I'm a chef, no longer the exec chef at Hilton Adelaide which was home for around 10 years, but I'm still rattling pots and pans around. I guess my day job is creative director for the longest running national food festival in Australia; Tasting Australia
I'm a sometime television presenter (with that force of nature and all round good food, Barossa girl Maggie Beer) on the ABC's "The Cook and The Chef". We knocked out over a 150 episodes of the series and I have hung my clogs up from TV for a while.
Before all this I was in Melbourne where I started cooking twenty odd years ago. Thai and Indian (my first cooking gigs) will always be sentimental favorites on my menus. I love the economy of, and the explosive but harmoniously balanced flavours of both these cuisines. I still cook a lot in this style for my home meals.
I moved to Adelaide shortly after Cheong Liew made The Grange Restaurant his home. I had flown over one night to eat his menu (still one of the most memorable meals I have ever had), and pretty soon after had a job in the Hilton kitchens.
It took a while to get into The Grange Kitchen but I ended up as a Chef De Partie in the meat section and was introduced to Cheong's classic French technique and a myriad of Malaysian/Chinese flavours.
As far as describing a food philosophy, these days I just want the most ethically sourced, local and fresh ingredients. I reckon my job is just to get these onto a plate with the minimum of fuss and let the produce shine with technique driven attention to method and detail.
Forget about chefs getting all the limelight for a moment, it's about the product and the producer these days for me. The chef is just a vehicle to get their hard work on the plate. If you grow your own food I am sure you will agree, you just want to cook simply and honestly to do justice to the amazing flavor that good produce exudes.
Being able to cook for someone is one of the nicest thing you can do, but (and this is a big BUT) the choices you make when you shop are as important to me as the cooking.
Oh, and when I'm not cooking, here's how I like( or liked) to keep busy...
- site/ event catering production and delivery , no number too big
- the dirty depot Private Warehouse style restaurant/ corporate catering events in 40 seat warehouse restaurant 5 KM's from Adelaide's centre in Brompton .
- demonstration cooking/ hands on cooking classes , public speaking, hospitality mentorship/ kitchen footprint design and troubleshooting consultancy/ cost efficiency auditing for food businesses large and small.
- Animals Asia Foundation
- The Animal Welfare League, SA
- RSPCA Choose Wisely Campaign
- The Department of Environment and Heritage Kitchen Garden Foundation
- Premium Food and Wine from South Australia’s Clean Environment
- Oxfam GROW and FAIR
- Meat Free Week
- Adelaide Bee Sanctuary
- Australian International Year of Pulses
- Co-Creative Director - 2014, 2016 & 2017
- Festival Director - 2018 2019 2020 2021
“Legumeer” and “Sometimes-Purveyor” of:
- dirt(y) inc – gm free, artisan style wholefoods
- nice pickles- whacky pickles
Awards and Presentations and blah blah include:
- 2014 The Advertiser Food Awards - Adelaide Food Legend
- 2008 Restaurant and Catering Association (SA) – Chef of the Year
- 2007 Hotel Management Magazine Awards Excellence – Executive Chef of the Year