JAVA BOYS TURNING UP THE HEAT
DIMITRI REID AND BRANDON FELIX INVITE YOU INTO A WORLD OF COOKING
“A mazing things can happen in a kitchen,” says chef Brandon Felix, with an unmistakable sparkle in his eye. Turning to his partner in crime, Dimitri Reid – also a chef – I see that same sparkle.
These guys are serious about food, cooking, their business, having a laugh and connecting with people.
Brandon and Dimitri are the men behind Java Boy Cooking Studio, an operation in Cairns that invites the public to experience an interactive cooking experience that allows them to brush up on some of the basic technical skills for the kitchen.
All while having a great time and feeling as if they’re hanging out in the kitchen of some great mates. And then there’s the food. The pair offers two styles of cooking classes – the Java Express for time-poor people and longer sessions that act as themed nights. “We’re looking for flavour,” Dimitri says. “We want to give the customer a lot of flavour and things that they can duplicate at home.”
While the express classes might focus more on a handful of dishes and some timesaving techniques like making stocks to be frozen for later dishes as well as better chopping and cutting, the themed nights give the guys a chance to go all out.
These have so far included a Spanish night, a Moroccan night and an introduction to modern Asian cookery.
“We’ll do canapes, we’ll do a resturantstyle dish broken down into tasting portions. We’ll even match it with wines and beers,” Brandon says.
These classes allow participants a unique option in that they can be actively involved with the cooking process if they choose, or they can just sit back, observe, sample and take it all in. The customer decides.
“It’s definitely not your traditional cooking class,” Dimitri says.
“It’s really modern. We wanted to give it a bit of fun. We want to give people knowledge into the diversity of food that Australia has to offer because we’re such a multicultural country and we have such a big range of fresh ingredients and fresh local produce.
“And we want to try to package that all together.
“Throw in a bit of banter, a bit of comedy and you’ve got us.
“It’s somewhere you can come in and have a good time, interact with the chefs and eat to your heart’s content.”
Brandon says he always envisioned the classes like a cooking show on TV, with an obvious advantage – not only is this show live, but you can ask questions.
“You can stop, you can pause and you get to taste it after,” Brandon says.
And the experience doesn’t necessarily have to end when the session is finished.
Once the customers have laughed, learned, had an amazing feed and headed home, they might sometimes feel like they need a little bit more input.
“It’s not just about us doing that one session and then Bob’s your uncle, see you later,” Brandon says.
“I like when people call me back. I like when they email me, ‘hey, look, I’ve got a quick question’. “That’s what it’s all about.” Feedback is key, Dimitri says. It helps the guys better connect with their customers and what they take from the experience.
“What I want to do is make our classes contagious,” Dimitri says.
“So when people come experience Java Boy we’re passing on knowledge but it also inspires them and they leave wanting more of cooking.”
Brandon says there’s another crucial element that encourages people to pursue more experiences in the kitchen. “Cooking’s fun,” he says. “It has to be fun.” It is clear once you meet the guys that, as serious as they are about cooking – Dimitri says he cooks “like my life depends on it” – and delivering a worthwhile experience to customers, they have definitely mastered the fun part.
“We seriously like what we do,” Dimitri says. “People are the reason why I keep cooking. That’s what I love about it. Connecting with people.”
Brandon seconds that, saying connecting and having fun with the people is part of what keeps the pair motivated.
“When we’re doing a class with people, nothing’s forced for us,” he says.
“We’re very comfortable behind those stoves and chatting to people.
“It’s such a pleasure to do it and it’s fun to see the immediate effect of what we do.”
Java Boy Cooking Studio is part of a bigger picture for Dimitri and Brandon, one that will hopefully include a working restaurant for apprentice chefs.
They look forward to one day combining their different strengths in the kitchen to help others achieve their cooking dreams.
In the meantime, they will continue to entertain and teach those who want a fun, informative evening with delicious food and terrific service.
“By the end of the class, we feel like we almost know these people, which is quite amazing,” Brandon says.
“It’s like we’re inviting them into our house and at the end of the class, we walk them outside, we say good night to them and off they go. It’s very personal.”
Java Boy Cooking Studio’s next class – Asian Hawker/Street Food – is an afternoon session, next Sunday from noon-3pm. Find them on Facebook. Bookings essential.