I qualified in 2005, starting out at Eastwood Hotel in Sydney; before taking my first real role as a Sous Chef at Osso Restaurant at Penrith Panthers in late 2010, which started my transition to where I am now.
Since then I’ve immersed myself in books and self-growth, not having the culinary background as many of the renowned hatted Chefs I have admired over the years. This opened the path to experimenting and increasing my knowledge, which is how I found my own culinary style.
I undertook many jobs in different roles to learn and teach myself, along the way teaching others and providing motivation to the younger generation of Chefs, that you can teach yourself without having a city job but you have to have the push behind it.
I remember using a little creative leeway and adding elements as simple as putting tapioca pearls on a fish dish, which created a point of difference. When we introduced this new item to diners and we got a great response from it, it only fuelled the fire.
Since that moment, I gave myself the task of creating two different dishes every week, even if no one was ever to see them. It kept me accountable to keep on pushing until the day came where I could unleash my creativity in my own space.
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
No, I wanted to be an accountant because I liked numbers, but I found out it was a little too boring for my hands-on mentality.
How would you define your style?
I like the presentation to be humble and modest but have incredible complexity behind the dish.
What is your feature flavour these days?
I try to enhance flavours with seaweed - for example, I add kombu to all my sauces; I also season many things with sea lettuce or wakame oil.
How I cook my proteins. I don’t season cuts of meat until they are cooked and resting, so the salt immerses into the resting meat and I’m not drying out the protein, by adding salt while searing it.
Your greatest culinary influence:
Daniel Humm, Rene Redzepi, Christian Puglisi.
What do you love about this industry?
The endless possibilities, produce and techniques.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Shiro shoyu (white soy).
Most eyebrow-raising menu item:
Boudin noir, Hokkaido scallops, white chocolate and white sweet potato chips.
Vineyard-smoked mascarpone, prune jam, walnut crumb, grape and wine fluid gel, raw grated walnut, rye bark and comté cheese.
Just a short stroll from the Hunter Valley Gardens and centrally located in the heart of Pokolbin, The Cellar Restaurant offers modern contemporary inspired cuisine in sophisticated yet relaxed surrounds. Nestled on Broke Road, this sandstone and glass building features lush indoor gardens, intermingled with a welcoming fireplace in the centre of the venue ideal for cosying up in cooler months, while a wisteria surrounded courtyard entices on balmy days. From a select menu focusing on flavour and texture, embark on a culinary journey with a starter of beef tartare, popped pork, confit egg yolk, soy and mirin jelly; before mains like twice-cooked duck, prune jam, beetroot, blackberries and smoked hay jus. For an indulgent finish, try caramelised white chocolate, peach, nettle and rosemary.