Rob Turner

Rob Turner

Born:

Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK.

History:

I began cooking professionally in 1998 at the age of 17 at Holdsworth House Hotel and Restaurant in Halifax. Following this, I worked in the North of England including The Burlington Restaurant in The Devonshire Arms Hotel and Spa, under the guidance of Steve Williams and Michael Wignall, the ‘original’ Gastropub as well as The Angel Inn at Hetton, under the guidance of Denis Watkins and Bruce Ellsworth.

In 2010, I first moved to Australia and took on the Head Chef role in the newly opened Sentinel Bar and Grill in Perth’s CBD, owned by Steve Scaffidi. Returning to the UK, I became a development Chef, developing products for Marks and Spencer, other major retailers and Virgin Atlantic. In 2015, I returned to Australia on a permanent basis, where the opportunity arose to take over an old country café. In 2017, I rebranded and renovated it to what is now Northern Ground, with a heavy slant on using local produce, that in East Gippsland, we are surrounded by, both on land and sea.

Have you always wanted to be a Chef?

No. I studied graphic design but worked part-time in a kitchen washing dishes. When the decision came to go to Uni or not, I chose the kitchen.

How would you define your style?

Relaxed, European Bistro.

What is your feature flavour these days?

I use a lot of fresh herbs and vinegars at the moment, think Salsa Verde.

Obsessive-compulsive about?

Fresh, local produce.

Your greatest culinary influences?

I have a few, all past Head Chefs that influenced me in different ways from the start of my career, onwards. Neal Birtwell, Bruce Ellsworth, Darren Parkinson, Minesh Patel, Michael Wignall, Steve Williams and Michael Ricci.

What do you love about this business?

The pace, adrenalin and atmosphere. Followed by happy customers!

An ingredient you can’t live without?

Sherry vinegar.

Most ‘eyebrow-raising’ menu item?

Sea Urchins. They are a big problem locally, so ‘eating the problem’ is something we are trying to highlight.

Signature dish:

Lyonnaise Salad: seared ox heart, local smokehouse bacon, bitter leaves, herbs, poached free-range egg and sherry vinegar.


Northern Ground

Northern Ground

Embracing northern English roots and local seasonal produce, Northern Ground on Main Street in Bairnsdale dishes up big flavours in stylish, modern surrounds. This café by day and restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights, sets a relaxed dining mood with cool green feature walls, blond wood floors and striking artwork, ideal for enjoying plates celebrating the Gippsland food bowl. Chef Rob Turner hails from Leeds and incorporates traditional English dishes with a modern twist into a European-style bistro menu, with temptations such as pork and fennel sausages, shaved apple, witlof and olive oil. Delve into a signature grilled ox heart Lyonnaise salad, with fine slices of steak, bitter leaves, smoked bacon, dill and crisp croutons, topped with a soft egg; best teamed with a glass of Shiraz.

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