“Be ready to be run into the ground, don’t give up it pays off”
Name: Joel Bennetts
Occupation: Chef/Photographer
Hometown: Maroubra Beach
Currently Location: Bondi Beach


AR went to interview Joel Bennetts, known on Instagram for his beautiful photos but to our surprise we came out learning he was a chef and a passionate one! Joel left school when he was 15 yrs old and went into the food industry to become a chef. He landed his 3 year apprenticeship at Pier, Rose Bay. Joel showed us a book from Pier and there is a definite similarity in the way the food was presented and his photography today. Clean and minimal.

Joel is inspired mostly by the sea. He grew up near the sea his whole life and loves surfing. Joel stumbled across a box of old film photography his mother has stashed away and he was inspired by her creativity. These days he uses either film or his iPhone using Optrix when in the water. Just goes to show sometimes, it’s about having a good eye and the subject mater rather than the tool. AR spent the afternoon with Joel and his girlfriend Yan, in their Bondi Beach apartment.

When I was… about 5-7 I think I wanted to be a professional BMX rider, growing up in the Blue Mountains had a huge outdoor influence on mine and my brothers lives. Ever Since then I’d wanted to do something in nature, turns out I became a chef and spent most hours of the day inside.

The mentors/heros in my life when I was growing up were… my two older brothers and my parents. Seeing how much my parents did for us really inspired me to help people at different stages of life.

The studies I took to get where I am… I started my apprenticeship when I was 15, did a year in the kitchen then started Tafe 1 day a week, which was a two and a half year course. Apart from that its been working around the city and learning off other chefs.

I’m most creative when I’m… with someone else creative.

The tools I can’t live without… Knives! My 9’6 long board.

I’m inspired by… the sea.

I’m currently reading… nothing.

The website I hang out on the most… trying to build my own.

I’m currently listening to… Tame Impala.

My favourite place in the world… haven’t found it yet.

I would like to travel… Japan.

My travel essentials are… headphones, camera, pen ‘n’ paper.

One thing I would like to do but haven’t got around to it yet… build an entire room from wood.

The obstacles that have come my way… losing my mother.

The highlights over the past 12 months have been… going to Sri Lanka with my best mate.

The latest project I’m working on… a big new kitchen role

Advice I have to share for those who want to get into this profession… be ready to be run into the ground, don’t give up it pays off. I swear, even if you do 80hr weeks for 2 years.

Do What You Want… to the best of your ability, because it will always make you happiest



Photos: Katie Kaars

Interview: Michelle Owen

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