AUSTRALIAN GOOD FOOD GUIDE - Home of the Chef Hat Awards
Nataly Sanchez Bruce

Nataly Sanchez Bruce

Wollongong, NSW


Food was always in my blood from a young age, I found my passion in food from my mother Marisa Tatangelo-Ferri. It was a part of Mum’s cultural upbringing – she would wake up at five in the morning along with my grandparents to make bread and pizza in their wood fire oven, or to make Napolitano sauce; it was nothing out of the ordinary for them. 

My grandparents, Margherita and Ettore, did imprint into Mum and myself their belief system that the freshest food comes from the home grown vegetable garden. 

To follow in my Mum’s footsteps, I joined her at the Caleta Hotel in Gibraltar at the age of 14, where I worked alongside her for many years; from running the family business to venturing out on my own with my own business. 

In 2012, I travelled overseas to Europe to widen my understanding of food. I learned pizza in a small traditional pizzeria in Italy, a town called Sora (Mum’s home town). From there I took the ideas from Spain to Portugal and from Greece to Switzerland, before ending up in London where I got a job in Jamie’s Italian – Threadneedle Street. Head Chef, Matt Burges put me in charge of the pasta section within weeks. From there I was asked to help out on my days off in Jamie’s famous Fifteen where the Head Chef, Job Rotherham tried to steal me from Jamie’s Restaurant. 

Taking on London’s culinary world and hunger to learn, I also did work experience (on my days off) in the most famous London restaurant where Jamie got his first break, The River Café. 

I returned home to Australia to work with Mum again, at Imagine Restaurant. After a year, I opened my own kitchen, Black Salt Brasserie with my partner and it took off from the start. At the beginning of 2016, I went into business with Mum, where we rebranded and renovated Imagine Restaurant into Table 426. We modernised the décor and the menus, so that now we serve Modern Australian cuisine that is cooked from our heart and soul for our customers to enjoy. 

Have you always wanted to be a Chef? 

No, in the beginning it was a part time job I got working with my Mum. It was a job that turned into my life and passion. It grew on me and became my obsession. 

How would you define your style? 

Fresh and traditional with a modern twist. 

What is your feature flavour these days? 

Anything with an Asian influence. 

Obsessive compulsive about? 

Cleanliness, organisation and finding the best ingredients possible. 

Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences: 

First there is my Mum and Nonna, they are both amazingly talented cooks/Chefs. Kylie Kwong, Neil Perry and pastry chef Antonio Bachour are my other inspirations. 

What do you love about this business? 

The freedom to create and consistently learn. 

An ingredient you can’t live without? 

Pepe Saya butter. 

Most ‘eyebrow raising’ menu item? 

Fresh Queensland barramundi with Hervey Bay scallops, vongole, Dutch carrots, pangrattato, broccoli and a basil cream emulsion.

Signature dish: 

Squid ink linguine, Hervey Bay scallops and Parmesan crisp.