BY JAIDEN BHAGA
25th OCT 2023
If, like this writer, you’ve tucked into enough burgs to scale Auckland City—the local legends at Jo Bro’s Burgers need no introduction.
From winning over events with their food truck to brick-and-mortar stores in Titirangi and Pt. Chev, Chef’s Josh Barlow and Brody Jenkins’ menu deserves the top spot on your NZ eats list.
With quality, consistency and sustainability at its core, there’s no doubt Jo Bro’s Burgers ticks all the boxes. For a peak into their secret sauce, we teamed up with MINI—who are putting power on the peddle towards an all-electric future—we stepped behind the grill to chat with the duo.
Tell us about yourselves. How did your journeys lead to Jo Bros?
J: I’ve got a background in fine dining, spending years in Sydney and London. When I came back to Auckland, I was the head chef at the Grove Restaurant, and that’s where I met Brody, and that’s where this journey began. I’ve always been from out west.
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B: I was born and bred in West Auckland, growing up out these ways by Titirangi. I studied cheffing at Sky City for three years and ended up staying there for about eight or nine years before I left, after which I met Josh at the Grove.
Was there a moment you knew, yep, that’s what we want to do?
J: I think both myself and Brody got to a point where we had the food truck, and we were doing events and markets part-time over the weekends and in some evenings, but we were both fully employed elsewhere. We got to the point where we both knew that if we wanted to give it a nudge full-time, we needed to quit our other jobs and commit to doing Jo Bro’s full-time.
What made you decide to do this as a partnership?
J: When Brody and I were working at the Grove restaurant, we spent a lot of time chatting and joking about starting a food truck. Just through conversation, we came up with the idea of Jo and Bro’s burgers. And then from there, it went to Jo Bro’s Burgers, and the brand started to build there.
B: My background was more American burger-style dining food, whereas Josh had just travelled the world doing fine dining, trying to bring those two things together. Very simple American food with fine dining quality—Jo Bro’s was born at that moment.
Can you give us a quick wrap of the overarching concept behind your menu?
J: A big part of our brand and our concept is to do fast food better. With our menu, we want to keep it simple—West Coast, American-style burgers, really juicy, really flavorful, but no nasty ingredients. It’s all 100% local and great stuff.
Tell us about Jo Bro’s commitment to sustainability. What makes a sustainably-built burger?
B: It all starts with the ingredients, so whether it be the lettuce, the tomato, the onions or the bun, we only use the best, and we support other local businesses that think the same as us.
J: Part of our commitment to sustainability is ensuring that all our suppliers have the same thought process that we do. We check everyone’s looked after and that all the ingredients and packaging are recycled and disposed of correctly.
What’s your advice to industry peers wanting to embrace sustainability, where do you recommend they start?
J: Our advice to others in the industry would be to look at your product list and where it’s coming from. That’s important because you want stuff to come from as locally as possible to cut down how much travel that ingredient needs to do to get to you.
All of our packaging is compostable. We ensure that our recycling processes are solid and that all our waste is going to the correct place.
You’re particularly passionate about food wastage at home—what advice do you have for those looking to cook sustainably at home?
B: My advice for people at home to be a bit more sustainable when it comes to food and cooking, in general, would be to take notice of what you’re doing with your waste. One of the biggest mistakes people make is not cleaning their recycling. If there’s one piece of recycling that hasn’t been cleaned in your entire bin, the entire thing doesn’t get recycled.
J: Another little piece of advice is to cook seasonally. A lot of the labels at the supermarkets now will say where produce comes from. So by eating local fruit and vegetables in season, you’re making sure that something hasn’t travelled from overseas unnecessarily.
What is the best way to build an amazing burger?
B: We reckon the best way to build a burger at home is to build it exactly how you like it—just put a little bit of Jo Bro’s Original Burger Sauce on it, and you’re set. We’ve been working on the recipe for our Jo Bro’s Original Burger Sauce for about six or seven years now—pick up the jar the next time you’re in the store.
What’s next for you? Is anything exciting in the works?
J: We’ll have both of our food trucks at Highlife again this year in Matakana, which is something we’ve done every year since we started. But if you’re not sure where to find us, it’s best to check our Instagram or Facebook to see where we’re we’ll be.
If you’re amping to kick-start your sustainability journey, be sure to scope out MINI Electric here.
Editor’s note: This article is sponsored by MINI and proudly endorsed by Urban List. To find out more about who we work with and why read our editorial policy here.