Tony Gibson
Tony Gibson

Tony Gibson

Born:  North Shields, England

History:  Started at The Intercontinental Hotel, London, then moved on to work for Steven Terry at Coast Restaurant, London.  I then worked for Jason Atherton at Frith Street, L’Anis and Gordon Ramsay in London and Dubai.  After that, I travelled to Sydney and worked at Marque for three years, then Astral and Sean’s Kitchen at Star City with Sean Connolly.  I’m now Head Chef at Manly Pavilion.

Have you always wanted to be a Chef?

Yes and no!  I didn’t start cooking professionally until I was 24.  So I did all sorts of sales jobs before finally deciding to be a chef.  I always had a passion for cooking though it just took a while to realise that was my calling.

How would you define your style? 

Very light and modern with an eclectic mix of flavours and textures.  Strong foundation in French technique but with a very modern awareness.

What is your feature flavour these days?

Anything pickled or smoked.

Obsessive compulsive about? 

People leaving spoons in the pan when they’re cooking things.  It winds me up as it’s just lazy.

Your greatest culinary inspirations/influences?

First and foremost, Jason Atherton.  He taught me how to cook and run a kitchen.  Then most recently, Sean Connolly, who taught me how to run a restaurant.  Both have been very important in my career to date.

What do you love about this business?

I get to do something I love every day.  Also each day is different; one day you're fully staffed, the next day you're three men down.  It keeps you on your toes and that keeps it interesting.

An ingredient you can’t live without?

Tomato  by far my favourite ingredient.  So many different flavours and types.  I love to use it in desserts as well as savoury dishes; it's so versatile.

Most 'eyebrow raising' menu item?

Blue throat wrasse – a truly beautiful fish and it's sustainable; however, not many people use it or know what it is.  You have to cook it at low temperatures though, or else it curls like a mother...

Signature dish:  I don’t really have an all time signature dish but at the moment I guess the red claw yabbie with confit portabello mushrooms, samphire and pine nuts is pretty close to it.  I’ve done about four different versions over the years but this is the most recent.