Meet our resident rock star, Jack Nielsen
In the first of our Meet the Team series, we speak to Curry Leaf Cafe's resident rock star Jack Nielsen about moving to Brighton and working in the service industry…
Where are you from and how did you end up in Brighton?
I'm from Brisbane in Australia and moved to Brighton last year with my band, Animal House.
What made you want to work in the service industry?
I've been working in the service industry since the age of 14, when I got a job flipping burgers at McDonalds. This industry is huge in Brighton, so it was a great place for me to start when I arrived here with a pack on my back.
What was your experience of Indian food before joining CLC?
This is the first time I've ever worked in an Indian restaurant. I ate plenty of Indian food back in Australia, but nothing like this.
Having now worked at the cafe for more than a year, what are your thoughts on Indian food?
Firstly that I have to visit India – purely for the food. People ask me if I get sick of curry, eating it five, six times a week. But I just don’t. The flavours make everything I eat at home taste boring.
Tell us about your band Animal House
We're a four-piece garage rock band. We moved to Brighton together at the start of 2014 – a big move, but well worth it. The scene in Brighton is great. Half the people in the service industry here are in bands.
What’s your favourite Curry Leaf Cafe dish?
The Pork Vindaloo that’s on the current menu – I’ve been lobbying hard to get it back ever since last Christmas. I've never had a curry like it, such a perfectly balanced dish. A lot of people come in because they've been told specifically about that curry.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working or playing music?
I'm never bored in Brighton, it’s an awesome town. It's mostly the people that make it great. I hang out with friends whenever I get the chance.
What's your favourite place to eat in Brighton (aside from the cafe)?
I like eating at [Vietnamese restaurant] Pho. Great food, atmosphere and staff, and it doesn't blow my meagre budget. The winner has to be [Mexican restaurant] La Choza though – that prawn burrito, my god…
What part of your job do you enjoy the most?
The best part about working the front of house is how social and fast-paced it is. I get to talk to thousands of people from all over the place and it's a role that relies on communication, which I love. The other night a table of two shouted "Bye Jack, we love you!” as they were leaving. It may have been the seven espresso martinis they had between them, but it was still nice.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
I've learnt a hell of a lot working at CLC. It's the busiest restaurant I've worked in by far and the only one where I've been a supervisor. The main thing I tend to tell people is that it's actually really easy to sell a product if you think it's good. Some restaurants I've worked in have been terrible and you have to pretend it's great to the customers – I was never any good at that. I could preach Curry Leaf Cafe to the public all day. And I'm not even being paid to write this, honest…