AUSTRALIAN GOOD FOOD GUIDE - Home of the Chef Hat Awards
Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts


South Melbourne.


I grew up in Stratford Gippsland when my parents moved back from Melbourne with work and to be nearer to family. By a quirk of fate at Gippsland Grammar in year 8, I was placed in the only elective class available, Home Economics, where my passion for food and talent for creating unique flavours began. 
At 14 years of age, I was creating my own sauces and determined that my long-term career would be in hospitality as a qualified commercial Chef, owning my own restaurant by the age of 35 and a chain of restaurants at 50.

After completing year 12, I qualified as a Chef in Bendigo working at the Foundry hotel complex and the Green Olive café. Soon after completing my apprenticeship, at the age of 20, I became the Head Chef of the Golden Square Hotel.

After 3 years of running this local pub, I left Bendigo for my first stint on Hamilton Island resort to perfect my skills and rise to the position of junior Sous Chef at Sails Restaurant.

I moved to Rockpool Bar & Grill in Sydney where I worked on perfecting the basics for just under a year before moving to Rockpool Bar & Grill in Melbourne, where I perfected my creative cooking ability and learnt about fish mongering skills, focussing on taste, presentation, learning new techniques, minimising waste and generating consistent high-quality dishes.

After Rockpool group was sold to new management, I decided it was time to find a new challenge, leading me to take on a CDP role with St Ali, helping open up Mercedes Me in Rialto Tower. Here I learnt what it required to establish a new commercial kitchen and team.

Before coming back home to Stratford to be closer to family, I decided to go back to Hamilton Island to complete my goal of becoming a Head Chef once again with my new skills and recipes that had been perfected over the last 5-6 years.

While working in the Island’s Reef View Hotel’s kitchen ‘Pool Terrace’ as Sous Chef for 3 years I was given the opportunity to lead the team at Manta Ray Restaurant as Head Chef, redesigning the menu towards a Mediterranean theme which reignited my passion for housemade pastas, Italian, French and Spanish cuisines.

Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
Since the age of 13-14, cooking and eating amazing flavoursome food is all I’ve ever wanted to do, particularly for friends and family who have given me encouragement and vital feedback so that guests can enjoy the benefits of my creations.
How would you define your style?

Mediterranean-style cuisines are my focus, primarily around Italian housemade pastas and mixing in a little French and Spanish to mix it up.

What is your feature flavour these days? 

Currently, I am utilising herbs quite religiously throughout my cooking, especially with my housemade herb oil that we use for colour and flavour of some of the dishes.

Obsessive-compulsive about?
Improving my dishes, I am never satisfied that what I have created is the best it can be, so I continuously am trying to improve the flavours of the components to make it the most memorable dishes guests will ever eat.
Your greatest culinary influence:
When watching the TV show ‘Ready Steady Cook’ as a teenager, I never understood how someone could be given a bag of ingredients and create multiple courses from it on the spot. Watching Chefs create such unique items with very little gave me the urge to do the same, leading me to on creative flavours from very few ingredients.

What do you love about this business?
I love that A Taste of Avon is my partner’s and mine. We make all the decisions without the politics and associated constraints that we had had to work with while working for large hospitality and tourism organisations. We have complete autonomy and freedom to design our service from the creation of a unique menu and service style that we can present to our guests.

An ingredient you can’t live without?
Pork. No matter where I eat it or what cut it is, no matter the cuisine or style, my partner and I will always love it and struggle to live without it from breakfast to dinner and even as a snack.

Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?

I wouldn’t say we have an ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item, but what has guests surprised regarding our menu is how well we identify and adjust to people’s dietary needs and will chop and change to suit all our guests needs so anyone who enters our establishment is catered for and leaves satisfied not just happy they got food at all or turned away.

Signature dish:
Housemade ravioli, stuffed with pumpkin, sweet potato, Parmesan and caramelised onions, topped with a burnt pine nut and herb butter, Parmesan and pangrattato.

What can diners expect when they eat at your restaurant and what makes the experience special?
Flavoursome food, with unique tastes to the Gippsland region utilising as much local produce and support as possible and a friendly and inviting environment.

What is your go-to meal at home when you don’t feel like cooking?
Organising a pizza from our local pizza shop in Maffra, a quick and simple meal which I can just veg out on while watching a movie or playing my PC.

Tell us something no one knows about you?

Food and flavours are everything to me, it took me a long time and a lot of mistakes to gain the ability and confidence to even undertake this business venture and I want to pass all the information and skills I have built over the years to the next generation of Chefs, so for me I want to get into training and spending time growing the future of hospitality.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? 

Running a successful well-established restaurant with patrons travelling from afar to Gippsland and Stratford to experience the restaurant’s unique Mediterranean cuisine in a comfortable relaxed setting with a focus on developing the next generation of hospitality employees by commencing their culinary training at A Taste of Avon.

A Taste of Avon

A Taste of Avon

Get ready to indulge in a culinary adventure like no other at A Taste of Avon on Tyers Street in Stratford. This newly-opened Gippsland dining destination will tantalise tastebuds from the moment you step inside as you are transported to a world of mouth-watering flavours and signature plates of pasta. Kickstart your meal with charred King prawns, marinated in garlic and herbs, served with lemon; or perhaps seared pork belly, apple and fennel slaw and celeriac purée entices. For the main, delve into fettuccine with lamb ragu, Parmesan and tomato, or Shaw’s Spanish chorizo – onion, olives, cherry tomatoes, spinach, Parmesan and potato gnocchi. Twirl your fork around spaghetti with pulled beef Bolognese and Parmesan; before decadent chocolate gateaux for dessert with cream and strawberry.

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