We catch up with the Nomad crew to hear how the team operates and what keeps them coming into work each day. We also highlight how you can get involved at the charcuterie and open-flame-cooking-focused venue for your next career move.
Nomad is a staple of Sydney’s dining scene and one of the city’s favourite restaurants. After several successful years, the venue’s popularity and the team’s approach to its craft meant it was only a matter of time before the group expanded and opened Nomad Melbourne in 2021.
The philosophy at both venues is simple. Cook great food that people love to eat, using rudimentary (or Nomadic) open-flame cooking techniques, with a focus on charcuterie, too. All the charcuterie is made in-house, and all produce is locally sourced and prepared in-venue. There’s no corner cutting at Nomad, and the team strives to maintain and pass-on crucial industry skills, which are showcased to diners through open kitchens.
Before lunch service begins for the day, we drop in to Nomad Melbourne to find out what it’s like in-venue, day-to-day. We also hear about the workplace culture, and learn about the perks on offer to employees. Nomad is hiring in both Sydney and Melbourne, so we find out why it’s an exciting time to join the team and take some strides in your hospitality career.
Josh Moroney has worked in hospitality for more than 10 years in Sydney, Melbourne and overseas. He initially joined the team at Nomad Sydney in 2016, before a brief stint in China. Moroney says he joined the group because of its focus on teaching charcuterie techniques; and returned to Nomad once he was back in Australia because of the brand’s culture and identity.
“There aren’t many restaurants that make charcuterie at this level, or cook over open flames, and I was always interested in learning about charcuterie. It’s a lot easier to buy, but making it is something we pride ourselves on and offer to employees.” he says. “Culturally, I always tell new staff that we serve food we love to eat, so it’s the food we love to cook. You really see that passion on the plate here. From the first time I ate here, I realised it was somewhere I wanted to work.”
Moroney says the career progression opportunities at Nomad have kept him engaged and helped him continue to learn and build his skills with the brand.
“I started at Nomad Sydney on the garnish section. I was there for a short stint and then moved my way up through the kitchen positions. I went from chef de partie to senior chef de partie, then when I came back from overseas I jumped on as a junior sous chef in Sydney,” he says. “From there, I moved to Melbourne where I helped open Nomad down here and now I’m the senior sous chef in this restaurant.”
And aside from the training and progression opportunities, Moroney says the work-life balance on offer at Nomad is the best he’s experienced in the industry.
“There are a lot of restaurants these days where you work 50, 60 hours. That’s been the culture in hospitality for a while. At Nomad, we’re really trying to change that. We’re doing 38, 40 hour weeks maximum, all single shifts,” he says. “One week you’ll work nights and the next you’ll have day shifts, so you get that consistency with your schedule. Chefs in the industry are getting burnt out with crazy hours so we’re pushing back against that at Nomad.”
Sian Potsig and her partner came to Australia from the UK in 2014. Both on working visas, Potsig found a travel job as a waitress at Nomad Sydney. Eight years later, she’s is the venue operations manager for the group, and her partner is the brand’s beverage director.
“It was never the plan, but I fell in love with Sydney and fell in love with Nomad and the way it operates. Progressing and growing alongside the business has been great, I love it.”
Potsig progressed from waitress to supervisor, assistant venue manager, venue manager and eventually operations manager. She says the culture at Nomad is one where if you want to learn and progress in your career, you’re encouraged to do so and supported if you’re willing to put in the work.
“The opportunities that I’ve been given are ones I’ve been proactive about, but it’s a company where you’re not just a number, you’re a name. Everyone knows each other – I know everyone in the Melbourne and Sydney teams,” she says. “If you want to progress within this company, you definitely can. Especially with new projects we have coming up. The career possibilities are great at the moment.”
Potsig joined the team on her travels and didn’t initially plan to stay in Australia long-term. She says the travel opportunities she’s had at work have been one of the many reasons she’s stayed on board.
“Although Nomad is the one brand, the two restaurants are different, so it’s fun to travel between the two and touch base. I get to do that a couple of times each month,” she says. “In March, I moved to Melbourne for a couple of months to help build the team down here. The company has a rented house in Albert Park right by the beach, it was sunny down here so I had a great time staying there!”
Aside from the progression and travel opportunities, Potsig says the team culture and dynamic makes Nomad one of her favourite workplaces.
“I call us a little family, even though it’s cliche. We bicker like a family, we laugh like a family and we want the best for each other and the team,” she says. “There’s never any pretentiousness. We genuinely all just want the best for each other and the company.”
Like Potsig and Moroney, Jacqui Challinor is a testament to the career progression opportunities on offer at Nomad. She joined the opening team at Nomad Sydney in 2013 as a chef de partie, before a head chef position opened up two years later. Since then, she’s helped build the kitchen teams in both Sydney and Melbourne, crafted menus and grown into her role as group executive chef.
“The owners kept pushing me to take on the head chef role, my family kept pushing me and eventually I figured if I didn’t try, I’d never know. I gave it a crack, I cooked for the owners, they loved the food and I got the job,” she says. “As much as I earned the role, the owners here have always been supportive and given me the space to grow, learn and develop over the years. That was in 2015 and I’ve progressed with the business since then.”
Challinor says that Nomad’s constant growth means the business stays fresh for employees and offers them opportunities that may not exist with less ambitious brands.
“The great thing about us opening a second venue is that there are opportunities and career progression pathways for people, and that helps you keep good people,” she says. “All of us would have eventually reached our ceiling, but the brand growing means the ceiling keeps getting higher. That’s the best part about us growing as a company.”
That growth has seen Challinor take on responsibilities and learn skills she wouldn’t have thought possible without Nomad.
“As I progressed, I stepped into the creative space, experimented with food and found out what my style was. As I get older it’s nice to learn more about the financial aspects of running a business,” she says. “Even engaging with media, being able to do some TV stuff and pushing myself in different areas that I never thought I’d be comfortable with. There are always new challenges in this job and that’s what I enjoy about it now.”
Challinor says one of the most rewarding things about progressing with Nomad has been the opportunity to identify talented staff and help them grow with the brand, too.
“When I’m in the kitchen these days, it’s more in a mentoring kind of role and overseeing things, I see my role now as teaching the team to love food and come at cooking from that approach,” she says. “If you’ve got people who you can see want it, have drive and the ability to learn and own their mistakes, there’s patience and autonomy and areas for growth here. It’s really cool, and one of the things I love most about working here – it’s part of the reason I’m still here today.”
Photography: Ben Moynihan
This article is produced by Scout Jobs in partnership with Nomad.