Please describe your menu selections at Guildford’s Restaurant.
We have a huge selection of Mediterranean-style food, specialising in dishes highly sought-after by the local Mediterranean and Middle Eastern community, with sweets and savouries reminiscent of home. We attract every culture and have a menu full of variety where you can try something as exotic as our homemade borek and menemen or enjoy a simple kebab and homemade chips, or try some of our exotic teas or some of the finest Turkish coffee. We are also vegan and vegetarian-friendly.
What’s your go-to trend to serve up that customers are loving?
Our tapas are extremely popular with the locals coming in with their friends to enjoy a few drinks and the chilled atmosphere.
For those who aren’t familiar with your café, give us some insight into what makes you different?
As the largest venue on the Seaford foreshore shopping strip, we offer 120-seat dining, fully licensed with an outdoor beer garden surrounded by a natural garden setting, in addition to a florist and a huge selection of giftware from the Mediterranean and Middle East, including Turkish lamps, teapots, jewellery, candles, handbags and gift-boxed Turkish Delights.
Please tell us a little about your professional background?
Since completing my apprenticeship I have been cooking on the Mornington Peninsula in fine Mediterranean dining for 20 years. I have had the opportunity to spend the last two years specialising in the traditional homemade style of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine, which the owners of Guildford’s envisioned, and seeing a packed restaurant gives me the satisfaction of knowing that our menu is popular.
What is your style in the kitchen?
I enjoy taking control of the production process to ensure that dishes are plated on time and customers’ expectations are exceeded. This includes the quality and presentation of the meal in addition to overall service expectations.
What do your customers like about your menu/venue?
The cosy rustic atmosphere and fresh homemade foods, coupled with a décor that provides a constant source of inspiration for the aesthetically conscious, is what brings the locals back every day for a cuppa. The venue has been set up with different areas where you can dine or relax by the fireplace on the couch or even chill with a glass of wine with tapas in our garden setting. We have plenty of dedicated space to cater for weddings and functions.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Restauranting and going for long walks with my dog.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love watching people eating. It gives me so much satisfaction to be able to sit back and watch people enjoying themselves with dishes that I have prepared.
What’s your favourite food dish/food item?
It would definitely have to be the scrumptious chicken kebab — they walk out the door.
Any advice for aspiring chefs?
There is always work locally or anywhere around the world for chefs who are good at what they do. Good chefs are in short supply so anyone deciding on a career as a chef can be comforted with the knowledge that they can work anywhere with skills that are recognised in all corners of the globe.