Forbes Find: How Arkhé is heating up Adelaide’s dining scene


Nestled within the streets of Adelaide’s Norwood on The Parade, nothing can prepare you for dining at Arkhé – the lovechild of one of Australia’s hottest young chefs.

At the heart of Arkhé’s culinary experience is the bespoke wood-fire oven, a three-tonne behemoth that serves as the engine of creativity for head chef Jake Kellie and his team.

No gas, no electricity, just flames – and in Kellie’s words – “It gets bloody hot”.

The result is a menu that transcends traditional boundaries, offering dishes imbued with the unique character of smoke and flame. And while you’d be forgiven for thinking that means Arkhé’s menu would be meat-centric and one-dimensional, you couldn’t be further from the truth.

Instead, Kellie has crafted a selection that highlights the versatility of his cooking method. Seafood and vegetables receive as much attention as meat, each dish graced with the subtle touch of smoke or the direct kiss of flame, adding depth and complexity to their flavours.

Before laying his roots down in Adelaide, Kellie was making a name for himself on the international stage, with apprenticeships in the kitchens of Gordon Ramsay, Brett Graham and Heston Blumenthal.

It was winning the 2017 San Pellegrino Young Chef Award in Southeast Asia that really saw things heat up for Kellie, who quickly signed on as the head chef of Burnt Ends – a modern Australian barbecue restaurant in Singapore – that received its first Michelin star under his leadership and was named in the ‘World’s 50 Best’.

With the CV intact, Kellie returned to Australia to spend time with family on the Central Coast.

“If you’ve got happy staff and happy customers, everything else speaks for itself.”

Jake Kellie

A move further south saw his time split between a wine bar and a popup food truck down at beloved Port Adelaide brewery, Pirate Life, before Kellie and business partner Martin Palmer pulled the trigger on Arkhé.

“The passion was already there; the concept in my mind was already there,” Kellie says.

“We only cook over fire, and we don’t have any gas or electricity on our cooking line – It is very labour intensive, very stressful, very hot. We have 45 staff on our books, and it’s a lot of moving parts.”

Like his cooking method, Kellie’s philosophy is simple. “If you’ve got happy staff and happy customers, everything else speaks for itself.”

Arkhé & friends

More recently Kellie has unveiled his latest project – a collaboration series dubbed “arkhé & friends”.

This year-long event, starting this month, is supported by Laphroaig Whisky and will feature a variety of world-renowned chefs. The series is designed to showcase a multitude of cooking styles and culinary philosophies through monthly events, each presenting a different guest chef.

Each event in the series will cater to varied tastes and budgets, offering everything from intimate dinners to larger culinary showcases.

Head chef Jake Kellie

The series kicks off with chefs Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate, who are celebrated for their Argentine grill techniques.

They will join Kellie in creating a four-course fire-cooked menu, complemented by Laphroaig cocktails and whisky tastings. Future events will include chefs like Vaughan Mabee, Rosheen Kaul, and James Lowe, further enriching the dining experience with a blend of local and international culinary talents.

This story featured in Issue 10 of Forbes Australia. Tap here to secure your copy.

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