I finished high school in 1994 and the day after my last HSC exam I started my apprenticeship.
When I completed my time as an apprentice, I really started to learn.
I went straight into a Head Chef role at a casual restaurant and had a massive learning curve as I found my feet as a newly qualified Chef gaining an understanding of what running a restaurant was all about.
After a year, I realised I was running out of ideas and started jumping around over the next few years, from a standard restaurant as a Head Chef to fine dining as a Chef de Partie.
This was great to learn again from more experienced Chefs working in the top restaurants at the time.
I did this until I was about 10 years into my trade and wanted more out of my career and less stress.
Serendipitously, I ran into a friend from school who thought I should try demonstration and presentation work, so he introduced me to the world of teambuilding and training.
I ended up developing a love for training and inspiring budding cooks and corporate clients in the world of food and formalised my qualifications as a trainer assessor.
I helped run that business as Head Chef for a couple of years and casually after that.
From here I ventured into the world of catering, working for some of the most decorated caterers at the time and found that this was where I was very comfortable and able to manage time better.
Basically, if you are organised it can be a highly efficient and relatively relaxed environment.
Unfortunately, I did not agree with all the
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
As much as cooking is a passion and a real, life source for me, I am a musician too, and that was my first real passion and I thought that would be how I would make a difference in people’s lives. To a small extent I did.
Playing music was my priority and finishing school I did not have many options as my marks were not very impressive.
I will always remember cooking with my Mum in the kitchen as a boy and that was a real joy. So, I started my apprenticeship.
Once I started working in the industry, I realised just what hard work means. I was close to quitting until the right Chef came along and inspired me and taught me, as a good Head Chef should.
It was then that I came to realise you don’t have to shout and scream and cause a big scene to have staff work efficiently for you. You should inspire them and bring out the best in them, then they will want to work for you, rather than working in fear of you.
This was the style I adopted once I became a Head Chef.
From this point, for the first time as a 3rd year apprentice, I truly wanted to be a Chef and be the best I could be.
So once again cooking became a joy.
How would you define your style?
I am all about creating a positive impact through food and experiencing something unachievable by yourself.
To attain this, I create a fine dining experience with up to 16 entities on a plate, fusing a plethora of textures, layers, flavours and colours.
The idea is no two mouthfuls should be the same. This establishes a journey of discovery to hopefully keep the guests intrigued from start to finish.
What is your feature flavour these days?
At the moment, I am really into native plants such as Sea Blite and Karkalla.
Cleanliness and cross contamination. It sounds like a given but working in the industry for 25 years you see some unsanitary actions.
You also must deal with situations like, turning up to a job and finding out there is a crustacean anaphylactic reactive client you were not told about, who does not have an
Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences:
There are a couple of obvious people such as Marco Pierre White, who was the first Chef whose food I did not understand, which intrigued me as a young Chef and inspired me to learn and experiment to try and figure out the how and why.
The previous mentioned Chef who gave me the understanding of different ways to treat staff and a sense of what respect is in this hostile industry.
I also draw on inspiration from apprentices who as a young Head Chef, I did not have all the answers and humbly learnt to always have a reason and an answer and question if there is a better way.
These days I am always on the search for different plating and designs from Michelin awarded Chefs, not to copy but to gain inspiration and new thoughts.
Lastly and probably most obvious are the Sydney markets and growers’ markets to find not so common and unique ingredients to start a new dish with.
What do you love about this business?
Specifically, in my side of things in catering rather than restaurants, one of the main things I love, is to have the opportunity to share in people’s memorable events.
Anyone can go to a restaurant or eat out for lunch or dinner, given sometimes it is a special occasion, but to create an event, there is always a reason, be it a 21st birthday, 50th wedding anniversary, proposal or wedding. These are amazingly special moments my clients will always remember, and I get the privilege of helping to make it unique.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Good question, at the moment, if I had to choose one ingredient that I use a lot for textures it would be agar.
Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?
People normally go oh that’s interesting when I tell them about my apple textures dish with one of the entities being a roasted pink lady apple with garam masala and thyme.
I think the most common dish I replicate would be my Wagyu sirloin.
This is a female Black Angus and a male Wagyu that are felled to order and delivered by the farmer to my door. This is sous vide to rare and sealed. The main ingredients I serve this with are: micro rainbow carrots, micro bush turnips, potato caraway fondant, black garlic and truffle, lightly soured cherry compote, roast Brussel leaves and Applewood smoked blackberries.
For an unforgettable experience, seek out the catering services of Passion Ate the Chef. As a Sydney based caterer and cooking school, Chef Jason Ludwig and his team have managed numerous events from Goulburn to Port Stephens and everywhere in between. With over 20 years of industry experience, personalised service is at the core of everything he does, whether your event is for 4000, or an intimate dining experience for 10 in your home. An extensive menu showcases Jason’s passion and flexibility, with canapes such as torched dashi scallop with roe and wakame dust and sumptuous mains like sous vide lamb or applewood smoked spatchcock. Whether you’re planning a wedding, cocktail party, a private dinner or a reunion, Passion Ate the Chef can tailor menus to your specific needs.