AUSTRALIAN GOOD FOOD GUIDE - Home of the Chef Hat Awards
Nikolas Tucker

Nikolas Tucker


Adelaide, South Australia


I started off in industry as many Chefs do as a kitchen hand in a local Barossa venue Café Lanzerac, before moving to Adelaide to start my apprenticeship.

During this time I worked at places like Stella on Henley Square, Next Generation gym North Adelaide and also ventured to the Sydney Olympics to work in the VIP Corporate area.

Once qualified I went on to Eros Ouzeri on Rundle Street, the Oxford Hotel in North Adelaide, before heading overseas to work in London where I ran three gastro pubs, the Duke's Head and the Boathouse in Putney and the Ship in Wandsworth.

After 2 years working abroad, I returned to Adelaide and started working at the Entertainment Centre then moved back home to the Barossa and started working at Jacob’s Creek, until a position at Fino Seppeltsfield came my way.

Having spent a few years at Fino I was approached to return to Jacob’s Creek to run the food and garden program until 2019, when I  was then asked to take on the Executive Chef role at St Hugo.

Have you always wanted to be a Chef?

I have always enjoyed cooking - even as a child I would make biscuits with my Mum and sister and I have always been drawn towards food.

How would you define your style?

I don’t stick to the norms of a style - my food philosophy is around freshness and seasonality, being true to the product and true to the flavours they possess.

What is your feature flavour these days?

If garden was a flavour it would be the feature currently, with us running our onsite garden here at St Hugo, our flavours are determined by the season and there is nothing more flavoursome than straight off the plant and straight to the plate.

Your greatest culinary influence:

History in food is always a good influence - I had a Chef a long time ago tell me to ‘explore the past there is nothing new in food only a different way to do it’.

Old world/peasant styles of cooking have come back in style with smoke/fire/generosity/freshness, a lot of these old methods of cooking have influenced where I sit today.

What do you love about this business?

I enjoy the fact we get to create things that make people feel emotions - people can eat and be happy, eat when they are sad, food can evoke memories of another time and place. We get to be a part of that with an expression of OURSELVES for them to carry with them.

An ingredient you can’t live without?

SALT, no one should live without salt, it makes everything better.

Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?

At St Hugo we have a focus on being wine-centric with our food offering, we look for matches that complement each other throughout the menu development process, rather than the other way around.

On our new menu, we have paired white anchovies, bread and butter pickles with our Private Collection Grenache, which for most is an unconventional match but a great pairing anyway.

Signature dish:

Chorizo that we make in-house is one of my favourites as it is something that has been on our menu since we started. It’s something I eat at home and a process that I find enjoyment in making.