I started as a dishwasher at my favourite cafe in Glenelg, The strand in 2007. Soon after I was cooking wood-fired pizzas and exploring my Italian heritage in Italy and London. I worked at a variety of establishments throughout Europe and North America before a short stint as Sous Chef at Press food and wine. Combining a love for traditional cuisine and seasonal ingredients along with a passion for zero waste. I believe in creating simple dishes made from local ingredients without waste.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
No, I thought I was going to be a Rockstar with my band! After 10 years in the band, I knew I loved food and had a passion for cooking and the late nights and long hard hours seemed to appeal to me.
How would you define your style?
Simple, refined, colourful and innovative.
What is your feature flavour these days?
This season we are using a lot of lemon myrtle, it’s in our house seasoning, our aioli, our granola and even the dukkah on our avocado toast.
Consistent seasoning. No egg leaves my kitchen without our smoked salt, white cracked pepper and Angle Vale olive oil.
Your greatest culinary influence:
The small homely chalets I worked in the French alps gave me access to amazing produce, generations-old classic French recipes and I got to work with some small farmers and producers every day. I seek to replicate this no matter if I’m crafting a new dish for the café or even just cooking at home.
What do you love about this business?
The rewarding feeling you get from seeing the joy on a guest’s face, the adrenaline during a busy rush and the overwhelmed sense of community that can be felt from a thriving establishment. Nothing is as old as food and drink or as necessary to survive and it’s a great feeling to be able to provide enjoyment to those you serve.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Pasture-raised, hormone-free eggs. Without a doubt!
Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?
Throughout our menus, the French toast has had some pretty special moments! From wood-fired stone fruits and coconut caramel to Davidson’s plum gel, pistachio sugar, chocolate mousse and pashmak (Indian candy floss). I think we even had a grapefruit and ginger salad with almonds at one point.
My XO crab omelette with smoked hummus is a big request at my brunch parties!
Local, seasonal and sustainable food from a source close to home is on the menu at The Banksia Tree Café on St Vincent Street in Port Adelaide. A recycled timber counter and polished wood floors set a natural ambience for leisurely brunching, while a stacked stone fireplace warms the soul during chillier months, as guests ponder a menu and ethos for delicious food and drink without costing the earth. Native herbs, fish, nuts and fruit – some foraged in their natural state – can be found in offerings such as a pumpkin and pine nut bowl of chickpeas, radish, carrot dust, barley, quinoa, mixed leaves and smoked tofu. Slice your knife through perfectly cooked New York steak Frites, horseradish and garlic butter, smoked hummus and salt; washed down with a glass of McLaren Vale Paxton Cabernet.