Chewing The Fat: JIM CASEY

Jim, you’re a chef by trade, can you tell us a bit about your career to date?

When I was eight I got my first kitchen job washing dishes for a cafe in Glenelg where my mum worked. My payment was a bowl of hot chips and a milkshake, which wasn’t all that bad at the time until mum sacked me for not turning up one day! In my defence it was a scorching 47 degrees so I decided to go to a mate’s house for a swim instead. My mum taught me a valuable lesson that day in work ethic and responsibility. Entering my teens, chips and milkshakes weren’t going to provide me with much of an allowance. So, I got a job at the local Pizza Hut at the age of fourteen. 

After high school I studied at Regency Tafe in Adelaide and then picked up an apprentice chef role. Following this, I worked in the Adelaide pub scene before settling at the Eagle on the Hill hotel as a sous chef in my early twenties. However, the travel bug itch needed to be scratched, so I took off around the country spending most of my time in Western Australia where Kate and I met. 

After that, I looked further abroad and did a year stint in Canada before returning to work and live in Fremantle, WA. I spent a  few years running a local restaurant before deciding it was time for a change. This is when I headed to the mines, chasing a bit more work/life balance which ultimately paved the way for Little Acre Foods to be born. 

How and when did Little Acre Foods start? 

Little Acre Foods Started in 2013 after we moved back to SA from WA. After getting married here in late 2012 we decided it was now or never to move back. Kate had one condition though, that I had to do something for myself, not just get another job working as a chef. 

This got me thinking of popular menu items on my menus over the years, Chicken liver pate was always a staple across my menus over the years and was a fan favourite. After a night drinking the Cantina Sociale in Adelaide I suggested to them that their menu was missing something, a good pate. I was told “if you make it and it’s good we’ll put it on the menu.” Challenge accepted I thought! The next morning, feeling quite dusty I started working on Little Acre’s very first jar of pate. They tasted it – The rest is history.

What was the first charcuterie that you made?

Chicken liver Pate followed by the rabbit rillettes we made for our wedding, other than that our range has evolved through self directed learning and exploration.

What does living and working in McLaren Vale mean to you?

I grew up in McLaren Vale, so returning to work and raising our children here is fantastic. The area has so much to offer; stunning beaches, world class wineries, great food culture, stunning sunsets – The list goes on. 

What keeps you busy outside of Little Acre?

Being a Dad and trying to be a good husband.

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