Chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur, father and new Samsung ambassador, Josh Emett, talks about how technology has changed how we eat… or not.
In a world of Instagram and social media, when people sit down for a meal, there’s an urge to share that with the world. Has that meant that you’ve had to really move with the times in some respect? Or is it fundamentally still the same?
My attitude, passion, what I want from people, that hasn’t really changed.
I have a general expectation of discipline, professionalism, honesty and integrity.
In terms of business, you constantly have to evolve. There are all these subtle shifts the whole time. There has to be, you can’t just sit there and stick to your knitting.
As an example, Rata has been doing what it’s been doing for seven years and it’s an amazing business. We make little tweaks and constantly change, but we’re also careful about change. There’s things about Rata that we know people absolutely love. It’s about recognising those bits, but not taking them away. Just adding little extras to keep the interest up.
I guess you get feedback all the time. How do you deal with processing certain feedback, but staying true to what you think is the way to go?
I think over the years, I’ve gotten very emotional about feedback. Sometimes you take criticism hard, sometimes you take it on the chin. I’m getting a little bit older, wiser and hardened to the fact that I can’t necessarily change people’s opinions. I will pick my battles and not let it bother me too much. That’s just life, right? You’re going to win some battles and you are going to lose some battles.
How is the difference in cameras moving to the Samsung Galaxy Note10+?
Brilliant camera, brilliant videos, really easy to use. We do masses of shooting for Instagram. We literally film everything we eat to help people with that pain point of what they are going to eat on a daily, weekly basis. We’re sharing content that helps people say, ‘Brilliant, I’m going to cook that tonight’.
I think it’s just well-known that Samsung phones have better cameras and capture better videos. They do take really good images. Simple as that. We shoot all our food and everything at home, so it’s quite important that we can shoot photos and video and it translates really well. When I did a lamb biryani last week, I must have had 50 people send me the images of their finished version. The recipe works, it was easy. That’s all they want.
Has that visual element changed the way that you prepare food?
No, not really. We cook what we cook and if people like it, they like it. It possibly means we’re more experimental. We look at what dishes people have really loved and give them a different version.
For instance, we did the good old-fashioned chicken pie, a chef-style one. But then we made a cheat’s version, where you buy a roast chicken from the supermarket and just pull the meat off. It’s half the time, really easy and just as delicious.
Social media is a great resource for a bit of data analysis as well. Have you been surprised by trends?
There’s definitely a demand for simple and delicious. We don’t focus too much on taking really beautiful, arty photos. It’s about the quality of the food and the recipe, not necessarily about the beautiful image.
That’s not to say we don’t take some really nice images of the food, but it’s more about helping people get through that day-to-day grind. Cheap, healthy, and fast is what they really want on a weeknight. You’ve got a couple of kids or you’re late home from work, so it needs to be super quick, healthy, taste great and not break the budget.
Chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur, father and new Samsung ambassador, Josh Emett, has achieved a lot in his life already, but by the way that he maximises his time, we can be sure that there is more to come.
What’s your morning routine?
My morning routine is quite tough at the moment. The boys train four days a week for either soccer or water polo. This means we get up at 5:45am to get them ready for the day before they have to go to training. I usually either exercise or work from a cafe around the corner before we drop them off at school at 7:45am.
I’d say most mornings of the week, we’re up before six o’clock and we don’t get a huge amount done, other than getting the boys to school and training before nine o’clock. Then we get stuck in with our day.
With the boys, has there been a bit of a shift in focus for you in terms of your own trajectory and that balance with family?
I’m definitely trying to spend a lot more time with the kids. That morning time is really good. I actually really like it when I’m doing either the drop off or pick up routine. I always go to football training with them because I like to watch what they’re doing, that’s really important. It definitely sets you up for the day.
It’s good getting out of bed before six o’clock. Once you’re in the routine, it really works. It gets to 8:30am and it often feels like you’ve done a lot of stuff before nine o’clock rolls around and everyone else starts working. You get this weird free space, which is actually quite nice.
Those quality times that you spend with your children are amazing. Have you got any advice in terms of being able to carve out that struggle?
I could give advice, but I probably wouldn’t be practicing what I preach. I am trying to get better at spending some time where I’m completely switched off and don’t touch my computer or my phone. But it doesn’t always work. I’m generally quite engaged at dinner times.
There’s three of us in the house; there’s me, Helen, and our au pair, Ashleigh. If those two are on the case with homework and with kids time and various things like that, I end up on the side a little bit. Whereas I think I need to get in there and allocate a little bit more time and help the boys out with homework. But unless I do, they will just get on with it.
It’s good to get the boys out of the house and go down to the park. I take the dog and the football down there and do some exercise with them. They are getting to that age where they’re starting to want to get out and get fit.
Speaking of being on the phone and the laptop, with your world, I imagine that you would have a million things to think about if you could. Do you practice mindfulness or do you try to shutting down and focusing on what you’re doing?
I don’t practice mindfulness as a scheduled thing. I work more on the structure of my day and my week. I try to stay relaxed, I try to take a little bit of time for myself.
I’m hugely focused on exercise and eating well, and less focused on where my head’s at, which I probably need to give a little bit more thought to. I have a tendency to plow through the work, but I know that I need to adjust that thinking to keep things going forward at the pace I want to go.
If you’ve got your diet covered and you’re staying fit, that’s half the battle. But you’ve got to exercise your mind. I need to read more and do various things like that. I’m getting better at it.
There’s so many variables in your world. Is it important for you to have a structure to the day or the week?
I have a calendar that I strictly follow and there’s a list of things I need to tick off during the week. But there’s things, like with anyone’s business, that can keep coming in from different directions. It can be anything from shoots, to interviews, to book stuff, to restaurant things, to events.
The difficult thing for me is that there are a lot of different variables. If I was to stick to one core business, which is running restaurants, that’s one thing. But then you start firing everything else; you’re catering an event, and then you’re doing an interview, or a shoot about something completely different. Whether it’s a brand-based thing, or an alignment, or an ambassador role, or a charitable thing.
I think that gets me bogged down, the amount I take on. It sounds simple in theory. My main charity is Melanoma New Zealand so I stick very firmly to that. I work with BMW, I’ve done that for years. I work with Nespresso, I’ve done that for years. I’ve just started working with Samsung. It doesn’t sound like there’s a lot, but a lot of the small things add up to a lot.
With so many things to juggle, how has the Samsung Galaxy Note10+ helped you become more efficient?
I love the fact that you can customise and play with different layouts of your screen. It’s the details. Once you get everything set up, you’ve got a home screen that has every little app in exactly the right place, in a font that you like and a colour that you like. You can really personalise it.
Even the little things like where you put the Google search or the time, from what time your alarm is set up in the world clock, which I often use because I make international phone calls; things like that are really important to me. Whether it’s time, currency, exchanges, locating things. It’s all the little things. If those things are hard, it makes things more difficult than they need to be.
With all of these moving parts, is it still important for you to have a very clear vision for where you’re going?
I want to work really hard for the next five or 10 years. I want to take on as much as I can possibly take on and really go at it. I’m not at the stage where I’m starting to slow down. I’m more along the lines of thinking that I’ve got until 55 or 60, so I can probably go really hard for the next nine years. I’ve got a lot to do and I don’t want to sit around and wait for things to happen.
And after that, do you think about legacy?
No, I think about enjoying my life and I think about making sure that the kids are well set up. I really enjoy my work. I really enjoy the satisfaction that it gives me, and most of that is hard work. I also think about having a lot of fun along the way. I don’t want to not do the great things that I enjoy doing, whether that’s going to music festivals or taking the time out with the kids, or going for a decent walk, or going on nice holidays. I definitely want to enjoy my life.
I see too many people who hit their 50s and they have health issues. Helen’s dad died at 55 from cancer. Mine died at 65 of cancer. I think both Helen and I are very conscious of living a very full life and enjoying everything. Making it count.
Chef, restaurateur, entrepreneur, father and new Samsung ambassador, Josh Emett, talks about leadership, workplace culture and peeling potatoes.
How would you describe yourself as a leader?
I’m very much about allowing people to do their jobs. Sometimes it’s easier for me to just get in and do it. Especially when trying to train someone to take over from me, especially if they don’t do it quite the way I want it. But it gets to a point where you question, how much is enough? Did the guests notice between what I put on the plate and what they put on the plate? They don’t, so you should stop worrying about it. I also like to allow people to make their own decisions. That’s what I’m there for. If they ask me a question, we’ll figure it out together and come to a decision.
Do you see younger people coming through with this sense of entitlement that people often criticise younger generations for?
I’m still a bit old school and pigheaded. I think that eventually people have to fall in line if they want to start delivering on things. You can go out these days and invent your own job and invent your own career. And that’s great. That’s change taking place, that’s the new world we live in. But if you want to be a chef, there’s certain procedures you’d have to go through to get there. You’re not just going to open restaurants and expect to deliver on a certain standard, because you’re without the proper training and knowledge. Eventually you’ll get found out.
In terms of my profession, I don’t think the staff have a lack of energy. I think people generalise and say, ‘Oh, they don’t want to work.’ I don’t necessarily think that they don’t want to work, I just think they want to work on the things they want to work on. They want to work on things that make them feel good. I think from an employer point of view, you need to figure out what those things are and make sure you’re hitting them.
But if peeling potatoes doesn’t make you feel good, you’ve still got to get them done.
We all have to peel potatoes every now and then, that’s just part of life. But as long as there are other elements in there that tick the boxes, that’ll make them feel good about life.
Going from the potato to supply chain, the transparency, is there more consumer demand to know where the potato comes from? To know where the meat patty comes from?
100 percent. There’s lots of stuff going on in respect to food beyond taste. Especially around plant-based or vegan food, or how much meat we should be eating and what varieties of meat or what fish we should be eating. The messages are mixed and hard to decipher.
That also plays into the restaurants and the business of what we do and what we are trying to cater for. You have UberEats and all these other disruptive things that are either really good for your business, or not so good for your business.
There are a million things going on that you have to consider. But in essence, we’re still running good old fashioned brick and mortar restaurants and we’re catering for experiences. People want experiences still. In fact, they want even better experiences. It’s interesting how it’s changed.
Going back to that culture, as it’s such an important thing to incentivise the new employees coming through and to keep them excited, engaged and productive. Have you got any advice for how you do that?
It’s definitely about creating the right atmosphere at work and getting them passionate about what you’re doing. That can take multiple different forms or ideas, because everyone’s in it for a different reason. They want to do something that they really love and feel good about every day. That’s the key to it.
Make sure that you’ve got people in the right roles, are learning the right things, and have got a good career path where they can see where they’re going. Funnily enough, money’s not always in the mix these days.
In terms of productivity for yourself and the way you are able to work, what has changed for you in your move over to the Samsung Galaxy Note10+?
In certain parts of my life, I don’t like change. I like routine. I like things that don’t disrupt my daily life. But it was probably time for a change. I enjoy really nice new things that have interesting parts to them to play around with.
I use a reasonable amount of things on my phone, but I don’t use a hundred apps or anything like that. I use the things that are really relevant to my life and I use them all the time. I go back to the same stuff every day; whether that’s checking the football scores, or turning on the music in my house, or banking apps, those sorts of things. They need to be really easy and functional.
The biggest thing for me has been signing documents. Almost every day, I feel like I’ve signed another document and used the old school way to scan it. But then with the Galaxy Note10+ you’ve got the S Pen in there, so you can pull it out and sign your life away and send it off. That’s brilliant. You don’t even need to go near a scanner.
And then there’s the ability to take notes, because you can pull out the S Pen and write notes on the Note10+. I’ve made all sorts of notes on everything from food, to what I’m doing at home, to Instagram ideas. Especially when I’m eating out. Every time I eat out, I write notes, I take photos. I’m still old school like that, I write everything down. Sometimes it sits there and I never look at it and other times, I’ll look at it constantly.
The other great thing about that is that you can continue to add to a list. Rather than having a page, you can continue to add notes to the bottom. It’s one reel.
The infinity display is great because I need glasses these days. I can see from a distance, but anything up close, I can’t see so a bigger screen is actually really good for me. It is literally a full screen, which is great.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
My dad always said, it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re in the top 5 percent of anything you do. I think that’s still really good advice. It doesn’t really matter what you do, whether it’s flipping burgers, or doing high end restaurants, or trying to get three Michelin stars, just be at the top in your bracket.
But, I also think it’s about detail. Everything’s always in the detail. Don’t think people don’t notice. Take care of the detail and the rest will take care of itself.
When you have something to say, there’s a of couple things you need to be able to deliver your message effectively. Being comfortable with yourself, confidence, a certain outgoing personality, and a little sensitivity to connect with your audience. Splash in a little mischief to keep things interesting and you have your typical Jimmy Choo man and the philosophy behind their latest fragrance, Urban Hero.
Watch the key ingredients, starting with top notes of lemon caviar and warm black pepper which blends with the rosewood and vetiver heart of the scent. Holding down the base notes is grey amber with the iconic smell of rebellion: leather.
Packaged in a flask shaped bottle with a chrome finish reminiscent of the typical metallic silver paint street artists use, it instantly evokes the contemporary urban spirit of masculinity. With a subtle black logo imprented on it, it adds just a little extra class to set the whole thing off elegantly.
Urban Hero Is available now from Farmers, Smith & Caughey’s, David Jones, Ballantynes, H & J Smith, and selected Life Pharmacies.
I remember as a kid always being interested in the scrawls on walls and what they said. As I got older, my horizons broadened and the graffiti of the suburbs gave way to the catchy iconography of the city street artists. It was a scene that felt like it was in the midst of growth in the late 00’s with BMD and the Cut Collective coming together to form crews throwing up awesome pieces all over our cities.
Internationally big names like Banksy and Obey Giant’s Shepard Fairey were entering the mainstream consciousness. These are world class designers and artists in their own right, speaking to general audiences in a way that Picasso really never could. Sure, Guernica is one of the greatest anti-war paintings of all time, but would anyone even know that without reading an essay about it first?
I’ll plead the fifth on how involved in this scene I got, but the invigoration of what it’s like to have your messages out floating in the world is hard to describe. These days it’s easier to just vandalise the pages of this magazine with my opinions instead.
It’s sort of amazing, but not entirely surprising to see high fashion labels, like Jimmy Choo, take note of this raw creativity. Their latest fragrance, Urban Hero, represented by world renowned street artist Jules Dedet, aka L’Atlas, takes full inspiration from the scene.
“We wanted to create a modern urban signature, in order to capture the spontaneous nature of street art, using blends of colours and textures, the way that street artists do.” explain Antoine Maisondieu and Marion Costero, the creators of the Urban Hero fragrance.
For those not familiar with L’Atlas, his artwork resembles a labyrinthian maze, which is actually a giant stretched slab serif font proclaiming something relevant to the space it’s placed in. Well, sometimes it’s just his name, you’ve gotta give your brand some juice every now and again. With a background in typography, his work generally has strong vertical lines and a crisp bold finish, unlike the splashy bombs you may normally imagine street artists doing. His artwork has appeared everywhere from galleries, private walls and spanning entire public courtyards in some cases.
As a seminal Jimmy Choo man, he exudes the air of mystery and confidence required to hit the streets at night with his craft, or even during the day for his commissioned pieces.
To synthesise these philosophies, Urban Hero starts with top notes of fresh lemon caviar and warm black pepper, which blends with the rosewood and vetiver heart. Holding down the base notes is grey amber with the iconic smell of rebellion: leather.
Packaged, it mimicks the tools of the trade. The top half is metal clad in a chrome finish, its magnetic shade evoking the contemporary urban spirit of masculinity. Its weighted silver cap with chevron print and a subtle black logo add a level of refinement and elegance reminiscent of L’Atlas’s work.
It doesn’t go so far as to contain a metal ball bearing, so I won’t be required to give you any tips on how to muffle the clanking.
Urban Hero Is available now from Farmers, Smith & Caughey’s, David Jones, Ballantynes, H & J Smith, and selected Life Pharmacies.