I grew up locally, in Lochinvar and I worked in the Hunter Valley on the Tweed River as well as Melbourne, where I improved my skills and knowledge as a Chef over 20 years. My previous roles included Head Chef of Harbour View function centre and Sous Chef of The Beltree, where I discovered a real passion for Italian food. I further refined my skills working under acclaimed Chef, Guy Grossi at Grossi Florentino.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
Yes, growing up on a happy farm surrounded with fresh produce, I was always involved with food and in the kitchen with Mum.
How would you define your style?
Not too complicated, just real, hearty food. Modern Australian with a dash of Italian.
What is your feature flavour these days?
Bottarga (cured mullet roe) – the flavour of the ocean.
Obsessive compulsive about?
Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences:
Guy Grossi and Chris Rodriguez of Grossi Florentino. They’re amazing people, Chefs and operators.
What do you love about this business?
Meeting good people and making them happy through food.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Most ‘eyebrow raising’ menu item?
Our house cured lardo (smoked cured pork back fat) when it is warmed, it turns translucent!
High on a hill in the heart of Hunter Valley Wine Country sits Esca Bimbadgen restaurant of Bimbadgen. A contemporary interior design features large glass windows and an open balcony, giving diners an opportunity to admire breathtaking views over the Bimbadgen vineyards and out to the dense forests of the Brokenback and Barrington ranges. Shining in the art of food and wine pairing, Esca’s Modern Australian cuisine focusses on produce sourced locally or grown at Bimbadgen itself, from figs to lemons and an abundance of fresh herbs showcased alongside the winery’s best wines. Opt for entrees such as poached scampi with fennel, smoked lardo and broad beans, before a main of Wagyu flank with eggplant, 63° egg, white anchovy and spring onion, all finished off nicely with a vanilla panna cotta.