Is Mercado's Nathan Sasi Sydney's Renaissance Man?
Fine dining, ice cream, fashion — this man gets things done.
in partnership with
When Nathan Sasi isn't cooking up a storm as the head chef at inner-city fine-dining restaurant Mercado, he's overseeing Good Times Artisan Ice Cream. When he's not doing that, he's collaborating with Lynx and designer Felix Chan to design accessories for Lynx's Find Your Magic collection. That's quite a number of hats to wear. And that's what makes him Sydney's renaissance man – he's clever, detail-focused, enthusiastic and can take on as many projects as he likes. He gets things done, and he gets them done well.
Whether he's working in the kitchen, whipping up imaginative flavours in his ice cream shop or dabbling in the sartorial world, Sasi's entire existence focuses on showcasing his own personal style. We wondered, how does he balance so many projects? And how does he ensures that he expresses his individuality in everything he does?
"You have to be passionate," he says. "Having a sense of confidence – not arrogance – with your style helps you pull of your look." Whether it's fashion, food, or life in general, Sasi says your style has to suit your personality. He says being passionate about what you do helps you to be persistent and reach your goals, and it also helps with the ability to juggle several different projects somewhat easier, or at least worthwhile.
"Just go for it," is the advice he followed when it came to realising his childhood dream of selling everyone's favourite frozen sweet treat at Good Times. "Growing up I actually wanted to be a dentist or a lawyer," Sasi notes. But, "I always dreamt of having my own ice cream parlour, really so I could have an endless supply of ice cream."
Sasi didn't just dream big though. He was also practical and thorough, and knew what worked best for him. His two food-focused roles are all about perfecting every element of the eating experience in a creative and unique way, from the Spanish-style dishes available at the former to hand-made ice cream served at the latter. "Becoming a chef was something I knew I was going to work towards actually becoming," he advises. "Once I developed my style of cooking with learning the art of making everything from scratch — charcuterie, cheese, vinegars, you name it — I knew that I wanted to extend that outside of the kitchen and typical restaurant setting. That's where the dream of really owning an ice cream parlour came about."
It was while he was waiting for Mercado to come to fruition that Good Times became a reality, with Sasi forging ahead — or just going for it — when the opportunity arose. "I was waiting for the build of Mercado Restaurant to be completed, and with time up my sleeve and a vacant space in a prime location in Potts Point, I decided I would give it a crack," he says.
Give it a crack, he did. Good Times made a splash as soon as it opened its doors back in February. Sasi makes all the bases from scratch with pure cream and milk rather than pre-made powered mixes, along with using top quality ingredients for the garnishes. He found his inner magic and infused it into Good Times — and it's that outlook that inspired Lynx to come calling for a collaboration. He often alters his own clothes to create a little uniqueness, saying "people own the right to express themselves through their fashion choices, through their accessories and personal style."
His own look is a blend of "old school gentlemen with a touch of rock and roll," which shines through in his collaboration with Chan. The line of silk pocket squares, checked socks and patterned ties they've designed together doesn't just try to convey Sasi's particular style, but aims to share his way of looking at the world.
"I think to some degree, cooking and fashion go hand in hand. Chefs are putting what they create with heart and soul onto a plate for restaurant reviewers and diners to critique, so they tend to just do what they love, what feels right — and don't fuss too much about what others think, providing they are doing what is true to them."
"You learn early on that you aren't always going to please everyone, and I think the same goes with fashion," he says. "If we didn't take risks and love being creative in the kitchen then we probably wouldn't be chefs."
Or in Sasi's case, chefs, ice cream parlour owners and accessory designers.
Published on September 09, 2016 by Sarah Ward