When I went to Kindergarten, I couldn’t wait to go home to cook dinner with my Grandma. I think that was the first glimpse of my career to come. After Year 10, in school, I studied IT for two years, but when I went to University, it was four years behind what I was used to, so I lost interest.
Growing up in the countryside was fundamental for my passion and my connection to the farmers and butchers. Living on a farm while I was growing up only made my passion for food stronger.
I began my apprenticeship as a Chef in Hummersen, a little country village in the middle of Germany, at the Gourmet Hotel Lippische Rose, which was a medium-sized family-owned establishment with an attached restaurant. I worked in a team of two Chefs and three apprentices, delivering an a la carte style menu with speciality baked items.
We served larger groups buffet style food and there was a weekly Gourmet Night where we served a 5-course speciality gourmet menu.
I found my time there to be valuable in completing my qualification, as I was exposed to the menu style, the patisserie as well as the clientele we served. The high standard of creativeness and food quality was always an expectation of the establishment.
As I was attending culinary school (TAFE), there was a competition, some apprentices and I had the chance to go to Monaco and meet the Chef from the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo. What an experience!
After finishing my apprenticeship, I went to a couple of different restaurants in Germany. I did my license for ‘Ordinance on the aptitude of instructors.’ In 2001, I took the opportunity to become the National Field-Chef Instructor for the Maltese Executive Services, where we would deliver both a la carte and buffet service for up to 6500 people. I found this experience to be extremely valuable. At the same time, I was a Volunteer Firefighter, Volunteer Paramedic Assistant and First Aid Instructor.
In 2006, I went on a family holiday with my parents to Cairns. Since then, I’ve remained. I fell in love with Cairns!
I started working at Novotel Palm Cove and moved on to the Lakes Resort Cairns. Then I went to Kani’s Restaurant, before going to The Hotel Cairns as their breakfast Chef.
I moved on to the award-winning restaurant Zinc in Port Douglas. Yes, I was driving every day up to Port Douglas and back to Cairns. After Zinc, I went to Verdi’s Restaurant as a Sous Chef. There I settled for a while. After two years, I moved to Clifton Beach to open up Berlin Bier Café, a German restaurant with a FNQ tropical influence.
My next stop was the award-winning Nick’s Restaurant in Yungaburra as Head Chef. It was great working there as we were in the Atherton Tablelands, so I worked closely with a lot of farmers, producers and butchers, so I knew where each product was coming from. It was here that I realised my cooking style had developed to include a passion for sustainable food sources. After a year and a half, I moved to Bavarian Beerhouse as Head Chef, which moved to the Esplanade as it expanded. After 5 years working with the Hennlein Restaurant services, I got an offer to be Sous Chef at the Holiday Inn Cairns Harbourside. A year later I was promoted to Executive Chef and in April 2018 we did a complete renovation of the Inn’s two eateries, Teshi’s Restaurant and Blue Mango Bar, which now trades as one venue, Harbourside Bar & Kitchen.
Our focus at Harbourside Bar & Kitchen is sustainable food and a paddock-to-plate ethos along with vineyard by the glass. We have an extensive selection of organic and orange wines.
The paddock-to-plate philosophy is very important to me, it means I can guarantee that we have high-quality produce from our food bowl on the Atherton Tablelands and it also means we can support all our local suppliers.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
I first tried IT but found that food was my passion.
How would you define your style?
European with a twist of native Australian flavour.
What is your feature flavour these days?
Umami, or cherry wood smoked anything…
Your greatest culinary influences:
Gerd Wittenburg (my mentor during my apprenticeship), Mark Olive and Nelson Müeller.
What do you love about this business?
The new style and concept as well as the support from the owners.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Smoked sea salt.
Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?
FNQ crusted barramundi.