Au­tomata, Syd­ney

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - 2019 Australian Restaurant Guide -

Ta­nia Fer­gus­son and Clay­ton Wells first worked to­gether at Vi­a­jante in Lon­don. “Ap­par­ently I was al­ways rude to her, or so she says.” Then Fer­gus­son re­alised that what she thought was an aloof­ness was sim­ply the chef ’s shy­ness. They soon bonded over food and, on re­turn­ing to Syd­ney, “our mu­tual love of Golden Cen­tury,” says Wells. “Ta­nia was work­ing in ad­ver­tis­ing while we were open­ing Au­tomata and then would come home from work and help me with the stuff I had no idea about.” Her grasp of his vi­sion led to her mak­ing the leap into a role as com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager for Au­tomata and A1 Can­teen. They work to­gether and the de­mar­ca­tions aren’t iron-clad. Wells isn’t al­lowed near com­put­ers (“I’m way too slow at typ­ing, ap­par­ently”), and while Fer­gus­son stays out of the kitchen, she does

“a lot of taste test­ing”. And then there was that time she helped Wells peel nine ki­los of grapes for a Cook For Syria char­ity din­ner. Af­ter open­ing three restau­rants in three years, Wells is look­ing for­ward to their much-post­poned hol­i­day in Italy, where they’ll be “do­ing ab­so­lutely noth­ing to­gether”.

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