If a customer asked you to suggest your favourite dish, what would it be?
I’d have to say Mary’s Garden. Mary is one of our growers here on the Peninsula and someone that really opened my eyes up to such fresh, organically grown produce. We created a dish to resemble her garden, a walk around it, and the quality of just some of the amazing produce which Mary grows. The dish consists of roasted, smoked and whipped macadamia, fresh raw peas, broad beans, mixed radishes, flowers and fresh herbs dressed with brown butter and apple balsamic. Our grilled octopus with midnight blue potato and black garlic (pictured) on The Art of Dining In menu is also a favourite. The tender octopus juxtaposes perfectly against the pickled vegetables and black garlic.
What’s your go-to trend to serve up that customers are loving?
I don’t tend to really follow ‘trends’; however, I’m really driven by minimising waste, so using vegetable trim to make a tart case for a snack to sit in or using the whole bird in a duck dish or at least across our menu is a great challenge for myself and the team and something that our guests seem to really appreciate.
Could you tell us a little about your industry experience?
I started my career when I was 16 at The Marriott Hotel, Newcastle, England. Since then I’ve cooked through some of the best restaurants in Europe and the world, including Gary Rhodes in London, Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, Rene Redzepi’s Noma and Paul Cunningham’s The Paul. More recently here in Melbourne for Andrew McConnell at Cutler and Co. and Guillaume Brahimi at Bistro Guillaume before moving my family and me to the Mornington Peninsula.
What’s your style in the kitchen and what do you love most about what you do?
We have a beautiful open kitchen which faces into our dining room, and I love the occasion of a very busy service where you can look around at your team cooking well and enjoying what they do, then look out into the dining room and see people happy and fulfilled with great food and wine.