Better Together With Jacqui Lim
Kicking things off is Jacqui Lim: food advocate, connector of people with food, through food, and diner at more than 350 ever-changing Top 100 and Top 50 restaurants around the country, plus a number of World’s 50 Best and Michelin Star restaurants. If there’s a person who’s passionate about food, she’s it and we wanted to know more.
I’m passionate about the food and wine industry. I like to refer to myself as a ‘food advocate’ and I see my purpose in life being connecting people with food and connecting people through food - whether it be organising food and wine events, sharing my experiences on Instagram, writing for my website, or just getting friends together to enjoy a meal.
I guess I’m simply a person who’s dedicated their life to eating out a lot, in fact I’m the only person who’s eaten at every Gourmet Traveller Top 100 restaurant in the country, and in the process, dined at over 350 Top 100 restaurants.
What does it mean to be Australian to you?
Being Australian is who I am. I’m a third generation Australian-born-Chinese on my mum’s side. My mum was born in Broome and my brother and I were born in Tassie. I feel extremely fortunate – we are certainly the lucky country.
Tell us about your work as a Food Advocate? What was the inspiration to begin down the path of Food Advocacy?
Well, I use the term ‘advocacy’ because I dislike the term ‘blogger’ and dislike the term ‘influencer’ even more – just because of the negative perceptions some people have when they hear those words.
Restaurants are my thing – they are where I feel the happiest and I feel like I’m in my natural habitat. Chefs, I have all respect for because firstly these are people who have dedicated their lives to what I enjoy the most! So for me, talking about them and sharing my experiences is just a natural thing to do.
I expect nothing from it, I just want to share the joy.
Tell us about Soi.38? What was the inspiration in starting such a beautiful space and what makes you guys a bit different?
The restaurant began serving street food snacks and dishes that couldn’t be found on the usual Adelaide Thai restaurant menus and over the years it’s evolved – the food has been elevated to showcase the dishes of Thailand’s regions, history and ethnic minority groups.
We highlight the best of local produce – for example, chicken and beef from Nomad Farms, pork from Boston Bay Small goods and pasture-raised eggs from Farmer Falkai.
For me it’s really just about sharing my food experiences. Being genuine, maintaining integrity, staying true to my brand. I just want to showcase good restaurants, chefs and produce. It’s about connecting people with good food – If I have a great experience, I want people to be able to experience it too. Whether it’s through my Instagram, my blog or organising an event, it’s about showcasing great food and great people.
What are some of your favourite bars and restaurants in Adelaide?
There are so many places I love and recommend to people. Current favourite restaurants include:
- Soi.38 (of course)
- Botanic Gardens Restaurant
- Wah Hing
- Fino Vino
- Mt Lofty Ranges Vineyard
- The Lane Vineyard
- Maxwell Wines
I don’t go to bars that often, but Paloma in Peel Street does the best Pisco Sour.
If you had to pick your favourite meal across Australia, what would it be?
That’s a tricky one as it depends on if you’re talking about the food itself or the overall experience.
Some of my most memorable dining experiences would be Vue de Monde in Melbourne, Lumi Dining in Sydney, the first time I went to Momofuku in Sydney, and sitting up at the sushi bar at Minimashima in Melbourne.
Favourite and most memorable dishes include:
- The Iced Oyster at Brae – it blew my mind!
- The Wallaby Tail with black bean and chilli they used to do at Billy Kwong
- The duck dish at Restaurant Hubert – the duck had been roasted and stuffed with duck sausage and served with pickled cherries and dijon jus
Tell us about being a part of Eat Easy. Why is it important to be a part of such a unique awards program?
I’m really excited to be involved. I feel very honoured to be on the judging panel and for me, it’s recognition for ALL of that eating I’ve done over the years and, most importantly, being acknowledged as someone credible in the food scene. I see it as a culmination of all the things I’ve been doing leading up to now.
It’s celebrating good people doing good things in food. People demonstrating a commitment to being environmentally conscious, using responsible practices, and making sure our natural resources aren’t depleted.