This week, I’d like to introduce you to Frank Camorra, one of Australia’s most celebrated chefs and owner of the MoVida stable of restaurants in Melbourne and Sydney.
Born in Barcelona, Frank and his family migrated to Australia when he was just five years old. After a trip to his birthplace in 2000, Frank was inspired to bring back a taste of Spain and led a tapas revolution from MoVida, a restaurant he opened on a cobbled Melbourne laneway.
Since then Frank has written several books and his empire has grown to include MoVida Next Door, MoVida Sydney, MoVida Aqui, Paco’s Tacos and Bar Pulpo. He has also recently partnered with the City of Maribyrnong to highlight the culturally diverse produce and authentic experience of the Footscray Fresh Food Markets.
Once a Maribyrnong local, Frank Camorra knows Footscray Market inside and out. “Like all good markets, the atmosphere is fast paced, loud and vibrant. The contrast of exotic delicacies against the wide range of general produce is what keeps me coming back – it’s authenticity and accessibility at its best” said Frank.
This is a day in Frank’s life.
The Daily Routine of Frank Camorra, Chef and Owner of MoVida
I’m not really an early riser. After many years of late finishes in the kitchen, I’m used to going to bed late and sleeping in. The first thing I do in the morning is to put the stove top coffee maker on, I always have two cups, one before my shower and one after. I never eat breakfast.
I drop into the kitchens at Movida and Movida Next Door and meet with the head chefs to discuss any issues from maintenance to menu, specials and staffing.
I then go to the Movida offices above Misty Bar, which is next door to Movida. Mornings are usually spent doing admin.
I’m helping out with lunch service at Movida Aqui which is at the opposite end of the city. I usually get there as lunch service is starting and take over the pass (organisation of the orders in and food out). At Movida Aqui, we serve traditional Spanish food such as paellas made with slow cooked sofrito, chorizo and mussels.
During lunch I also pop over to Pacos Tacos, opposite Movida Aqui, to talk to the chefs. I always find time for a quick taco, which I like to call an aperitif.
My role has become more about quality control these days and mentoring and supporting the head chefs.
Service in the restaurants winds down now so I like to take the opportunity to indulge in staff lunch with the crew which is usually simple tasty dishes. Today was a lamb curry rice, pickled veg, salad and rice.
Return to the Movida office to check emails and deal with outstanding issues.
These days I’m trying to be a lot healthier so I head the gym a few times a week normally for a 45min – 1hour session. I find it’s the best way to relieve stress.
I meet with the evening chef crew to talk about the nights specials, menu and staffing.
Finish for the day. No evening service for me.
I drop into Footscray Market or Little Saigon. These have some of my favourite places to shop in Melbourne and are luckily open much later than any of the other markets. I pick up some fruit and vegetables and take the chance to look around for new and exotic ingredients to incorporate into my menus.
Tonight I cooked dinner for myself and a friend and made a Menestra which is braised Mediterranean vegetables with tomato and cured pork.
I popped down to my local bar in Rathdowne St, Geralds Bar, for a quick glass of wine and a chat.
Back to bed.