Name: Craig Will
History: I developed an interest in cooking early on baking cakes, biscuits and slices at home with my brother... because we liked to eat them. My father had a large veggie and fruit garden so we did a lot of preserving, jamming and chutney producing in the autumn which I really enjoyed. A massive walnut tree in our backyard provided the nuts for my great grandmother’s prize walnut cake recipe, one I still use to this day.
At high school an
ex-chef and teacher inspired me to pursue a career in the kitchen and not being
an academic I was excited to have something to put my energy into. I left school in grade 11 looking for a
restaurant that would take me on as an apprentice. After eight months the Hotel Grand Chancellor
Gaining my qualifications
four years later I met my wife, Monica, also working as an apprentice. She was
subsequently offered a patisserie apprenticeship in
On return to
Have you always wanted to be a Chef? My early inspiration in my home and the guidance my teacher, the ex-chef, provided gave me a career I could pursue with passion.
How would you define your style? Less is more or the ‘KISS’ principle – keep it simple! Use top quality local ingredients, cook with skill and let the natural flavours shine through.
Obsessive compulsive about? Being organised and clean in the kitchen...definitely!
Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences: That early teacher who inspired me to pursue a career in the kitchen and my mentor Chef Paul Foreman were my greatest personal inspirations in the kitchen.
As for influences, when I was growing up Neil Perry was in the process of helping create the modern Australian movement of food borrowing flavours from our Asian neighbours and he made food exciting to me. The traditional French influences of Marco Pierre White grounded my cooking too.
Most ‘eyebrow raising’ menu item? I don’t really do ‘eyebrow raising'; how about ‘crowd pleasing’? My crayfish with a fresh truffle béarnaise received rave reviews from our truffle dinner two weekends ago.
Signature dish: Hard to choose a favourite dish, it’s a bit like choosing your favourite child…however my Stripey Trumpeter dish (sugar and beetroot cured Stripey Trumpeter, shaved baby fennel, citrus infused crème fraiche and ocean crackle) is my current favourite on the menu.