When you’re 16, you never really know what you want to do, but do your own thing. So, I went into something I liked, which was cooking
I wrote a letter to the local restaurant and luckily enough, they asked me to come and do a trial. I was hooked, the fastest 3 hours of my life at Mustard and Punch in the UK.
Owners Rick and Wayne really inspired me and not long after, I dreamed of the possibility of working in a Michelin kitchen. I was also lucky enough to get a job with renowned Chef Nathan Outlaw, where I developed a love for seafood and letting quality produce speak for itself.
Having always wanted to work in Australia, cooking brought me here then back to the UK when a friend asked me to come and work at L’Ortalan. Here everybody pushed each other to be better, put in the hard work but we were also like brothers in arms.
However, I was set on returning to live in Australia and was lucky enough to get sponsored to return. Here I’ve worked with a couple of phenomenal Chefs who’ve worked at the world’s best restaurants and that has opened my mind that no matter what you do you can always go to another level.
This journey has led me to become Head Chef at Orpheus Island Lodge on the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
No, never. I thought about dentistry, but after two weeks working in one on work experience, it was very boring. So, I got advised to do something l like and that was cooking. I was hooked and my hobby became my life.
How would you define your style?
Off the cuff and against the grain - big flavour but balanced out.
What is your feature flavour these days?
Some XO-style sauce, from fermented mushrooms to cheese curds.
Questioning everything to make it better.
Your greatest culinary influence:
Hard to pick one really. Gordon Ramsay was everywhere when I was a teenager with kitchen nightmares and the f-word. But also, some of my first Head Chefs from Rick and Wayne to Nathan and Pete, they had passion, drive, advice and stories that inspired me and made me want to better myself. But also nature, there’s a lot of inspiration there.
What do you love about this business?
From great produce to great people FNQ has a lot to offer. Also, the freedom to have a daily changing menu which drives the creativity and the fish supplied by Chris Bolton, it is next level.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Butter and or soy.
Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?
The four skins dish. It’s a bit of fun to read on the menu, but it’s four crispy skins with four different salt flavours, a real umami hit.
I wouldn’t say I have one. I like to change dishes all the time and try new techniques, there’s always something new to try.