I started my Chef’s apprenticeship at a small European-style restaurant in Hobart before moving to a large hotel where after qualifying as a Chef, I worked my way up to Chef de Partie in the fine dining restaurant ‘Meehans’.
During this time, I met my husband Allan, a classically French-trained Chef from the UK. Along with Allan, I set up a small seasonally operated café at Coles Bay on Tasmania’s East Coast.
During the Winter season of 2000, I travelled to the UK where I had the opportunity to work at Rick Stein’s restaurant in Padstow. I then moved to Pitlochry, a small town in Scotland where I lived and worked at the boutique East Haugh House Hotel & Restaurant.
After working on the East Coast for two years I moved to Launceston where I established and operated ‘Restaurant Synergy’ with Allan.
During the 7 years of running this restaurant I was a state finalist in the Telstra Small Business Woman of the Year awards; as well as winning Best Informal Dining in Australia and Restaurant of the Year in Tasmania (Restaurant & Caterers Association).
I then moved back to the east coast where I established and operated the restaurant at Piermont Retreat, Swansea. Within the first year the restaurant achieved state recognition being awarded Best New Restaurant, Best Restaurant in Accommodation and Best European Restaurant.
I then moved to a newly-established suburban sustainable food store café on Hobart’s eastern shore, ‘The Aproneers’. After a few years working as Head Chef at the café, I established ‘Vivandiere’ - my stall at Hobart Farm Gate Market, where I specialised in sweet and savoury pastries, cakes and macarons.
With an interest in pastry and creating desserts, I had the opportunity to work as a chocolatier at Coal River Farm near Richmond in the Coal River Valley.
During my time here I learnt from Chris Smith, an English-born, French-trained chocolatier, I also attended Savour School in Melbourne where I studied chocolates and pralines level 1 through to 4.
While I thoroughly enjoyed learning the art of becoming a chocolatier, my passion was still cooking so I took the opportunity to set up and operate the kitchen as Executive Chef at Prospect House Private Hotel in Richmond.
I have been working with small producers in the Coal River Valley and creating memorable dining experiences for guests for more than 3 years.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
Yes, cooking is something I have always enjoyed. Growing up in a family that entertained on a regular basis, I spent a lot of my weekends in the kitchen with Mum helping her prepare all the delicious food she would cook for home dinner parties.
How would you define your style?
I feel my cooking style is refined, with a focus on seasonal, regional produce.
What is your feature flavour these days?
My feature flavour is always based on what is currently in season and to highlight that produce without over complicating the finished dish. The perfect example of this is the recipe I have shared for sugar cured wallaby, candied Tasmanian walnuts, Tongola curdy and pickled citrus.
Driving myself to be the best at my chosen craft of cooking and consistency of the highest standard shining on every plate.
Your greatest culinary influence:
My greatest culinary influence is my husband Allan, we have worked in kitchens together for almost half of my cooking career. While I am working in a kitchen without him, he has helped me develop my own unique style of cooking as he continues to give me the confidence, support and encouragement to always develop new ideas.
What do you love about this business?
I love that I still have the same passion for cooking as I had more than 20 years ago when I started in the hospitality industry. I feel for the most part I have been fortunate to work for people who believe and trust in my skill, passion and experience, which has allowed me to create with few limitations.
Each new dish I create is Mr Minty’s favourite.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Salt, I’m a great believer in layering seasoning throughout the different stages of cooking a complete dish.
Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?
Wallaby, while these are lovely creatures they are a slight pest, much like kangaroos are in mainland Australia. I enjoy featuring wallaby on my menus as it’s a very versatile and healthy protein, as well as sustainable.
I don’t have a signature dish because of how reflective of the season my menus are, while my dishes are well received by diners I enjoy creating new dishes.
What can diners expect when they eat at your restaurant and what makes the experience special?
Surrounded by an eclectic mix of Australian art diners can expect a seasonal fresh menu of locally sourced ingredients. The Becker Minty Dining room is a unique picturesque space looking out on the old Salamanca Quarry a significant symbol of Hobart's history.
Following a relaxed lunch diners can shop the store's curated collection of home décor, fashion, jewellery, perfume and gifts.
What is your go-to meal at home when you don’t feel like cooking?
Croque monsieur with shaved pear and rocket salad.
Tell us something no one knows about you?
I often compile a whole new menu in my head when I'm out walking my dogs.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Hopefully still working for Mr Minty @ Becker Minty dining room still cooking and creating a memorable dining experience for customers as I continue to develop my culinary skills.