We’ve been told countless times: Play with fire, you’ll get burnt. Jake Kellie must have missed that memo. As head chef of Burnt Ends, he thrives on seeing meat go up in smoke and flames.
“I like the endless amount of opportunity with fire,” says the 27-year-old. “Whether you smoke, slow-roast, or cold-smoke, you get flavours that you won’t get in a pan.”
Almost everything comes out of the custom-built ovens that are kept blazing at 750 deg C. Take the smoked quail eggs. Usually the side show to the main dish, they are a star in their own right here. The eggs are springy with a delicate, molten yolk. Topped with caviar for extra indulgence, these smoky morsels show off what a hint of smoke and flame can do.
The four-tonne, dual cavity oven is fuelled only by Jarrah wood. The sturdy timbre burns well in the oven, and turns out good coals for the grills. “Apple and cherry woods are very interesting, but if you put them in the oven at such high heat, those woods will incinerate in five minutes,” says Kellie.
“They are good for smoking, but not for burning down and creating flavours,” he adds.
Kellie might be a master of coaxing meat over hot grills, but the Australian native has a resume that includes high-end restaurants such as Maze by Gordon Ramsay, and The Ledbury in London. “I try to put myself in different environments. To me, the various skills you gain from different kitchens is a unique tool,” shares Kellie.
His first chef de partie role was at The Ledbury. Kellie trained under Brett Graham in one of London’s most esteemed fine-dining institutions. “What I’ve learnt from Brett is how he puts his staff and customers before himself. The staff is happy, and it creates a constant energy that passes on to the customers,” says Kellie.
Jake Kellie is one of the chefs who put Burnt Ends on the map. You won’t be able to book the restaurant anytime soon, but you can sample Kellie’s cooking at the upcoming Margaret River Gourmet Escape (this link can only be viewed by Keyyes members on mobile devices) this November.
He will be using native produce like marron (a type of crayfish), bush tomatoes and wagyu for a one-night-only lunch and dinner held at The Safari Club, a charming barn surrounded by — you guessed it — Jarrah trees.
Making a trip there might be a good chance for first-timers to try Kellie’s food, considering how Burnt Ends is booked solid for the next four months. You can book a seat via the Keyyes Membership App.
Everything that comes out kissed by flames is gold. From the smoky quail eggs, to luscious bone marrow buns and hearty steaks. Our tip: Save some room for pie. This berry-studded frangipane concoction is a recipe by executive chef Dave Pynt’s wife, Katrina. The short crust pastry is buttery and rich. The berries, generous and bursting with sweetness. Only available on Fridays and Saturdays for lunch, though you might get a slice for dinner if the pies don’t sell out. Don’t count on chance.