Oliver Grand
Mens Life & Style

The Curious Chef | Meet Biota’s, James Viles

It’s very hard to describe James Viles without including the word ‘overachiever’ somewhere. At 23, he was one of the youngest chefs to be awarded a Chef’s Hat from Bowral’s The Schoolhouse. In six years, he jetsetted around the globe, working with 110 chefs and five internationally acclaimed restaurants. April 2011, he launched his own restaurant, Biota Dining. It’s enough to make anyone take a step back in awe; or maybe take a step closer to try and soak up some of his talent.

james viles re size

James Wears Emporio Armani Knit and Tee | Photo by Trevor King | Shot on location at Biota Dining

Cooking to me is…
Curious, freedom, creative, resourceful, respectful

If you could describe yourself as a dish. What would it be?
Not quite sure, I guess it would be calculated and free form, I enjoy life to be just that. Free from complication and hassle with space to create and reflect.

Can you talk us through the meaning behind Biota and why this so aptly represents the venue?
Biota means quite simply the balance of animal and plant life of a particular region, and our restaurant is simply the vehicle to connect people with ingredients from Mother Nature.

Our restaurant is simply the vehicle to connect people with ingredients from Mother Nature

You’ve received many awards, what do all the accolades mean for you?
They are nice, however at Biota we all cook for one common goal, to tell the story of our region and re-define regional Australian cuisine in this era. This is an important role as cooks, the awards are great for the team and it’s nice to be recognised.

Talk us through you footprint of delivering habitats on a plate.
It just makes sense, it’s like joining the dots, Mother Nature provides us with the ingredients in certain parts of the region, we as cooks just have to join the dots. It’s respecting and give us an honest approach and a unique style. 

Prior to Biota, you worked overseas in restaurants and hotels throughout the Asia and the Middle East. What was your favourite place?
My favourite place would have been Dubai- for a young bloke Dubai make Vegas feel organic! 

What advice would you have for anyone thinking of opening their own venue or starting out in the world of chefs and kitchens?
Listen; learn; inspire; read; teach. Love these and let them all come into 15hrs a day 7 days a’s a big jump!


Biota Dining and Rooms

18 Kangaloon Road, Bowral |

By Oliver Grand