Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
I always just loved eating! I started to cook at home purely because I wanted to eat all the time! I would try to wag days off school with my younger brother so I could cook up some elaborate lunch, and generally trash the house with dishes which is what often got us busted! I became a kitchen hand when I was about 15 and quickly realised I wanted to be a chef.
How would you define your style?
We are a regional restaurant so I think our style is a reflection of our region (the Barossa.) We farm and forage ingredients and have programs for yearly pickling, preserving etc, this is what most Barossan's do! So it seems right we showcase this style of eating and living to our guests.
What is your feature flavour these days?
I love fragrant leaves, herbs, greens with raw seafood or lightly smoked meats. Something like a slice of kingfish with a few celery leaves is all I need to be happy!
Obsessive compulsive about?
Keeping my house clean, haha, and keeping the kitchen spotless at work I guess. Working in a clean environment is incredibility satisfying and adds a sense of pride to what you do.
Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences:
My parents - they really have influenced my eating and thinking habits with food the most. They are both great cooks and have always simply valued real/quality produce and cooking. I was very spoiled with food as a kid.
Maggie and Colin Beer - being a Barossan myself I'm obviously a supporter and admirer of the Beers, they are a great inspiration for me when I think about what I could achieve in this region. I visit the farm shop regularly and often use it as a place to sit and reflect on work and life in general.
What do you love about this business?
Providing and receiving true hospitality. I absolutely love when we can find small details that can enhance somebody's experience, they can be simple things like a recipe, a local’s tip, a suppliers contact details, a gift etc. these details can really connect you to a restaurant and the staff which is often very positive for all!
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Oysters, for some reason I just can't stop with them.
Most ‘eyebrow raising’ menu item?
Tuna with chicken liver parfait. It's not really that 'eyebrow raising' personally but people do often comment on it being a strange combo.
Southern Bluefin tuna, chicken liver parfait, cured egg yolk, iceberg lettuce, sunflower seed and brown butter.