Gavin Forman
Gavin Forman

Gavin Forman

Born:  Dublin, Ireland 

History:  Gavin started his career as an apprentice working in some of Ireland’s leading restaurants, including La Stampa (a unique hotel located in the heart of Dublin city centre).  He gained his professional qualifications at the City and Guilds of London Institute, the leading provider of vocational qualifications in the United Kingdom.

In 1994, he came to Australia and spent a year working as sous chef at the Park Royal, gaining an understanding of Australian food.  Over the next few years, Gavin acquired considerable experience in managing several high profile restaurants including the Tuscany Terrace restaurant in Newcastle.  Two years later, he was given the opportunity to open an informal fine dining restaurant, the Kurrajong. 

A major highlight of Gavin’s career was his three year appointment as Head Chef of the Newcastle Club – a very old institution of Newcastle’s business community, offering an exceptionally high standard of dining and old-fashioned traditions of service, courtesy, comfort and charm. 

Gavin then turned his hand to opening his own restaurant, The Mortar and Pestle, in Newcastle and for three years offered casual fine dining experience.  Always keen to increase his skills base and gain valuable experience, Gavin spent 12 months learning resort management as the General Manager of a tourist resort in Pokolbin. 

Gavin’s passion for creating fine food and the overwhelming desire to once again be involved in the day to day kitchen environment saw him take on the role of Executive Chef and restaurant manager of the renowned Wyndham Estate, one of the oldest and most respected wineries in Australia.  His role included being responsible for all management functions of the kitchen, management of kitchen and floor staff, as well as the overall profitability of each restaurant and event.  As well as other events such as ‘Opera in the Vines’, Gavin was also involved in the ‘Seasons Plate Lunch’, an event which regularly attracts up to 400 diners and gave Gavin the opportunity to work with other high profile chefs such as Steven Snow and Maggie Beer.

Gavin has cooked alongside respected Hunter Valley chefs including Robert Molines, managed a degustation dinner for some 400 diners in Darwin, appeared in lifestyle cooking programs on Foxtel, and been both involved in and consulted with on the opening of many successful Hunter Valley restaurants.

Gavin has been the Head Chef at The Old George & Dragon Restaurant since the ownership changed hands in July 2009, making him only the second chef in the restaurant’s 30 year history.

Have you always wanted to be a Chef? 

Yes, since the age of 7 years old, when I worked with my father in my family’s fish supply business in Ireland.  While this experience reinforced the fact that I didn’t want to work in the seafood supply industry for the rest of my life, it did ignite a passion for fresh produce and their uses.

How would you define your style? 

A desire to take fresh ingredients and produce dishes of outstanding quality that customers will want to return for time and time again.

What is your feature flavour these days? 

Slow braised dishes with rich intense flavours, mainly using game and the ‘holy trinity’ of ingredients – butter, cream and wine.

Obsessive compulsive about? 

Fresh seasonal ingredients, locally sourced produce, and Tottenham Hotspurs football team!

Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences?

Marco Pierre White and Keith Floyd.

What do you love about this business?

The challenge of continually improving myself and my skills in all areas of the industry, and guiding and mentoring my apprentices and encouraging them to be the absolute best they can be.

An ingredient you can’t live without?  

The ‘holy trinity’ – butter, cream and wine.

Most ‘eyebrow raising’ menu item?  

A slow braised venison shank...of mammoth proportions. 

Signature dish:  Slow braised beef cheek, served with a traditional bacon clapshot puree (a mix of creamy potato and turnips), and a rich red wine jus.