AUSTRALIAN GOOD FOOD GUIDE - Home of the Chef Hat Awards
Linda Johnston

Linda Johnston


Hamilton, New Zealand.


The passion blossomed from a very young age, licking spoons and stealing handfuls of grated cheese while the Head Chef (my beautiful Italian Mama) wasn’t looking.

I left high school a year early to scrub pans in a café – where I fell even more in love with the idea of becoming a Chef. The following year I did my training and within two years, I was qualified and working full-time in a suburban restaurant slinging wood-fired pizzas. 

I spent a few years job hopping, meeting new chefs, learning new skills and observing how other kitchens operate. This was so valuable to me, I didn’t even realise it at the time, I am where I am now due to being so open-minded to learning and trying to gain as much knowledge from those around me.
Currently, I am living my best life in CQ, working in an incredible place in Yeppoon – The Alley. I am privileged to be part of this magical place, which lets me shine and tune into my passion of sharing great food, simple ingredients prepared with love – just like my mum taught me. 
Have you always wanted to be a Chef? 

Yes. I think being a chef always just made sense to me. 

How would you define your style?
Simple, beautiful balanced flavours that leave you wanting more.
What is your feature flavour these days?
Vibing Asian flavours, always a lover of citrus. 

Obsessive-compulsive about? 

Seasoning. Taste EVERYTHING.

Your greatest culinary influence:
Chef Andrew Clark – an award-winning local chef in my hometown OF Hamilton. I always dreamed of working under him, in fact my last job in New Zealand was working for him. Very proud moment in my career.

What do you love about this business?
The passion for good food, beverages, live music and great energy.

An ingredient you can’t live without?
Salt. Or butter. Butter…mmm. 

Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?

Our breakie burger #1 aka Sausaje wallet ‘winky face’ it’s very YUM.

Signature dish:
The Ben Jammin – boujee eggs Benny. 

What do you think COVID has taught restaurants and Chefs about their diners and the industry in general?

Without diners, we have no jobs, we have no industry. The importance of supporting your local is huge. Supporting each other, shopping local, shopping seasonal.

Tell us something no one knows about you?

Pass, I’m way to loud to have secrets. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

Hopefully baking up a storm in Salty Gurl Bakes HQ – maybe a few minis mes I can share my passion with he he he. 

The Alley

The Alley

Turn little moments into memories at The Alley on Normanby Street in Yeppoon. Effortlessly transitioning from morning to night, week to weekend, coffee to cocktail, whatever you are after The Alley knows the way; slow down, unwind and appreciate the little things at this oasis-like dining destination that feels familiar but at the same stroke inspires a thought. Start the day The Alley way with a breaky of the Ben Jammin – poached eggs, Hollandaise, bacon, cheese and Dijon mustard croquettes, sprinkled with chimichurri – or granola, coconut yoghurt, fruit and honey. The lunch crowd enjoys a cold Sauvignon Blanc with a hot smoked salmon poké bowl, brown rice, fresh vegetables and toasted sesame dressing; or chow down on a cheeky chicken burger, with Asian slaw, Kewpie, bacon and fries.

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