AUSTRALIAN GOOD FOOD GUIDE - Home of the Chef Hat Awards
Aaron Mace

Aaron Mace


Tom Price, WA. 

Culinary History: 


I studied commercial cookery in New Zealand when I was 17 years old. I absolutely loved the idea of being paid to play with food and I enjoyed the pastry side of cooking the most when I was young. Baking New York-style cheesecakes, making feijoa muffins and flipping pancakes for my family on Sundays was where it all started. 

Since then, I have worked on Hayman Island, travelled to Montreal to run a Summer bistro by the riverside and back to New Zealand to pay back what I had learned to the younger generation. I then ended up in Lake Louise at the Fairmont Chateau for a couple of years before moving onto private function work in Switzerland. 

I returned to Hayman Island once again, for a change of weather and more senior position, as I had such fond memories of the high quality of food that was produced there in the early 2000s. After a while, I decided it was time to get away from resorts, so I moved to the Gold Coast and worked at Versace, from banquet dining to the chef-hatted restaurant, Vanitas. I also worked with a select handful of very talented chefs to open the Burleigh Pavilion before I found a new passion for creating my own food and menus, as well as running a much smaller team. 

Did I always want to be a chef? 

I originally wanted to be in the police force but after work experience and placement in restaurants, I found working with food to be more my style. 

Define your style: 

I’m currently really enjoying the tapas/small bites scene. I’m really loving the idea of having intense flavours in smaller bites, leaving the consumer open to trying more in one sitting.

Feature flavour: 

Umame. I’ve always been interested in Asian food of all types, and the fermenting style of production used to provide more earthy and deep flavours.  

Obsessive-compulsive about: 

Cleanliness, and about prepping food correctly. Follow hygiene standards and recipe cards exactly! If you're not going to do it right... don't do it! 

Greatest influence: 

Anthony Bourdain.  He's was a great mind and did things in the era of trial by fire.  

What do you love about this business? 

I love hospitality and being a chef within that because it also allows me to chase my other passions, like travel, food and drink and playing with fire! 

An ingredient I can't live without: 

Salt! Second only to cheese, personally. 

Eyebrow-raising menu item: 

Green ant gin. 

Signature dish: 

Currently the beef tataki at The Rusty Barrel in Varsity: Wagyu rump with smoked oyster mushrooms, Ponzu jelly, white soy dressing, baby celery and garlic chips.