OTIS ARMADA2014-2019

Otis Armada
Bootleg dining

Otis Armada was conceived in 2014 by a group of Melbourne based stomachs who are committed to exploring, re-contextualising and celebrating the ritualistic aspects of communal dining. Pairing thoughtfully curated food, wine, music and installation art together, Otis Armada creates bootleg dining experiences which honor engaging service, artistic collaboration and most of all creative eating.

What is Otis Armada

With any Otis Armada event we strive to be the antidote to rigid hospitality; which despite its intentions, restricts the unpredictable nature of a good feast with friends. Our events aim to give rise to an inspection of food that ultimately lets people feel confident to embrace the new. Whether that's a new location, a new cuisine or a new approach; at Otis we believe no food is sacred and that communal eating is the perfect battleground for pushing important ideas.

With each Otis Armada event there is a theme that envelopes the entire feast. Pricking each sense, all elements engage a concept far beyond standard hospitality. Whether it’s an architectural movement or a specific animal, we look everywhere but the restaurant for inspiration.



For private events or partnerships contact via email


Long Prawn
Ali Currey-Voumard

Previous project partners

Assemble Papers
Bureaux Collective
Ben Clement
Brooks & Amos
CHAMP Magazine
Coeval Magazine
The Creators Project
Dale Hardiman
Gourmet Traveller
Hunted + Gathered
Lloyd Mst
Mathery Studio
North Brooklyn Farms
Open House Melbourne
Sample Brew
Troy Wheelan
Puebco Japan

Site designed by PSP
built by WM

Fig.1 ‘A Brutalist Being’ campaign imagery for Otis.Brutal. (2016). Photograph: Phebe Schmidt.

Fig.2 Bountiful lunch time courses were revealed sequentially in puerile paint on sketch paper at Otis Spring (2014).

Fig.3 Raised glasses of Patrick Sullivan ‘Love Juice’ tapped exclusively for Otis. Brutal. (2016).

Fig.4 ‘Play with your food’ campaign imagery for Otis Spring (2014). Photograph: COCO and MAXIMILIAN

Fig.5 ‘A Brutalist Being’ A being of such magnitude needs to be adequately fed. He reaches for a brutalist staple; some tinned fish. Confined, stark, strong and long lasting. Just like the A Brutalist Being. Otis.Brutal. (2016). Photograph: Phebe Schmidt Phebe Schmidt.

Fig.6 Trays pass through a production line of focused cooks lead by Ali Currey-Voumard for Otis.Brutal. (2016)

Fig.7 Wavy tabletops covered with sketch paper and placed in a circular formation to encourage playful involvement for Otis Spring (2014).


Textbook Otis
Tools of the trade

‘Tit for tat, butter for fat, if you kick my dog, ill kick your cat’ Nick Zeki, Student 1987.

Textbook Otis brought back to life the creaky halls of the Collingwood Technical College (1912-1987) for a final school time lunch. A gym bag full of 80’s ozzy quirk, school kid buggery and industry inspirations. The curriculum clanged together food, art and music of the era. A meal riddled with enjoyment, employment and education. Under school motto banners reading ‘Mens Sana in Corpore Sang” (a healthy mind in a healthy body) we encouraged our cohort to play within an old school hall and leafy courtyard. Like good pupils they were all wilfully obliging.

We welcomed guests into the yard with bountiful lunch boxes brimming with hand crafted snacks by Pete Cooksley and Matthew Binney, our two head chefs. To wash it all down 'Just Juice' bottles were spiked with a skin contact Pinot Gris created by Jordy Kay for the event. After some sun and play our class of 2017 looked to be fading so with a ring of the lunch bell they were ushered into the canteen to begin feasting. Baine-maries bubbled with a school lunch of a terribly low rent yet utterly high-distinction: house made cured meats, prawn cocktail, roast chicken, eggplant parmigiana, waldorf salad and crudités bulked up our the tuck shop. Funnily enough, horseplay ensued with the next beverage (Patrick Sullivan) coming out of wonderfully generous goon bags, poured direct into glasses not mouths of course.

Plied full of hard working food and drink, the class were then released back out into the courtyard to the hiccuping sounds of the junior Darebin City Brass Band, led by Jack Kelly a former student, teacher and alum of Collingwood Tech. Amongst swaying felt banners created with Gabriel Cole, guests collected on long tables sprawling where rude messages had seen some scrawling. School cook Pete Cooksley who earnt his colours in fire play at Embla threw down lovely pieces of beef flank, whole squid and half cos lettuces in line for the burnt caesar salad. Then a marching band of cauliflower steaks, chimichurri, horseradish butter, hearby beans and leafy salads ascend before the proteins were plucked off the grill and dispersed accordingly. The class saw out the year with great jest, humming along to a soundtrack collaged by Guy Blackman of Chapter Records. A quick school snap and they were sent on there way with no dilly dallying.


Saturday 9th December
Sunday 10th December
Collingwood Technical College
35 Johnston St, Collingwood
food + booze (tuck shop and seated)
2 sittings of 70

This event was supported by the Collingwood Arts Precinct (CAP)


Guy Blackman Chapter Music
Darebin City Brass Band (live) led by Jack Kelly


Campaign photography: Ben Clement
Event photography: Ben Clement, Lauren Dunn
Brand identity: Gabriel Cole
Felt banners: Gabriel Cole, Matilda Rutherford
Aprons: Jayden Trifunovic
Custom table legs: Steelotto
Custom table tops: Cosmo Feltham, Ben Jones, Elle Ross, Flossy, PSP
Refreshments: Jordy Kay, Capi, Assembly Coffee
Menu prints: Dawn Press

Fig. 1 A quiet hall before the lunch bell rang. Gabriel Cole’s felt banners, still for a brief moment

Fig. 2 Recess served in a custom Textbook Otis insulated lunch bag for all guests to take home. House made Le snak, mushroom monte carlo, dried peach and white chocolate muesli bar, Juice Box wine.

Fig.3 Edible education for students good and bad.

Fig. 4 Crudités trolley stocked to the brim with radish, turnip, carrot, cabbage, leaves, celery, globe artichoke dipped in roast sesame hummus, burnt french onion and green goddess and eaten with hands.

Fig. 5 Located in an old technical school: steel, ply and bolts created a true workers lunch

Fig. 6 “Mens sana in corpore sano” a healthy mind in a healthy body, now repeat. Custom type by Gabriel Cole.

Fig.7 The principle expects full attention and attendance.

Fig. 8 Tuckshop haute with grub proof garments by Jayden Trifunovic.

Fig. 9 Roast chook, tuna nicoise. A tuckshop for full hands and bellies.

Fig. 10 Banners sway as the class of 18’ filled up.

Fig. 11 Jack Kelly conducting for the last time at the former Collingwood Technical School.

Fig. 12 Darebin City Brass band Sat 9 Dec (Andrew, Evelyn, Angie, Lucy, Ivy, Bethany, Andrew,Jasper, Oscar, Hayden, Telissa, Lily) led by J.Kelly.

Fig. 13 Full tables of wine, lunch boxes and spreads for the Otis school magazine ‘The Tex’

Fig. 14 Horseplay and/or mouseplay.

Fig. 15 Workshop trestle legs created for the event by Steelotto.

Fig. 16 Each leg using methods practised in steelwork classes. Bends, joins, twists.

Fig. 17 Going home lonely

Fig. 18 Tea for two, two for tea

Fig. 19 Those diligent enough to read the notice board laughed with joy

Fig. 20 Head chef Pete Cooksley (Embla) scorched squid on our outdoor BBQ

Fig. 21 T E X T B O O K O T I S 2 0 1 8

Fig. 22 An end of year lunch with lots of things to discuss and nowhere to be

Fig. 23 Spot the school bully

Fig. 24 Burnt Caesar salad, smoked beans

Fig. 25 Shady hangs for shady people

Fig. 26 Summer peaches, jello and sponge


Otis NYC
What a croc!

Just like alligators and crocodiles, American and Australian cuisine share so much yet are completely different beasts. Otis! What a Croc! will dredged up from murky waters unique cultural tidbits which were palatably, audibly and visually crucial to each country. A mouthful of culture shock highlighting the treasures and tragedies of two edible allies.

Yet just alike the prehistoric reptiles themselves the dichotomy wasn't so stark so we enlisted the amazing chef’s of North Brooklyn Farms. On site at their inner city plod they grew and composed a menu of Americanisms that would strike a chord with both locals and curious investigators. Shaded only by the Williamsburg Bridge we welcomed guests with a cold glass of Swamp Juice, a rosie blend created for the event by Chapter Wine and Otis, handing them a bag of fritos to fill with ingredients for their ‘walking taco’. Three long tables adorned with lively swamp table bays designed by italo crocs Mathery Studio were poised with big bottles of Australian natural wine. As the sun started to set over Manhattan we seated guest amidst a soundtrack of grumbling frogs, distant croc roars and improvised keys by Mark Chu.

First course was a self-deprecatingly sophisticated dish, Kale 12-Ways. Otis and NBKF staff united with by patent ‘croc’ leather aprons, then marched food to guest waiting by the river. The next course, a TV Dinner with individual trays and croc tongs, saw the fall of dusk and generous pouring of scaley Australian wine. Whilst there wasn't any real gators around there was plenty of gnashing and rolling about. Far from home, this Otis was a credit to all the people who had faith in our chops and the guests who embraced the moments of frivolity.


Sunday 30 July 2017
North Brooklyn Farms
Brooklyn, New York City
4 courses + booze


MPL (field recordings, selections and samples) & Mark Chu (improvised piano)


Table design: Mathery Studio
Production assistant: Emma Orlow
Event photography: Nadeemy Betros
‘Swamp juice’ wine collaboration: Chapter Wine
Swamp juice labels: Dawn Press
Aprons: George Banks

Brand partners

North Brooklyn Farms
Frederick Stevenson

Key Press

Sprudge Wine
Office Magazine

Fig. 1 Condiment caddies featuring dehydrated cheese salt.

Fig. 2 A crocentric soundtrack of keys, melodies and swampy soundscapes composed by MPL and Mark Chu.

Fig. 3 Otis Armada! What a croc! Identity by PSP

Fig. 4 North Brooklyn Farms the venue for the riverside feast, backdropped by the Williamsburg Bridge.

Fig. 5 Mathery Studio swamp tables where diners construct ‘Walking Tacos’; pickled onions, smoked beans, lime, house-made condiments and traditional tortilla replaced with a bag of Fritos.

Fig. 6 The wines sourced exclusively for What a croc! ‘17 Frederick Stevenson Roussane Marsanne (SA), ‘16 Bobar Chardonnay (VIC), ‘17 Swamp Juice Schioppettino Rose Care of Chapter Wine.

Fig. 7 Teamwork and crocodile skin aprons created by George Banks and sported by front of house.

Fig. 8 Chip, dip (onion), croc, crockery, croc leather (faux).

Fig. 9 Course 2: ‘Kale 12 Ways’, comprised of fresh produce from the North Brooklyn Farm.

Fig. 10 Splashing nattys.

Fig. 11 TV dinner: Pot roast with gravy, seasonal vegetable medley, cornbread, mashed new harvest potatoes, brownie. Served with ranch and house ketchup.

Fig. 12 Dessert: A midwest favourite; cherry, blood orange and coconut ambrosia.

Fig. 13 Custom orange flavoured fortune cookies. To those who wait, comes fortune.

Fig. 12 Otis Armada! What a croc! Identity by PSP


Otis. Brutal.
For the bloody minded

Otis. Brutal. channeled the Brutalist’s triumphant indifference to commonality. A deliberate ousting from conventional ideas of beauty. Brutalism has always sparked vehement debate about the necessity and/or irrelevance of aesthetics. A debate which Otis Armada was determined to bring back to the surface. Otis.Brutal. reclaimed the core elements of food, art, wine and music by avoiding superficiality – honing in on elements that happily triumphed in discordance with the norm. Over six carefully curated sittings the Brutalists delivered a raw barrage of gratifying food, art, music and wine.

Guests were led from the street through the Brutalist facade of the venue to a vacant textile factory where the brutalist fare ensued. Once seated in immovably solid rows, guests were presented with a standard issue prison tray for their first course: cold cut meats, sloe berry jam, cultured butter and grilled chicken hearts served alongside handmade dry crackers. The courses that followed showcased Chef Ali Currey-Voumard's(The Agrarian Kitchen) brutal expression of local produce paired with an entirely organic natural wine list written and beaconed by Campbell Burton. The result was a culinary fare that both challenged the norm of dainty food delivery whilst comforting diners with relatable and traversable flavours.

From the wearable napkins to the synchronised service, a comfortable control was imposed throughout the feast. A Brutalist's utopia allowed people to learn about Brutalism and engage with dining in a completely new way. Otis.Brutal. deprived guests of non-essential niceties, heightening their appreciation for the basics and arresting their attention. Function was everything – durable tarp aprons designed for Freitag, heavy duty tables and chairs designed for the event and a menu which listed every single ingredient. Each guest received forged steel knives specifically created for the pork course which was carved in the center of the space for immediate dispatch. Throughout the sittings a generous barrage of unfussy food and wine ensued, whilst bespoke soundtracks matched the meat.


May 2016
Brutalist Warehouse
122 Roseneath Street, Clifton Hill
5 courses + snacks + beverages
6 x sold out sittings of 50

This event was a part of the Brutalist Block Party presented by Assemble Papers and Open House Melbourne.


Hors d’oeuvres: Alex Albrecht/ Julian Cairns
Bread service: A.r.t. Wilson
Wet course: Francis Inferno Orchestra
The Pig: Tamil Rogeon / Otis Armada
Cheese / Pudding: Elliot Munn & Gregor
Digestive: Wush
Otis Brutal playlist


Campaign photography: Phebe Schmidt
Event photography: Ben Clement, Nadeemy Beetros
Event film documentation: Caity Shannon, Freya Esders
Identity: Lloyd Mst
Wearable napkins: Macmillian-Yenn
Apron design: PSP
Take-home knife: PSP & John Hall
Coding: Sam Hains

Brand partners

Assemble Papers
Open House Melbourne
Bureaux Collective
Hunted + Gathered
Troy Wheelan

Key Press

Gourmet Traveller
The Creators Project
Coeval Magazine
Champ Magazine
Assemble Papers

Fig.1 ‘A Brutalist Being’ ...eats in a way that is systematic, pure and controlled. Coffee black, toast burnt. A Brutalist Being eats the whole apple. Photograph: Phebe Schmidt.

Fig.2 Hand bevelled and embossed steel knives by PSP and John Hall are distributed to Brutalists in time for the pig course. Cream of pork soup with lovage, roasted pork belly dressed with sea urchin and potato, pearled barley with crisp greens and nettle.

Fig.3 Raw chipboard tables and benches were custom made to reference brutalist silhouettes and systematically aligned in a totalitarian configuration.

Fig.4 Wet course: Fermented tomatoes served with sea bream, dried bonito and sesame paste.

Fig.5 Bread service: Standard issue Cambro mustard prison trays prepared with house made processed meat, sloe berry jam, cultured butter and grilled chicken hearts.

Fig.6 ‘A Brutalist Being’ short film by COCO and MAXIMILIAN screened alongside the digestive course with brutally unadorned chocolates by Hunted + Gathered.

Fig.7 A utilitarian overhead projector illuminated interior surfaces of Roseneath Street here with the Otis.Brutal. formulaic menu.

Fig.8 Otis.Brutal.’s savage identity by Lloyd Mst,

Fig.9 Behind the red curtain.

Fig.10 A menu as solid as foundations.

Fig.11 Pork broth with lovage oil, to be inhaled then sipped form the source.

Fig.12 Each ingredient examined and ready to be cut by custom forged Otis steel blade.

Fig.13 The suilhouettes of serious suitors.

Fig.14 Thick as pig’s skin.

Fig.15 To eat in a Brutal fashion is to eat with purpose. Food for serious concentration.

Fig.16 Cabbage and radishes in their best light.

Fig.17 Aprons made from Frietag truck tarpaulin.

Fig.18 Cantina Giardino 2015 Vino Blanco aka big worm wine.

Fig.19 Homemade bread, curd and salt.

Fig.20 Cup of Joe.

Fig.21 Printed collateral and custom Otis steel blade.

Fig.22 Wayfinding eating.

Fig.23 Burnt apple and custard.


Otis Spring
Play With your food

Otis Spring celebrated the most affable aspects of both childhood and adulthood. Held in a light-filled small-goods factory, the OA team served up an open-ended banquet of joyous offerings centered around a four course feast created by Clayton Wells (Automata, Momofuku Seibo). Wells delivered a menu which like the feast, was hard to pigeon hole yet vivid in colour and playful in flavour. Fermented cherries, Hapuka under a blanket of seaweed, clear pork broth live with edible flowers. Each sitting saw a most artful mix of snacks such as salt and vinegar fish skins, eccentric wines poured by our frivolous booze teachers and a live mixed soundtracks we are still listening to.

The underlying theme of Otis Spring ‘Play with your food’ sought to channel those all-too-often suppressed urges of mess-making and childhood play. Custom built communal tables lined with sketch paper and wonky ceramic cups evoked feelings of being at the kid’s table, whilst guest wine guy Ned Brooks (Moonpark, Brooks and Amos) embraced adulthood as he free poured a selection of small-batch beverages, scrawling their names largely onto the tables with hand gripped crayons.

At the end of lunch, guests were invited to sip on a digestive tonic inside the industrial refrigerator room that housed an installation of six films by COCO and MAXIMILIAN. Otis Armada Spring was a true slew of edible and interactive art. An afternoon of sophisticated springtime flavours, childhood nostalgia and most of all a triumphant tabletop mess.


November 2014
Smallgoods factory
68 Gwynne St, Cremorne
5 course + snacks + beverages
3 x sittings of 40


Friday: Andras Fox
Saturday: Zach PM
Sunday: Simon TK
Otis Spring playlist


Campaign photography:COCO and MAXIMILIAN
Brand mark: Jack Howe
Event photography: Ben Clement, Morgan Hickinbotham & Harry Scott
Digestion film: COCO and MAXIMILIAN

Brand Partners

Brooks & Amos
Dale Hardiman
Hunted + Gathered
Mathery Studio
Puebco Japan

Fig.1 Frivolous painted ply sculptures and chip board A-frames festoon the small-goods factory dining space.

Fig.2 The Otis team wearing Superbirki polyurethane clogs made for ‘professionals’ and supplied by event sponsor Birkenstock Australia.

Fig.3 Playtime in full swing with guests parked at custom-made tables lined with sketch paper.

Fig.4 Snack course of crispy fish skins with salt and vinegar served by Sydney guest chef Clayton Wells (Automata, Momofuku Seibo) and team.

Fig.5 ‘Play with your food’ campaign imagery. Photograph: COCO and MAXIMILIAN

Fig 6. A playsafe menu flash-card given out with each course for each guest to take home alongside egg yolk glazed pinch pot cups served with fernet branco.

Fig.7 Diner’s refresh from the Spring heat with cool scented wet towels prepared by William Rankin.

Fig.8 Wriggly Otis Spring wordmark by Jack Howe

Fig. 9 Wobbly shaped tables for all to play at

Fig. 10 Rodenbach sour cherry ale matched with fermented cherry, onion and capers

Fig. 11 Clayton Wells (Automata) lays plate while Ali Currey-Voumard (Agarian Kitchen) keeps a tight eye

Fig. 12 Wine illuminator Ned Brooks, spells it out for some guests.

Fig. 13 Art class should always get messy.

Fig. 14 Pork neck, white pepper, nuts, broth and herbs.

Fig. 15 When the crayons come out to play.

Fig. 16 “Otis Armada” he says.

Fig. 17 James with the long pour.

Fig. 18 Those who wrote the curriculum keeping everything moving along.

Fig. 19 Strawberries, meringue, mint and dust.

Fig. 20 Set for the next lot.


Otis Winter
The first feast

The Winter of 2014 saw Otis Armada give birth to the first in a series of seasonal bootleg dining experiences in Melbourne. To fight the cold this event channeled feelings of bacchanalian gatherings, Rothschild’s surrealist dinner parties and gluttony. Over two nights in July, the Otis Armada team served up a brilliant composition of considered music, small batch wines, installation art and a ten-course winter feast that encapsulated all the warmth and amity of the season.

The dinners were held in a retired motorcycle workshop in Carlton where guests gorged communally under the ambience of a six-meter long hand stitched tent. Each course was delivered in unison to pieces of specifically composed music reflecting the dish’s produce and temperament. As a the duck left the pass and flew onto the floor, a crescendoe of duck noises arrested our guests before drifting off into their subconscious.

The creative team worked closely with head chef Ali Currey-Voumard (The Agrarian Kitchen), Moon Under Water) and Pete Cooksley (Embla, Supernormal) to fortify aspects of the Macabre style menu. For example, two hundred resin cast bullion bricks in hues of duck blood sauce were created. Each guest left the event with a unique red bullion embossed with 'Otis Armada' making the main course of ten-day-aged-duck and steel cut oats a centrepiece not to forget.


July 2014
Motorcycle workshop
10 Courses
4 x sittings of 30


Friday: Alex Albrecht
Saturday: Simon TK
Otis Winter playlist


Event photography: Travis Fryer
Bread: Karl’s Loaves
Code: Jack Beilby
Graphic design: Jack Howe
Printing: Dawn Press

Brand Partners

Pat Sullivan
Jarad Curwood
Sample Brewing
Troy Wheelan
Hungry Workshop

Fig.1 Hedonistic campaign imagery photographed by Travis Fry, featuring macabre elements of the Otis Winter menu.

Fig.2 Chef Ali Currey-Voumard (The Agrarian Kitchen, Moon Under Water) intricately places duck hearts for the inaugural ten-part Otis Armada menu.

Fig.3 Otis guests take winter refuge inside a warm six meter long tent constructed inside the ex-mechanic garage venue.

Fig.4 Seasonal beets and greens served to cut through the main course of ten-day-aged-duck and porridge.

Fig.5 Otis Armada is born. The maiden event channeled dark but delicious feelings of bacchanalia, Rothschild’s surrealist dinner parties and unrequited gluttony.

Fig.6 150 hand cast resin bullions which signified the flavours of the event were produced for Otis guests to take-home.

Fig.7 The sound of quacking ducks rang out as Alex Albrecht played live accompaniment the centerpiece of the feast, the ten-day-aged-duck and porridge.