As a child, I moved from Tasmania to Nimbin, Northern NSW. I was lucky enough to grow up on a small farm of 23.5 acres, with cows and chickens and seasonal veggie crops – all for personal consumption. My uncle owned a farm across the road which had dairy cows, beef cattle, pigs and chickens. I was always over there helping with the animals and in my opinion, this was the best childhood. I learned to respect and care for all animals and understood that one day, they would be on the dinner plate.
When I was in year 10, my Father told me that "this would be the last year that my parents pay my school fees and I should start looking for an apprenticeship in any trade.” To be fair, I was wasting their money on school fees as I was a clown and did not focus on my school work at all. So, I finished my school certificate (completed/passed year 10 exams), left school and went to find an apprenticeship as a Chef, as my Grandmother and Mother worked in kitchens and I loved eating food. Also, I had done my work experience in commercial kitchens, I loved the banter between the Chefs and the thrill of being busy.
I applied at every single hotel in Brisbane for a
Two weeks later, I received a call from the Grace Hotel in Sydney. My Dad had applied for a job on my behalf through the Sydney Morning Herald. I was on a 12-hour bus ride that night for an interview the next day. I got
I worked at Grace Hotel for 2-3 years, throughout all the different kitchens. I then moved to the 5-star Westin Sydney and completed my apprenticeship, mostly working in chef hatted restaurant, Mosaic (Italian). After completing my apprenticeship, I stayed on as a Commis Chef in Mosaic for 1 more year. I was then offered an opportunity at Buon Ricordo, a restaurant with 2 Chef Hats and started as Chef de Partie. I was not ready for that! A hotel restaurant and a restaurant are very different, it was so hard in the beginning, but I stayed on for 3 years and dreamed of working in the UK or Europe.
I was offered a job at Marco Pierre White’s 1-star Michelin Restaurant, Mirabelle. I stayed there for a year until it was closed in 2008, that was very sad as I enjoyed working there so much!
I moved back to Australia mid-2013 and took on a Head Chef position in a very big venue in Cairns. After a year in
Have you always wanted to be a Chef?
Since I was 14, I liked the
How would you define your style?
Traditional (Italian, French, Japanese), with modern techniques and a little fusion.
What is your feature flavour these days?
Australian bush food and native Australian food.
All staff trying their best to provide the best experience for the customer, whether its service, drinks or food. If you can do that for one customer, you can do it for all customers.
Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences:
Massimo Branchia (Mosaic, Sydney 2003-2005). Armando Percuoco (Bon Ricordo), Armando is the most passionate Chef/Owner I have ever worked for/with. I am grateful for the time he spent with me. Igor Tymchyshyn (Orrery, Marylebone).
What do you love about this business?
There is usually no wrong way, food and dishes can be interpreted in so many ways. Also, customer satisfaction.
An ingredient you can’t live without?
Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?
I think it would have to be the coconut and mango parfait dessert. It looks simple, but the flavour and texture
Seared kangaroo fillet, seasoned with salt bush and mountain pepper, fondant potato, maple glazed Brussels sprouts and Rosella jus.
Hidden among Lismore’s laneways, The Loft on Nesbitt Lane offers a dining experience reminiscent of Melbourne’s inner-city culture. Nestled in a former industrial building and spread over two levels, a cosy bar downstairs spills out into the laneway while a mezzanine area sets an intimate setting for dinner with someone special, beneath a wall mural depicting a child and bird. Under the ambient glow of pendent lights, take a seat at rustic tables and peruse a Mod Oz menu, offering starters such as agedashi tofu with shiitake and shallots; before the main affair of slow cooked lamb shoulder, Paris mash, onion puree, baby spinach, crispy bacon and red wine jus. For a sweet finish, try the dark chocolate fondant with coconut rough, chocolate soil, coconut mousse and vanilla bean ice cream.