Meet the Chef: Glen File, Onslow

Onslow, sister restaurant to The Oyster Inn, is the culmination of chef and owner Josh Emett’s journey from London to New York and back to New Zealand. A landmark site steeped in history, Onslow refers to the Old World but is a modern, sophisticated and relaxed restaurant that celebrates New Zealand’s provenance.

Glen File, the head chef at Onslow, has also experienced the world, cooking in the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe.

“Like most chefs, I started cooking early. I was lucky enough to get a day off school when I was 17 to do some work experience at a place called The Thirsty Bull.

“They used to cook all sorts in a sandwich press - steak, chicken, you name it.”

Since then, File has headed the kitchens at venues like Baduzzi in Auckland and the Boulcott St Bistro in Wellington.

File described his style of cooking as “classic comfort food with a modern twist.”

“I try to use quality local ingredients and apply classic techniques to create an ultimately delicious dish. I like to keep things simple on the plate and let the ingredients shine.”

While he might like to keep things simple, File loves to innovate and has used the lockdown to upskill himself, researching and developing his skills in the kitchen.

The lockdown has also been used to focus on the restaurant.

“We have tried our best to use the time to look at all aspects of the business and make improvements to be more efficient and sustainable in the future.”

Onslow is located on the ground floor of the international building, and although takeaway wouldn’t suit the menu, the team was able to pivot some offerings.

“We started offering residents in our building take-home meals on Fridays and Saturdays, managed by myself and a very small kitchen team.

“We settled on classic comfort dishes like Beef Cheek pie and Chicken Parmigiana which has been a real hit.”

Although File is excited to reopen, he believes some uncertainty will continue when the lockdown lifts.

“Are people going to get back to some sort of routine when it comes to dining out? When will the borders open, and what will that bring?

“Staff is the real issue the industry faces now and in the future. There just aren’t enough people in the industry and no real plan of addressing the shortage.

“Costs are another challenge as food prices and wages are consistently going up which will have to pass on to the customers for restaurants to survive.”

File would like to open his own restaurant one day, but said: “we’ll just have to wait and see.”

“I’m passionate about the industry and want to continue to learn and upskill myself and create great food for people to enjoy.

“I’d love to figure out how to give something back to the industry and encourage people to start a career as a chef.”