Jacqui Challinor is Executive Chef of the NOMAD Group where she oversees their much loved and critically acclaimed Sydney Nomad, as well as the newly opened counterpart that has been delighting Melbourne foodies since November 2021.

Prior to leading Nomad to success, Jacqui completed her apprenticeship at Merivale Group eateries Mad Cow and Felix. From here she took her first head chef role at David Tsirekas's mod-Greek diner, Xanthi. 

Jacqui went on to join the opening team of Nomad in 2013 before becoming Head Chef the following year and earning One Chef's Hat in the 2016 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Awards.

The Nomad kitchens famously revolve around a woodfire oven however today Jacqui shares with us a flame-free signature dish that can be found on the menus of both eateries.
 

SPENCER GULF KINGFISH CEVICHE, AVOCADO, FINGER LIME

Serves 4 as a starter

INGREDIENTS
150g Spencer Gulf kingfish, skinned 
1 finger lime, half lengthways seeds removed
1 long red chilli, finely diced
1/4 bunch coriander, roughly chopped
1 eschallot, finely diced
1/4 bunch chives, finely sliced
1/2 avocado
1/2 lime, juiced
20ml milk
50ml olive oil
Fleur de sel top taste
Black pepper, freshly ground to taste
2 pieces Lebanese bread

FOR THE DRESSING
1 small clove garlic, microplaned
Pinch fleur de sel
Pinch caster sugar
50ml lemon juice
15ml chardonnay vinegar
100ml extra virgin olive oil

TO GARNISH
2 sprigs bronze fennel, fronds picked and washed
2 sprigs chervil, leaves picked and washed
Edible flowers (I love society garlic, nasturtium, native violets)
2 cloves garlic to fry

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Drizzle the olive oil over the Lebanese bread and bake for approximately 5 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Set aside to cool.
  2. To make dressing, combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. For the garlic chips, thinly slice garlic and soak in milk for a few hours to remove any bitterness. Rinse, pat dry and gently fry in canola oil until lightly golden.
  4. Remove from oil and drain on paper towel..
  5. For the avocado puree, scoop avocado into the bowl of a food processor, add milk, lime and seasoning. Blitz until well combined, cover and set aside. Make sure the cling film is in contact with the surface of the avocado so it doesn’t go brown.
  6. Remove any bones from the kingfish if necessary and dice into 1cm cubes.
  7. In a bowl, combine the kingfish, finger lime pearls, diced chilli, coriander, chives, diced eschallot, lime juice and enough of the dressing to liberally coat the fish.
  8. Mix well and season to taste.
  9. To serve, spoon kingfish into a bowl and garnish the avocado puree spooned sporadically on top, garlic chips, bronze fennel, chervil and edible flowers.
  10. Serve with the crispy lebanese bread to scoop it all up.