SHARPEST TOOL IN THE RACK
"My knife would have to be my favourite kitchen tool"
Born? Kent, England 1975
Education: Left high school and studied ‘office management’ for 1 year including shorthand which is very useful nowadays. Then Hospitality Management and Commercial Cookery at William Angliss several years later when I decided to make cooking my profession.
Experience: The Ship Inn, Kent, UK a small gastro pub serving good home-style traditional English fare. Then a small interruption of 9 years in the banking industry. The Clyde Williamstown, Scusami on Southbank, Richmond Hill Cafe and Larder, Richmond.
Favorite cheap eat: Pacific House, Victoria Street or The Supper Inn. You're transported to another world where its just about food, quick, cheap and tasty, no time for romance.
What keeps you going? I love the industry, it’s addictive, challenging and full of wonderfully driven people living their passion. Co-existing with like minded people and a constant journey of learning is what keeps me going and in the game.
Advice to future chefs? Just simply work hard. Respect, listen and absorb any piece of information or advice other chefs give you it’s all invaluable and you never know when many years down tehe track you might need that piece of advice and ‘Be careful who you tread on, on your way up, you never know who you might meet on your way back down’....
Favorite kitchen tool? My beautiful shiny Kitchen Aid and of course chef's knife.
Most controversial menu item? Eggplant or Aubergine!!!???
Favorite thing about Melbourne? The diversity of culture, with this comes a rich environment of delicious, exotic and new foods all available in such close proximity. Melbourne is a wonderfully peaceful and warm city where you feel welcome and encouraged to grown and it really is a city of opportunity.
Most useful cookbook? Most loved? Giorgio Locatelli, My oldest: John Burton-Race, ‘Recipes from and English Master-chef’ and Most useful: Stephanie Alexander’s ‘Cooks Companion’ and of course the internet is an endless source of information and knowledge that is constantly updated. And magazines are a great source of seasonal ingredients and their uses, I have kept 3 or 4 magazines for the last 10 years religiously and refer back to the constantly.
Early influences? My dad was a fishmonger and fisherman so we ate some form of fresh fish daily, he would sip up something tasty in no time at all for the family. We was lucky to have such wonderful fresh produce available to us. Our home was also surrounded by farmland and dad woul sneak out at night and come home with sacks of whatever was being grown by the nearby farmers! It was of course expensive feeding 4 hungry kids.
Career you would have pursued if you didn't become a chef? Fantasy career - I would have loved to work with horses, still a dream of mine. Realistic career - would have always been involved in food somehow, that is always already mapped out for you.
Favorite sport? Horse riding and show jumping but I rarely get any opportunity nowadays.
How can we keep attracting young chefs into the food world? By staying passionate and excited ourselves. We need to share our knowledge and information and enjoy teaching and nurturing the great young chefs out there who will be cooking and teaching the children of our future. Of course wages and working conditions in many places still have a lot to be desired.
Obsession ingredient? Always seasonal and exceptional quality basic ingredients make or break a dish.
Purveyor tip? Spend time researching and visiting your producers and suppliers. Get to know your product and trust your suppliers. A good relationship goes a long way to a healthy and happy business.