Born: Timaru, South Island, NZ
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
Yes. I have always been obsessed with food and have wanted to be a chef for as far back as I can remember. I started cooking at a very young age and would work weekends, after school and all school holidays at local cafes and restaurants.
How would you define your style?
Contemporary Australasian combining traditional French cookery methods with modern technology and a focus on locally sourced seasonal produce.
Obsessive compulsive about?
Maintaining a clean kitchen at all times and having a clean work space during service. I love my vacuum packer, stainless steel cleaner and chux cloths!
Your greatest culinary inspirations?
I have worked for Lyndsay Bennett, Paul Ellis and John Allred each several times in my career. All three have at some point held the New Zealand chef of the nation title and all have influenced me in different ways along with my previous head chef in Wellington, Jason Flygenring; technique, temperament, menu and dish composition and most importantly work ethic.
Chefs I’ve admired from afar?
I have spent my whole life reading cookbooks, studying menus online and watching programmes on chefs such as Gordon Ramsey, Marco Pierre White, Heston Blumenthal, Thomas Keller, Ferran Adria, Michel Bras, Jason Atherton and closer to home Peter Thornley, Tetsuya Wakuda, Neil Perry, Guillaume Brahimi, Peter Gilmore, Mark Best and Justin North.
Chefs I work with?
My team, no matter where I am, is a constant inspiration to me. Currently I am really enjoying working with Michelle’s passion for baking and home treats using recipes handed down from her, from her family, as building blocks for new dessert dishes or petits fours. Jake's love of spices means we have some great fun on our trust the chef menus playing with different flavours in our entrees and integrating them with West Australia’s natural love for seafood and spices.
Most "eyebrow raising" menu item?
We don’t have "eyebrow raising" items, as such, as we are in a remote location and need to ensure that our menu appeals to all guests. What we do have is a ‘trust the chef’ option which is where the guest tells us how many courses they want and we just send them food. Many regular customers love acting as our ‘guinea pigs’ for new produce we want to trial or new techniques we are having some fun with!
Signature Dish: I don’t have a signature dish, however pork is my favourite meat so the confit of plantagenet pork belly is a "signature" staple on the Knee Deep menu with the garnish changing each season. For example: Confit pork belly with smoked ham hock croquette, braised pork cheeks, spiced beetroot and orange dressing.
Possible sample menu items: Pan seared shark bay scallops with Jerusalem artichoke veloute, toasted brioche soldiers wrapped in prosciutto with apple salad. Cauliflower and carnaroli risotto with poached hens egg, tallegio and picked herb salad. Pot roasted free range chicken ballontine with savoy cabbage ‘cannelloni’, truffled brie and sardelaise potato. Sous vide of Harvey beef with porcini salt, caramelised onion and mushroom tartine, cabernet sauce. Flavours of black forest; bittersweet chocolate parfait with black cherry compote and vanilla cream