Jonny Marinovich used to be head chef at Governor’s now he’s flipping burgers out of a food truck.
He’s been head chef at many of New Plymouth’s best-known restaurants, but now Jonny Marinovich is flipping burgers out of a food truck – and couldn’t be happier.
Marinovich was responsible for the menus at Elixir, Frederic’s, Meat and Liquor, Little Glutton, and Governors Eatery and Bar.
Now, after a 10 month stint as a stay-at-home dad, he’s making authentic American burgers at Gamma Ray’s, a converted caravan wrapped in science fiction characters and flying saucers.
“I thought being a stay-at-home dad would be a rest but it wasn’t. It’s hard work looking after a two-year-old,” the 38-year-old said.
“I’ve always loved burgers and the food truck scene and I felt like there was no one doing authentic American-style burgers in New Plymouth.
“I also love sci-fi, especially 1950s sci-fi, so I sort of combined the passions and Gamma Ray’s was the result.”
His menu has a distinctly sci-fi theme, with items on the menu such as customer favourite the Steven Speil-Burger with jerk chicken and slaw, a Pigs in Space pulled pork sandwich, The Cosmonaut reuben sandwich, and the Eggs-traterrestrial grilled sandwich.
“I came up with the names with my partner Rachel. We’re suckers for a good pun and I’m a self-professed sci-fi geek. The combo worked well.
“I like Take ‘Moo’ To Your Leader myself,” he said, referring to the name of the cheeseburger option.
Marinovich said he tried to make as much of what he sells on site, at the corner of Gill and Liardet streets in New Plymouth.
“We make our own burger patties, sour pickles, sauerkraut, salt beef, and syrups for milkshakes. So we try to do as much as we can on site.
“In the first week I had about six regulars, maybe more. It’s great. Word’s getting around.”
During his career Marinovich spent around eight years in Melbourne and London and said the New Plymouth food scene has been great to come back to.
“At the moment it’s pretty amazing, there’s a lot going on. I’ve been privileged to work on a lot of the menus and they are all very different which has been a challenge but exciting.”
As for the change in working environment, Marinovich is enjoying swapping big kitchens for something much smaller.
“It’s a very cool and entertaining environment to be working in. Dealing with the customers is really entertaining, too.
“It’s just like serving mates all the time, really.”