New Zealand, but I grew up on the Gold Coast.
I began my apprenticeship at Warner Bros. Movie World where I experienced banquets, Japanese cuisine and functions. I went from there to Hamilton Island where I worked in the Towers Restaurant. I continued my apprenticeship back on the Gold Coast working at The Copper Pan Restaurant in Broadbeach and finishing at the Burleigh Heads Hotel.
When I finished my apprenticeship, my wife, daughter and I went back to Hamilton Island where I worked in Romano’s Restaurant. After three years on Hamilton Island we relocated back to South-East Queensland, where I worked for Simon George and Sons in one of their restaurants "The Uni Bar and Grill,” before moving on to The Hyatt Regency at Sanctuary Cove.
After a while, our love for North Queensland drew us back where I got a position at Radisson Treetops Resort in Port Douglas as Senior Chef de partie. I then worked at the Reef Hotel and Casino for a short period before I took a Head Chef position at Ilios Restaurant, Port Douglas. During this period, I also worked with Cairns TAFE, teaching in remote communities. I also worked with CRGT doing on the job training with apprentices. After Ilios, I took a break from cooking and sold cars (which allowed me to have some more quality time with my wife and daughters). When I had enough of selling cars, I purchased Coffee 21 in Cairns CBD and worked hard to build the client base over five and a half years. We decided to sell it and purchase the restaurant "Our Place Restaurant, Yungaburra,” an opportunity that both my wife and I could do together.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
Yes, ever since I was a kid. I remember going out to dinner with my parents once and saw the Chef come out into the dining room in all his whites, I was very impressed. Also, as a young fella I was a newspaper boy in Surfers Paradise and some of my regulars were restaurants, so they also gave me inspiration.
How would you define your style?
Simple, clean and tasty.
What is your feature flavour these days?
I love using bush herbs and ingredients, I use lemon myrtle essence in a tart which is very popular, and I also use rosella in my jus, it gives it a different slant to any other regular jus.
I believe anyone who says they’re obsessive-compulsive about anything aren’t in fact obsessive-compulsive. However, I have great respect for tradition, and everything has its place.
Your greatest culinary influence:
So many, but my first culinary influence was my Uncle, he was a Chef too. I have learned you can learn from anyone and everyone. As a Chef you are always learning.
What do you love about this business?
Adrenalin, being under the pump and satisfying your customers.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Salt and Pepper. Seems like a basic thing, but unfortunately, they’re two ingredients that often get missed.
Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?
When I was working in Port Douglas, we had lamb shanks as a special. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough one night to run as a special, so our Canadian Chef decided to turn what was left into a lamb pie, it was friggin’ awesome and blew our minds.
None really, everything is always evolving so it is always changing. I am a fan, however, of our balsamic braised lamb shanks and our tiramisu.
Soak up a slice of the Atherton Tablelands at Our Place Restaurant on Eacham Road in Yungaburra. This newly opened venue entices diners with cane alfresco table settings, complete with white cloths and vibrant blue napkins, while indoors the vibe is calming and relaxing with cream coloured walls and tiled floors, embracing the FNQ lifestyle. Offering a fusion menu of Australian and Mediterranean flavours utilising local produce, expect lunch tempters such as rare roast beef on housemade focaccia, horseradish mayo, salad and Swiss cheese. Evening diners may start with pan-seared squid on a bed of salad greens, fresh lemon and olive oil, before mains of lamb shanks, balsamic jus, sweet potato puree and sautéed local greens; sweet tooths won't go past pecan praline cheesecake and ice cream.