Meet the Chef: Jack Stott, Depot

“When you’ve got great quality produce at your fingertips, you want to let it shine,” said head chef Jack Stott at Depot Oyster Bar & Eatery.

Growing up around a wide variety of fresh food and seasonal ingredients, Stott was intrigued by different cultures within cooking food. Inspired by his mother's home cooking, Stott discovered his passion for creating in the kitchen at a young age. With his love for anything simple and fresh, his approach to cooking showcases simplistic brilliance in flavours. Informality and playfulness are fundamentals within Depot’s kitchen, where Stott enjoys lifelong friendships and consistently challenges his creativity.

Stott explained that the food at Depot reflects Kiwi classics, the food to be shared with your nearest and dearest. Depot refreshes old dining traditions with generous and rustic food, a relaxed atmosphere, and wine served in tumblers. Showcasing the fantastic produce from New Zealand growers and farmers is something the venue is proud to deliver. 

“I think the challenge for us in the kitchen is taking those food memories from our childhood, taking all that nostalgia, and turning it into something delicious. We have been playing around with a fire-roasted marshmallow ice cream for a new dessert which is just delicious and takes me right back to the beachfront sunsets around the bonfire, with a bag of Pascals at the ready,” said Stott.

Depot is big on sustainability, especially nose-to-tail eating. They challenge people’s ideas on what is worth eating. Without wasting the cut-aways, Stott cooks with hocks, beef tongues, fish wings, venison cheeks, and more. Stott and his team are aware of the risks taken at the expense of the environment, which is why they will continue to offer the ‘less-desirable’ cuts and free-range, line-caught produce.

There is so much goodness and flavour that Stott would not want to waste, and he claimed it’s his job to show people that.

So far, the biggest challenge in his career has been COVID. With limited numbers of customers and limited access to food and services, Stott felt the strain of the labour shortage among hospitality workers. Adjusting their trading hours and reducing work time helped to get through challenging times. Coming out the other side, Stott is excited to bring personality and vibrancy back to Depot.

Chefs dedicate so much of their time in pursuit of flavour, Stott claimed, where within the hospitality community, relationships grow. After making life-long friendships and meeting his partner through his work, Stott feels lucky to call his friends his whanau. Finding passion in the industry is a big piece of advice from Stott for those interested in the work. He claimed that most of the fun comes from pushing boundaries, exploring, learning, and making mistakes. Stott aspires to continue learning and growing as a cook and a person. With a growing idea to open a restaurant with his partner one day, Stott looks forward to exciting prospects in his cooking career.