Cooking up a revolution

Dylan Malcolm, of INKubate, in his food ‘‘shack’’. Photos: Supplied
Dylan Malcolm, of INKubate, in his food ‘‘shack’’. Photos: Supplied
Sick of the daily grind of working in a kitchen, Dylan Malcolm is experimenting with an innovative pop-up. He talks to Rebecca Fox.

Dylan Malcolm believes there's a more sustainable way for chefs to make a living, one that doesn't involve not seeing the light of day for weeks on end.

He has established INKubate with the aim of developing a business model that will allow chefs to be paid what they are worth and have reasonable time off.

''We're in the very early stages. Half is still on the drawing board. It's not a finished product.''

The idea came out of his own experience. As a 19-year-old, Malcolm trained as a chef at Otago Polytechnic and then headed out into the ''real world'', only to discover a world he did not really like.

''I thought there has to be a better way, an easier way.''

He had also become fascinated as to why people go to one cafe over another and what influences their food decisions.

So Malcolm decided to go back to school, rejoining the culinary arts degree programme at the polytechnic and joined the Re:Burger team making burgers out of a food truck.

''There is so much support and it's such a creative space, which really helps get your creative juices flowing.''

He decided to try to do his own food truck, but struck out, leaving him wondering what to do next.

''I came up with this shack idea.''

He approached several businesses and asked for old vinyl advertising sheets or steel off-cuts. With the help of some friends, Malcolm designed and built a ''shack'' that is easy to put up.

As for the food, Malcolm constantly changes the menu to follow food trends.

''I don't want to lock in one style. I want to collaborate with different chefs.''

His first collaboration was with Glenfalloch chef Hannes Bareiter after Malcolm experienced his Texan barbecue.

''Who knows what will come next?''

The idea of using cheaper cuts of meat and making them special is part of a sustainable business model that enables a greater profit to be returned to staff.

''I'm probably working just as many hours, but it's exciting. It's not a factory line doing the same thing every day. It's unique, a lot less formal.

''It's about good food and good quality.''

At recent pop-ups at the polytechnic and Dunedin brewery New New New, Malcolm has been serving Cubano sandwiches stuffed with slow-cooked meats, cheese, pickles and sauces.

''The flavour and texture we can change. We can change up the pickles, vary them to the season. We're doing a red onion one and a sweet cumin and carrot one, but we can change that up.''

He has also been experimenting with ''loaded-fries'' - Thai inspired fries served with peanuts, coriander, sprouts and sriracha sauce.

Another experiment has been with deep-fried tortilla chips.

''Like nachos, but different.''

He is also looking at developing different desserts, such as donut kebabs - a donut filled with chocolate scrapings and sauces.

Malcolm's business model also involves using a collaborative management style, which allows staff to feed in to developments.

Inspired by the cult food truck movie Chef, Dylan Malcolm's Cubano sandwich utilizes simple ingredients such as pork, mustard, cheese and pickles.



The Cubano is a contemporary twist of the classic toasted sandwich and can be a meal in itself or a simple everyday snack.

While the original recipe calls for ham or pork, these ingredients can be substituted for grilled chicken, pulled beef or marinated and grilled aubergine.

Makes 1

⅓ French stick or a similar roll
80g pulled pork
30g cheese
⅛ red onion sliced finely
1 gherkin finely slice
1 tsp mustard
2 tsp chilli mayo (available from the supermarket)


1. Slice the baguette in half. Place in a pan and lightly toast. At this point you can apply some gentle pressure on the bread, we used another pan.

2. Remove from the heat. Spread one side with chilli mayo and the other with mustard.

3. Place the meat, cheese, pickles and onion.

4. Brush the baguette with butter and fry in a moderately heated pan.

Once brown, turn the Cubano over and fry the over side.

Remove from the heat, cut in half and enjoy.

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