Inspired by women, obsessed to be the best
"Be good to your wholesalers, it's a two-way relationship. Make good food a daily priority and seek out and nurture small producers even if they do cost a little more." Alex Herbert
Born? Sydney Australia 1967.
Education? Commenced a degree in Fine Arts majoring in History and Italian but deferred to take up cooking.
Experience? Worked alongside some of Australia's finest chefs and restaurateurs, featuring Gay Bilson, Janni Kyritsis, Maggie Beer, Christine Mansfield, David Thompson and Martin Boetz.
Best kitchens worked? Berowra Waters Inn, Pine Log Restaurant, Central NSW Coast, Maggie Beer's Pheasant Farm Restaurant, Paramount Restaurant and Sailors Thai.
Favourite cheap eat? Golden Century and Sailors Thai Canteen.
What keeps you going? I'm lucky that I love what I do with my cooking; it's a lifestyle.
Advice to future chefs? Although it may seem like hard work and long hours for not a lot of money at the start, the long term benefits of making a commitment to cooking will be life enriching.
Favourite kitchen tool? Mandolin.
Most controversial menu ingredient? My cooking is probably more homely than controversial.
Favourite thing about Sydney? Its diversity. The people, places and the food.
Most useful cookbook? The Time Life series.
Early influences? The women in my family. My mother's, aunt's and grandmother's cooking.
Career turning point? Three months into making the decision to cook I was offered a job as an apprentice at Berowra Waters Inn, working under Janni Kyritsis and Gay Bilson.
Career you would have pursued if you didn't become a chef? I have no idea. I was doing an Arts Degree which as we all know equips you for everything and nothing at all.
On modern v classic trained chefs? There is currently a risk that young chefs today want to have it all, NOW. I like to use the analogy of painting. The greats such as Monet and Picasso were all very good draftsmen with an understanding of the classics before they ventured out. There has to be a balance between understanding why dishes work both technically and on the palate before too much experimentation takes place.
Favourite sport? I swim 1km every day. I'm in training to get back into the kitchen.
Ingredient obsession? As long as it is fresh, local and seasonal, I'm obsessed with it.