Ash Heeger updates us on the progress of ASH
We caught up with Ash Heeger, owner and head chef of ASH, which is opening in the Publik X Frankie Fenner space next month. Construction for anyone is a headache, for restaurants, it’s a blinding migraine. Ash took five minutes to walk us through the building site and told us about the progress of the restaurant.
First things first, how is the construction of the kitchen going?
Slowly. We’re behind schedule, but you know, to get these things right you have to take your time and do them properly. If you happen to find a restaurant that opened on the day it was supposed to open let me know, because this one isn’t and I haven’t heard of many who have.
Are you happy with the progress so far?
Well, like I said we’re behind schedule, which is not ideal. We actually wanted to be open by now but yes, I am happy with what’s happened so far.
Have there been any major surprises thus far? How have they impacted the overall plans?
There have been a few surprises, more than I can delve into but yes there have been a few setbacks. You never know what’s behind something until you knock it down. So they haven’t changed our plans, but yes there have been a few unexpected surprises.
How do you deal with the stress of any delays and setbacks?
How has this kitchen taken shape in your mind? Is it from working in many different kitchens or did you always know what you wanted?
I think we’re all a product of our environments, so I think it’s a combination of what I’ve thought has worked in the kitchens I’ve worked in in the past and just taken the best part of each. Obviously, I couldn’t have all the toys I wanted but I did win a few arm wrestles, which is good. I think it’s something that’s developed over time with little bits I’ve picked up along the way.
And how has that kitchen plan changed?
It’s actually pretty much the same, to be honest. There’s been one very minor change that’s also been very significant and that is creating a walkway from the kitchen straight to the tables, cutting the pass down the middle, which you don’t really see. I actually haven’t seen anyone do it in South Africa, to be honest. We’ve created an expedited service, which I’ve never seen here either, it’s a very American way of conducting a service, but we’re looking at joining a traditional European-style kitchen and an expedited kitchen service together.
Aside from the construction, how is the progress of everything else? How are you finding staff, crockery, suppliers etc? Is this a form of reprieve from construction?
No it’s definitely not a reprieve in any way. But, in terms of the progress, we’re waiting for a kitchen. Everything else is good to go.
The plates are being kilned and glazed, the staff is waiting to be let into the kitchen, the suppliers are ready to supply, we’re just waiting for the kitchen.
We’re sure you’re tired of hearing this question, but when will the restaurant be open?
[Laughs] No comment.
What keeps you up at night?
A much shorter list would be ‘what doesn’t keep me up at night’.