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Hello Gorgeous: Peter Gunn, Chef at Ides Melbourne

LUXE chats to former Attica sous chef Peter Gunn about his soon-to-open resto, chefs as servers and keeping the pop-up attitude in a permanent locale.

Last year we ranked Melbourne’s perennially popular pop-up Ides as one of the toughest-to-land, yet still under-the-radar tables in the world. Taking place just once a month and requiring a booking some 6+ months in advance, Ides has been among the most coveted epicurean experiences in this culinary crazed city. But now (gourmands rejoice!), the man behind the pans, Attica alum Peter Gunn, has opted to open his own permanent place – an intimate 36-seat, degustation-only diner in sup-tastic Collingwood on 16 March 2016.

We had a quick prattle with the young Gunn about what’ll be on the menu, maintaining the pop-up spirit and where else in Melb he’s chowing down.

So you’re going from pop-up to a permanent resto, what can we expect at the new Ides?

Just more of the same energy really. We have been doing the pop-ups for 3 years and that kind of ‘just do it’ approach – that ‘this is what we have and this is going to be a dish tonight’ mentality is going to be the same in the new place.

A good example of that is this concept we’re bringing in called 1 Day Sunday – once a month we’ll flip the whole restaurant, change the dining style and service, and kind of pop up in our own restaurant. That, for me, is what Ides is all about, mixing it up, keeping us on our toes, and the energy of bringing it all together.

What do you like best about the new space?

My favourite part is an area in the middle of the dining room that we’re jokingly calling the ‘super pass’, which’ll be used for different prep depending on the menu. I like it because it kind of connects the whole restaurant and let’s the team see the diners and vice versa but doesn’t make you watch a whole bunch of chefs cooking.

And what’re you most looking forward to about having your own restaurant?

Being in one place! Not spending a fortune on breakages or lost stuff. Just not having to pack everything up at the end of the night is a treat for us.

What dish are you really excited about?

That’s like asking a dad what kid he likes best! I don’t have a favourite, in fact I’m not 100% sure what’s going to be on the menu next week. Sometimes the dishes will change from one night to the next and other times they may stay on for a bit.

Will the chefs still be serving the food like they did at the pop-ups?

Yeah they will – of course I could tell you it’s because that’s the way we like to do it and to be fair it, that engagement is important, but really is because we have no money to pay more staff. It’s all hands on really!

And the pour pairings, will there still be a focus on boutique and unusual vintages? (answered by Ides wine wiz Raffaele Mastrovincenzo)

Yes, I like to serve wines from smaller producers. They’re sticking to their own identity and that’s a better match to Peter’s food which has that same energy. Sometimes we discover something so good, the food matches the wine rather than the other way round. But it also won’t always be about wines or alcohol pairings – you can expect water, tea, beer, spirits, sake and who knows what else to hit the table.

Where else do you love to eat in Melbourne? (back to Pete)

I love the food scene in Melbourne and I’m just so honoured to have my own place in this city now. There are so many great places, but for the last month I have been living in Huxtaberger and Biggie Smalls. They’re my neighbours and have kept me going.

What international restaurant are you hankering to eat at?

I was blown away at Alinea and would love to go back there after the re-vamp. That was a dining experience that just impacted on every level, from the way I made the reservation, to the arrival, the welcome, the service, the food.  If anyone reading this gets to Chicago, GO THERE!
Ides opens on Wednesday 16 March. Booking are currently being taken via their website.

Ides, 92 Smith St, Collingwood, Melbourne. +61 3 9939 9542, dinner Wed-Sun,

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