I grew up in a small country town before moving to Newcastle to begin my apprenticeship. I worked at a variety of restaurants, pubs and clubs before moving to Sydney as a 3rd year apprentice to finish my training. Once I qualified, I began working at the Intercontinental Hotel Group, travelling around their hotel chains and eventually ending up at the Crowne Plaza, Terrigal.
From there, I opened a small restaurant at The Entrance on the NSW Central Coast. Most recently, I worked at Ziva Eats & Pizza, Toukley, which has just won a NSW Chefs Table Gold Medal.
I have now purchased a hobby farm in the Mudgee region, where I am living completely off the grid with the hopes of being fully sustainable in growing and producing all my own produce. This has brought me to now work at Vintage Vines Café at Mudgee Wines.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
Yes! I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, I love to create new and exciting dishes, as I enjoy pleasing guests with new styles and flavours. I grew up with very influential people who were all passionate about cooking. I have such fond memories of being a small child and helping my Grandmother cooking, whether it was at one of her restaurants or just at home baking cakes and slices.
How would you describe your style?
I’m very old school, but I like to put my own signature spin on good, old fashioned meals. I like to match my dishes with wines and create a whole dining experience.
What is your feature flavour?
like to create my own seasoning and rubs. I believe how you season a dish gives
character to your food, whether it be creating my own salts by mixing a
combination of smoked salt and sea salt, or playing with a variety of fresh
herbs. I even like to dry out my own home grown herbs, mixing and matching them
until I get the flavour I’m looking for.
Obsessive, compulsive about?
I have to be prepared. I like to have everything in its place. I’m also a little bit of a perfectionist and there must be cleanliness as I can’t function in mess!
What do you love about this business?
I love the fact that I am continuously learning, as there is something new each day; new flavours, new ideas and new mistakes. I also enjoy the people I meet and the stories they tell me.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
That’s a hard one, but if it had to be one it would be salt, as it adds so much – seasoning is the key to perfection.
Most ‘eyebrow raising’ menu item?
My Vintage Vines homemade pasta probably brings the most compliments from guests.
Any of my weekly changing desserts. I love dessert making! I spent many years working with an amazing French pastry Chef who taught me so much.
Step back in time and enjoy country fare and a glass of wine at Vintage Vines Café on Henry Lawson Drive in Mudgee. Nestled in Mudgee Wines Estate, this rustic café has a warm, cosy vibe where friends gather to share a meal together and sample a shiraz cabernet, made from vines dating back more than 150 years. Tickle the tastebuds with hearty fare such as a pumpkin soup starter, served with crusty Turkish bread and sour cream, before classic mains like shepherd's pie topped with mash and finished with a cheese crust. Pizza lovers can pick up a slice of barbeque chicken with mushrooms and red onion, or perhaps an authentic margherita; while couples may share in an antipasto platter of salami, ham, chorizo, chicken, brie, sundried tomatoes and olives, served with bread sticks and crackers.