AUSTRALIAN GOOD FOOD GUIDE - Home of the Chef Hat Awards
Marcello Kretzer

Marcello Kretzer


Blumenau - a city in Vale do Itajaí, state of Santa Catarina, in the South Region of Brazil.


While studying at the University of Santa Catarina in 2002, I started working at a number of Brazilian restaurants and at one point owned and operated my own business.

After moving to Australia I worked in a number of venues, across a variety of cuisines. I was a pizza Chef, I worked in an oyster bar, for Burwood Casino (now Crown) and then in 2010 I started working at Duende in Leederville, Western Australia.

Having started in a Sous Chef position, within 6 months I was the Head Chef and within the year I was relocated to another venue owned by the same hospitality group, Balthazar.

I returned to Brazil for a period to support my family and on arrival back in Western Australia worked at Bad Apples for a short period before opening Don Tappas in 2014 and Percy Flint shortly after. I was involved with Besk in Subiaco, where I worked before moving on to open Neon Palms and Planet Royal in Northbridge.

In 2021, I joined the team at Clarences Company Store.

Have you always wanted to be a Chef? 

Not always, I have always loved cooking but my studies early on were in graphic design and marketing. At some stage I just realised that I enjoyed cooking and later studied gastronomy.

When I moved to Australia cooking was what I knew and so I naturally fell into it. When I started at Duende, I developed true passion…and gave myself to it. My time at Balthazar was such an important part of shaping the Chef I would become.

How would you define your style? 

Humble, earthy, simple and produce-driven, with a focus on minimal waste. My style is a mix between technique and a humble approach to the produce, a contrast between simplicity and detail.

What is your feature flavour these days? 

Creole. New Orleans flavours are driving my overall vision for the food, the culture behind it, but worked in with this are flavours I knew growing up and specific WA produce.

With each dish, it is so important to take into consideration our clientele, their expectations, understanding their needs and ensuring that this fits with the aforementioned flavours and produce.

Obsessive-compulsive about? 

Organisation, cleaning, commitment and hard work…it is not the produce, the ingredients, or even the cooking - it is attitude, a commitment to the business and to the guests. Not always being ‘the best’…but always being my best.

Your greatest culinary influence: 

First and foremost my Mum.

Secondly Alex Atala. In 2015, Alex became the first Brazilian Chef to have a two-star restaurant in the Michelin Guide. The way he presents Brazilian food is inspiring and he is an amazing representation of Brazilian history and culture.

What do you love about this business? 

The challenge - the task to achieve completeness as a Chef. A complete Chef is not just someone who creates great dishes, it is the way you train, your work ethic, your approach to produce, business profitability, your team and of course recognition.

An ingredient you can’t live without? 


Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?

Our half chicken. It is a dish that could be perceived as out of the box, it is not a combination of classic, or predictable flavours, but it works.

Signature dish:

It is hard to pick one signature dish, each item on our menu in a way is signature. Every single dish we have is so personal, it is very ‘us’ there is not really comparable dishes.

But to answer the question, perhaps our current mushroom dish - it is unique, it is a terrific combination of flavour, it is minimal waste…AND it is vegan.

What can diners expect when they eat at your restaurant and what makes the experience special?

Bold flavours, texture and lots of contrast between flavours. Each flavour is on show and the quality of the produce is easy to identify.

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

Don’t carry stock…no, in all seriousness, the main lesson for me was the importance of being engaged in the industry and understanding the market and guests’ needs. How quickly we recover depends on how well you understand market demand. In order to ‘pivot’ in a competitive way you have to be doing something that appeals.

Tell us something no one knows about you?

Earlier in my career, I would have spoken about my passion for being a DJ, the time I was on Brazilian television, or the time I spent owning and operating my own food truck. But at this stage in my life, the most important thing in my life, that is private, is the love I have for my family and how proud I am of each of my children.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?

That is a very difficult question to answer, I plan ahead, I have goals…but I live in today, in the moment. If I could wish, I would take everything I have learnt in business management and apply that to something where these skills can have a place and are perhaps of even greater value.