September 25th, 1966. I grew up in the Bayside area of Melbourne.
It all started with my mother's love of food. She was an amazing cook and the reason why, I too, fell in love with it. I used to sit there and watch her cook for hours on end. I remember going sailing with my buddies, and coming home to a beautifully prepared meal waiting for me. I still have some of her hand written recipes at home. Food has always been in my life. I have always been exposed to good food and it has always been my passion.
Have you always wanted to be a chef?
Yes. As mentioned above, it has always been ingrained in me. I grew up with food. I had my mother's cooking as inspiration, and an inherent drive to create exquisite food for all to share and be apart of. The passion of a chef is all about this. Being able to share my cooking with others and bring joy to their life through food, just as my mother did for me.
How would you define your style?
I would say Modern Australian. Incorporating all the varied and wonderful cultures, techniques and ingredients, and making use of all the fresh produce we have available in this country of ours. Middle Eastern, to Asian, to French - the food I create really is culturally boundless.
What is your feature flavour these days?
It is hard to name just one. I really like new experiences, innovative cooking and trying new places. I am pretty excited about Australian Cobia and corn-fed Holmbrae chicken.
Obsessive compulsive about?
When it comes to the kitchen, one thing I am completely adamant about is if the food is warm, it is to be served on a warm plate. I will have my plates ready to go in the oven, and will time it to the split second of when I take them out, ready for the food. Then straight out to the guest, no delay accepted.
Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences:
Hermann Schneider. I did my apprenticeship under his guidance. He was an amazing mentor and filled me with the drive and determination to really succeed in this industry.
What do you love about this business?
I love being able to live my passion on a daily basis, through four different venues that each represent a unique dining experience, and the diversity of my cooking. I love being able to share beautiful, fresh ingredients and finely prepared dishes, and make this accessible to the public for all to enjoy.
Any ingredient you can't live without?
An oil of some sort. Whether it be olive, sesame, grapeseed or walnut oil, this simple ingredient is integral in my cooking.
This has quickly become the crisp organic farm egg, with leek cream. As soon as you crack in to that egg, and mix all of the components of the dish together, that first bite will be one you will savour for a long time after you have have scraped the bottom of the dish clean with your spoon.