Jacinda Yates

Jacinda Yates


Born and raised on the South Coast.


At a very young age, I used to watch my Pa (a former Chef from Russia) in our kitchen and was enthralled. He made it look so easy and fun! I always wanted to help, and as years passed, I got into it more and more. I began my apprenticeship at Tullimbah Inn and have been working in South Coast restaurants ever since. I have been with Mercure Gerringong for 2.5 years.

Have you always wanted to be a Chef?  

Yes.  I was always interested in cooking and baking and decided to make a career of it when I was 16. 

How would you define your style? 

Classic flavour combinations with a contemporary touch.

What is your feature flavour these days? 

I love beetroot, for its unique earthy taste and gorgeous  colour.  It’s almost always on the menu in some form. 

Obsessive compulsive about?  

Almost everything! Poor organisation and messiness are my pet hates. 

Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences: 

Peter Gilmore and Serge Dansereau are my food heroes. I’m also a big fan of Adriano Zumbo.

What do you love about this business?  

The excitement and drama of service makes our job interesting, but the best part is just working with beautiful produce. It inspires you every day. 

An ingredient you can’t live without?  

Lemon. I love acidity and lemon has that fragrant kick perfect for sweet, savoury and drinks. It goes with nearly everything.

Most ‘eyebrow raising’ menu item?  

Many frowned at my pasta with cauliflower, white  anchovy, capers and raisins- until they tasted it. It was my favourite dish from that menu but not enough guests were willing to take the risk so sadly it wasn’t a great seller.

Signature dish:

Lemon and chilli fettuccine with pickled portobello mushroom, truffle oil and garlic pangrattato it’s a guest and team favourite, but my high tea scones and macaroons probably bring in the most praise.