
Should we expect some exciting events over the course of the month to celebrate Nomad’s big Birthday?
Yes! We’re bringing back the biggest hits on our food menu over the years, we have some events in the pipeline, and we are collaborating with an artist who is very dear to us (and has been from day one) on something special for the month of October!
I have to finish on this one question – what was the funniest time you found yourself most in the shit.
Nomad in a nutshell is really the epitome of Australia. Having gone through the ?re but emerged stronger on the other side while being surrounded by a community who will support you no matter what. It really sums up the comradery of the Aussie spirit. Thank you for your time!