A day in the life of the chef patron at Marina Social

Tristin Farmer, chef patron at Marina Social, told EDGAR what a day in his life is like. 

May 15, 2017

I get up and go to the gym for an hour. I religiously go to the gym four times a week and run between 5 and 10km. I lost 20kg over about nine months when I moved to Dubai. I was 110kg at my heaviest and I’m 89kg now. I’m not obsessed by my weight. I enjoy food and I had a croissant yesterday for example. 

Breakfast is yoghurt, muesli, bananas or a protein shake. I don’t make my own muesli, just a box of Alpen is fine. Sometimes I make porridge. I make it with water, not milk, and a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar. I might add chopped bananas or some yoghurt but I love plain porridge. I have black coffee from my Nespresso machine. I buy the strongest type of coffee capsule because I like bitter, dark coffee. 

I arrive at work and the whites go on straight away. I catch up with the boys, check the covers for that night, have a staff briefing, check on food deliveries. Then I go and speak to the guys on each section – meat, pasta, pizza for example – and see what they need. 

Myself and the head chef do all the fish and meat prep– things like boning out ducks, filleting fish, and prepping ribeye steaks. I enjoy being very hands on. Jason [Atherton, who created the Marina Social concept] used to say, ‘You have to remember you’re a chef. The day you forget about cooking food is the day you give up.’ If I’m busy with meetings and I don’t get into the kitchen all day I start to get withdrawal symptoms. 

I try to catch up with emails. Lunch is fruit and a cereal bar, maybe a couple of apples, or I’ll make a salad. I like bokchoy leaves, yellow endive, chilli and coriander with a garlic dressing. I eat at a big table in the restaurant with my laptop so I’m always here if the boys need to ask me something. I have an office downstairs that I never use. 

I have internal meetings. I might talk to suppliers and the general manager of the restaurant. 

Back in the kitchen to get ready for dinner and help the boys with final prep. The momentum of the kitchen starts to pick up and everyone frantically finishes their work. 

Prep stops and we have cleandown.

The boys go on their break for an hour and eat. I’ll have steamed fish and vegetables. Maybe a steak. Sometimes it’s risotto or a small bowl of pasta, just something light.

We check all the fridges and taste every single thing inside: vegetable puree, salad dressings, sauces, rocket, salad leaves, pesto, pizza sauce, veg garnishes. We cook a couple of chips to make sure they’re right, and toast a piece of brioche. We have half an hour to change anything that’s not right. If it’s not right we’ll take it off the menu or fix it. 

7pm – midnight:
Dinner service. I’m in the kitchen until we’ve at least served all the main courses and quite often the desserts too.

I catch up on emails and have a little debrief with the senior chefs. We check the fridges to see everything’s clean, wrapped and labelled. Sometimes if we’ve had a busy day we do a bit of prep for the next day to catch up.

I normally leave the restaurant between 12.30am and 2am. I live in the Marina so it takes me 10 minutes to walk home, or I take the tram. Maybe I’ll have a caprese salad or a bulgur wheat salad when I get home – something really light before I go to bed between 2am and 3am. Cooking at home is not a massive passion for me. If I’ve been cooking all day the last thing I want to do when I get home is stand up and cook.