Sydney's top chefs to 'Cook for the Bush' and raise funds for Red Cross bushfire appeal

Chef Jacqui Challinor (left) and Nomad co-owners Rebecca and Al Yazbek.
Chef Jacqui Challinor (left) and Nomad co-owners Rebecca and Al Yazbek. Photo: Petrina Tinslay

Nomad chef Jacqui Challinor is bringing Sydney's best restaurant talent together to raise money for communities affected by bushfires.

To be held at Nomad and other Surry Hills venues on Sunday, Cook for the Bush will feature more than 35 chefs including Colin Fassnidge, Guillaume Brahimi, Peter Gilmore (Quay), James Viles (Biota), Duncan Welgemoed (Africola), Danielle Alvarez (Fred's), Nic Wong (Icebergs Dining Room and Bar) and Federico Zanellato (Lumi).

"For weeks, I've been wondering what I could to do help with the bushfire emergency, so on Sunday night I started texting people and the response was overwhelming," says Challinor. "Now it's just a question of how big we can go."

Nomad popped up in former Longrain when a fire swept through the restaurant in 2019.
Nomad popped up in former Longrain when a fire swept through the restaurant in 2019.  Photo: Petrina Tinslay

With all proceeds to be donated to the Red Cross bushfire appeal, the event will feature brunch at Nomad for 450 people (reservations are already at capacity), takeaway stalls and a bake sale.

"I've even had Instagram messages from little kids wanting to bake cupcakes," says Challinor.

"Right now, we're running around trying to find room for everyone who wants to help. The Chin Chin guys have offered us use of their bar, so we might run the bake sale out of that, and Harpoon Harry hotel is providing space, too.

"We have also been generously offered the rooftop at Paramount House, while [hospitality group] Merivale is very kindly donating all the drinks."

Challinor also hopes to set up an oyster bar on the Paramount rooftop, selling bivalves supplied by bushfire-affected south coast farmers.

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"We might also send the Tio's Cerveceria boys up there to make cocktails, with Marty Boetz [Cooks Co-op] and Spice I Am's Sujet Saenkham on curry and papaya salad duty."

Cook for the Bush comes after a fire swept through Nomad's kitchen in September, forcing the Commonwealth Street restaurant's temporary relocation to the former Longrain site nearby.

"I was humbled after the [Nomad] fire by how much the restaurant community reached out to help us," says Challinor. "This is just like that, but on steroids."

Cook for the Bush will run from 10am to 3pm on Sunday, January 12 at Nomad Up the Road, 85 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills.

The full line-up of talent confirmed to date includes:

Danielle Alvarez (Fred's)
Joel Bickford (Aria)
Martin Boetz (Cooks Co-op)
Andy Bowdy (Saga)
Guillaume Brahimi (Bistro Guillaume)
Nathan Brindle (Ester)
Jacqui Challinor (Nomad) 
Julian Cincotta (Butter)
Corey Costelloe (Rockpool Bar and Grill)
Colin Fassnidge
Peter Gilmore (Quay)
Alex Gilmour (Tio's Cerveceria)
Travis Harvey (OzHarvest)
Alex Herbert (Bird Cow Fish)
Graeme Hunt (Chin Chin)
Hamish Ingham (Banksii)
Sam Kane (Bert's)
Ibrahim Kasif (Stanbuli)
Stefano Marano (Apollo)
Mike McEnearney (Kitchen by Mike)
Rhiann Mead (Bennelong)
Michael Nicolian (Continental Deli, Bar and Bistro)
James Viles (Biota)
Alessandro Pavoni (Ormeggio at the Spit)
​Luke Powell (Bella Brutta)
Alex Prichard (Icebergs Dining Room and Bar)
Michael Rantissi (Kepos Street Kitchen)
Sujet Saenkham (Spice I Am)
Sharon & Carol Salloum (Almond Bar)
Somer Sivrioglu (Anason)
Max Smith (Cho Cho San)
Stuart Toon (Rocker)
Jarrod Walsh (Hartsyard)
Aaron Ward (Sixpenny)
Duncan Welgemoed (Africola)
Jason White (Firedoor)
Nic Wong (Icebergs Dining Room and Bar)
Federico Zanellato (Lumi)