Head Chef, Pastuso
Alejandro has worked in esteemed restaurants in Peru and Europe including the Fat Duck in London and Le Ambassadors in Paris as well as many well-known restaurants in Sydney. In October 2011 he opened Morena in Surry Hills becoming the first Peruvian restaurant to be featured in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. In 2014 Pastuso in AC/DC Lane was established.
Head Chef, Koy
Alex studied in Europe to become a Chef and spent 12 years working to gain experience in different regions of Greece and, as a restaurant owner in Athens. In 2011 he returned to Australia to take up a position at the Surf Club in Brisbane with celebrity Chef, Ben Donohue. Back in Melbourne, Alex is now working at the South Melbourne Market as Head Chef of the established and the popular Turkish restaurant, Koy.
Head Chef, The Press Club
Alex studied Applied Science at the University of Queensland before commencing his apprenticeship in 2008 at the award winning Isis Brasserie. After its completion he moved to Athens to deepen his understanding of Greek culture and food. There he worked at the two Michelin star restaurant Funky Gourmet, specialising in molecular cuisine. Returning to Australia in 2013 he joined the Made Establishment Group as Sous Chef of George Calombaris’ flagship restaurant, The Press Club. In 2014 he became Head Chef of Hellenic Republic Kew overseeing Hellenic Mastic, events and the restaurant itself.
Chef/Owner , Tapas and Pinchos by Amy Marie
Amy is a qualified Chef with over 17 years experience in the hospitality industry. After completing her apprenticeship in Canberra, she travelled to Europe taking a position at a four star restaurant in the Grassmarket, Edinburgh. Following this experience she lived in Spain for a year working at a popular Pincho Bar in Pamplona, Navarra’s capital city in North Spain. It was here that her passion for Spanish culture and food began. On her return, Amy became Head Chef of the Country Comfort Hotel in Wagga Wagga N.S.W for 2 years. Moving to Melbourne she worked as the Chef de partie at the then new, Movida Aqui followed by a position as Sous Chef at Bar Lourinha. Amy also started teaching Spanish cooking classes, returning to Wagga Wagga’s community college 2 or 3 times a year. After some work at Movida original this year she is now the part-time Senior Chef de partie at Bar Lourinha. Other work includes teaching at the renowned Foodiam Cooking School in Wagga, taking ‘pop up’ classes in the city and catering for small functions through her 'Tapas and Pinchos by Amy' business.
Partner/Head Chef, Mr Lawrence at the London
Spice related cuisines have always been Ashley’s focus, working as Head Chef at HoSt in London, Mecca Bah in Brisbane and at Chin Chin. Currently he is driving the new food direction at The London in Port Melbourne.
Head Chef, Village People Hawker Food Hall
Benjamin’s passion for Thai cooking began at the South Noodle Bar in coastal New South Wales. Work in kitchens in France and England with Chefs that inspired him provided further invaluable experience. He was one of the young Victorian Chefs to be honored in the 2012 Electrolux Appetite for Excellence Awards. Ben worked as a chef at Longrain and Smith St's Easy Tiger before commencing as Head Chef at Village People Hawker Hall, serving a scaled up mix of Laotian, Cambodian, Indian, Malay, Burmese and Thai flavours.
Culinary Teacher/Owner, My Lebanese Kitchen
Bernadette Cheet is the founder of My Lebanese Kitchen cooking school. Being of Lebanese heritage, Bernadette has had the privilege of growing up with three generations of amazing Lebanese cooks in Australia and Lebanon. Through these wonderful cooks, she developed a strong passion and love for Lebanese food: its aroma, unique flavours and earthy colours. She now enjoys sharing the secrets of this cuisine through her cooking classes.
Owner/ Chef, Food & Joy
Charlotte, a qualified chef and registered Dietitian, returned to Melbourne after seven years overseas working as Head Chef on large private and charter yachts. She is the founder and owner of Food & Joy, a business focusing on teaching cooking and sustainable eating habits to individuals and groups.
Head Chef, Cucinetta Ristorante
Chris' Italian heritage and early experiences in Italian and European kitchens helped develop his passion for Italian cuisine. This led him to Sapore in 2007 where he worked for two years as Sous Chef before heading to Europe to hone his skills. His stay in Europe included a stint at Phil Howard’s Michelin starred restaurant Kitchen W8, The Orange Public House which was awarded ‘Best New Gastro Pub’ the year Chris was there, and time on a super yacht in the Mediterranean.
Owner/Chef, Augustus Gloop Gelatery
Christy’s career began with Pastry and Dessert studies at the L’Ecole Nationale Superieure de la Patisserie under renowned Chefs Alan Ducasse and Yves Thuries. She has worked in Paris at the two Michelin star L’Espadon within the Ritz Hotel and Guy Savoy in Singapore before arriving here to take up positions in restaurants, including Vue du Monde, Jacques Reymond and the Melbourne branch of Sake. Acclaimed as an International Pastry Chef, Christy undertook judging appearances on Master Chef Australia in 2014/15. In 2013 she was appointed as the opening Head Chef at the Om Nom Dessert Bar at the Adelphi Hotel and in early 2016, she was appointed Executive Pastry Chef at the Langham Hotel. By the end of 2016 she is opening her own flagship store, Augustus Gloop Gelatery.
Owner/ Head Chef, Uncle
An enthusiastic and talented Chef, Dai gained overseas experience with the Terence Conran Hotel Group. He returned to Melbourne as Head Chef at The Pelican for six years and then at Dandelion for a year, before opening his new restaurant Uncle in St Kilda.
Head Chef, Maha Restaurant
Born in the Caribbean, Daniel worked for several years at the luxury ‘Millennium Resort’ in the Dominican Republic before travelling extensively in the United States of America, Europe and South America where he gained wide experience across a range of cuisines. His education and professional development continued with internships at leading restaurants across the globe including Germany’s one Michelin star ‘Die Muhenhelle’. On arrival in Melbourne, Daniel became Sous Chef at the Rydges Hotel, four star Restaurant. After 2 years he took up an offer to work under ex-Vue de Monde Head Chef, Andrew Harmer at The Point Albert Park. He joined Shane Delia at Maha in 2014 as Sous Chef and in September 2015 was appointed Head Chef. In 2016, under his leadership Maha retained its one Chef Hat in The Age Good Food Guide.
Head Chef, POW Kitchen
Daniel’s career started at the Stokehouse, St Kilda before moving to Longrain as Sous Chef. In 2010 he was recruited by Paul Wilson to assist in opening the Newmarket Hotel as Senior Chef. Four years later he was the Executive Chef of this hotel and the Acland Cantina. He is currently the Head Chef at POW Kitchen in St Kilda.
Head Chef/ Owner, Huxtable & Huxtaburger
As a past winner of the Age Young Chef of the Year, Daniel's experiences include New York, Melbourne's Blake's Cafeteria and Arintji. He is also the proud owner of Huxtaburger and its offshoots.
Head Chef, Bellota Wine Bar
Danielle’s career started in legendary Melbourne kitchens including 312 and St Judes Cellars. Traveling overseas to Europe saw her take up positions on super yachts and as a private Chef in countries including Greece and Turkey. It was in southern France and Spain that her passion for European classics, in particular bistro food, deepened. Returning after 4 years, she is currently the Head Chef at the Bellota Wine Bar behind the iconic Prince Wine Store in South Melbourne.
Chef/Industry Trainer, William Angliss Institute
David was an Executive Chef at the Victorian Arts Centre, operated his own café/ food business and represented Australia twice at the Culinary Olympics receiving three gold medals! He now teaches and writes about food and travel.
Chef, Industry Trainer
Emma Mackay started her career during the height of the Nouvelle Cuisine rampage of the 80s, working at Iain Hewitson’s Three Hat restaurant Fleurie. In 2002 Emma was awarded Young Chef of the Year while co-heading the kitchen at Blakes Cafeteria. Emma is now a certified Industry Trainer with an approach to cooking which is fun, informative and hands-on.
Head Chef, Mister Bianco
Fel moved to Melbourne with his family from the Philippines in 2000. He started his career at Café Fidama in Yarraville under Mark Cohen. After completing his apprenticeship course at William Angliss Institute, Fel gained further experience in various positions between 2006-2011 including Swallows in Port Melbourne, Hobson's Bay Hotel in Williamstown, BLVD Bar in Southbank, and the sister bar to Scusami, before joining Ron O’Brien at the Rising Star Hotel, South Melbourne then at the Vine Hotel in Collingwood. In 2013 he joined Joe Vargetto at Mister Bianco where he is now the Head Chef.
Head Chef , Bomba Bar
James worked in several London and Manchester restaurants including the 3 rosette Aurora, fine dining Japanese Ithaca and Michelin starred Juniper. Further experience was gained over several years at Harvey Nichols store in Knightsbridge including a year in the pastry section. James arrived in Melbourne 5 years ago working with Justin Wise at The Point Albert Park and Tony Twichett at Taxi Dining Room before accepting the Head Chef position at Bomba Tapas Bar in 2015.
Owner/Head Chef , Pho Nom
Jerry was born in Vietnam, arriving in Australia when she was 6 years old. Her prestigious career has included two years in London working at David Thompson’s Nahm-Thai and at Zuma-Japanese, and chef positions at Longrain, Gingerboy and Seamstress. She is now the proud owner of Pho Nom in the city.
Owner/Chef, Añada & Bomba Tapas Bar
Añada is strongly influenced by the peasant food of Andalucia, Southern Spain and the flavours of the Muslim Mediterranean. Jesse fell in love with this style of eating during his travels and also from his experience working at Moro and The River Cafe in London. Continuing with the food he loves, Jesse opened Bomba, a Spanish workers bar offering simple, well executed Spanish tapas.
Chef/ Owner, Saint Crispin
Joe Grbac, formerly Head Chef of the Press Club, has joined another well-known Chef (Estelle’s Scott Pickett) to open new restaurant Saint Crispin in Smith Street Collingwood, The degustation style menu focuses on contemporary seasonal Australian cuisine.
Owner/Head Chef, Mr Bianco
Joseph, a renowned Chef, has been awarded and regularly recognised by The Age Good Food Guide, having represented Australia in France at the prestigious Bocuse D’or. Antonio Carluccio also named him as Australia’s best risotto chef! He created his own Brasserie and Bar in the city Oyster Little Bourke and the Sicilian-style Mezzo Bar & Grill. In 2011 opened the award-winning Mr Bianco.
Senior Home Economist, Neff
Kathy has over 20 years’ experience as a senior Home Economist. Her extensive knowledge of the correct use and function of appliances equips her with the skills to create recipes for a wide range of people, from the everyday cook to the professional. Kathy’s calm and confident manner can break down complicated processes to ensure everyone feels accomplished in the kitchen! She has set up Masterclasses with international chefs for the Melbourne Food and Wine festival and also supported local greats such as Shannon Bennett and Maggie Beer. Her love of cooking is infectious and the enjoyment she gets from passing on her knowledge is obvious in the excitement and passion she brings to every class.
Pop up dinner host & private function caterer , Made by Nina
Kristina is the founder and head cook of Made by Nina, catering for private functions, pop-up dinners and teaching home cooking classes. Kristina’s cooking style is stemmed from her strong food loving background, with Hungarian and Filipino heritage, and a great love and connection to South East Asian cuisine. She has a passion to share her food knowledge and skills and truly believes that anyone can cook and enjoy her cooking in their own home.
Culinary Teacher/Director, Dumpling Mania
Born in California, Lou was taught dumpling making by her mother. Inspired by family memories she started classes to share her skill and knowledge.
Head Chef, The Press Club
After working at the two Michelin starred Serge Vieira restaurant in the Catalan region of France, Luke returned to work at Punch Lane before joining The Press Club and working alongside George Calombaris.
French trained, Mal has worked and travelled extensively including to Mexico where his enthusiasm for this exciting cuisine became his passion.
Head Chef, El Atino & Co
Martin’s love of the hospitality industry began at an early age at home in Argentina where his family entertained guests regularly. Destined to be a Chef his career has taken him around the world to work in Mexico, Buenos Aires, Barcelona and Madrid. A career highlight was catering for the President of Argentina at the Mexican Embassy. Arriving in Melbourne he is now Co-owner and Head Chef of El Atino & Co, a Latin American store, café and cooking school in Richmond.
Head Chef/Owner, Mr Ottorino
Matteo is passionate about his Sicilian and Southern Italian heritage being a first generation Australian and grandson of one of Melbourne’s first pastry chefs. Following 11 years at Grossi Florentino, developing his culinary skills Matteo is now the proud owner and Head Chef of his own restaurant, Mr Ottorino named after his Nonno. His philosophy is to combine his culinary expertise and ‘break the mould’ of stereotyped pasta and pizza menus by pointing the spotlight on a variety of inherited traditional family recipes from villages across Southern Italy.
Chef de Cuisine, Grossi Florentino
Following study at the Vocational School for Hotel Management & Catering in Italy and chef experiences in a variety of Italian venues and restaurants, Matteo arrived here in 2008. Work followed in established restaurants including The Atlantic at Crown and Kooyong Lawn Tennis Club. He returned to Italy in 2013 to study Italian cuisine with the master Gualtiero Marchesi and training at Calandre, a 3 star Michelin restaurant. He is now Chef de Cuisine at the 2 hatted Grossi Florentino.
Owner/ Chef, Po’Boy Quarter
Michael’s interests took him to Louisiana in 2009 to experience the New Orleans annual ‘Tales of Cocktail’ event and in 2011 the French Quarter Jazz Festival. On his return, he started a successful mobile Creole food truck and recently opened Po'Boy Quarter.
Co-Owner/ Chef, Union Dining
Nicky Riemer is regarded as one of Australia’s leading chefs and is now the proud Co-owner and Head Chef of Union Dining in Richmond. After heading numerous kitchens including Langton’s and The Melbourne Wine Room, Union Dining has allowed Nicky to share her incredible skill and flair, offering a menu of provincial European cuisine with contemporary Melbourne class.
Owner/Culinary Teacher, My Greek Kitchen Cooking School
Greek Cypriot born, Niki is the founder of My Greek Kitchen Cooking School. She was born into a family of passionate cooks who cherish the importance of traditional food and strive to keep it alive. Her classes revolve around what is known as the Mediterranean Diet today. She has a passion to share her food knowledge and skills and believes that anyone can learn new and easy dishes to cook in their own home kitchens.
Head Chef, Grovenor Hotel
Paul completed his apprenticeship at a number of well renowned Melbourne restaurants including The Point Albert Park, Arintji alongside Daniel Wilson and Jacques Reymond, and at Reserve with George Calombaris.
Eager to expand his horizons, Paul spent a year working at The Bentley for Andrew Turner where he learnt the art of classic French cooking. Returning to London, after time in France at Challet Rosset,he accepted his first Sous Chef position at Bleeding Heart, under Peter Reffel. Back in Melbourne he worked as Sous Chef under Scott Pickett at The Point and represented Victoria in the Bocuse d’or Australian trial. Currently he is Executive Chef at The Grovenor Hotel.
Rated as one of the world’s finest French Chefs, Philippe Mouchel was born in Normandy and began his career at the age of 16. Undertaking his apprenticeship at the Hotel Le Grand Cerf, Evreux, Philippe soon relocated to Bordeaux where he met Roger Jaloux, chef for Paul Bocuse. His classes are always true to his French heritage but in a healthier, less fussy way that is ideal for contemporary palates. Expect a menu with the best seasonal produce.
Former Head Chef, Magic Mountain
Rebecca Ng was born and raised in the beautiful island of Tasmania. Surrounded by the natural beauty, fresh air and pure water, she developed an appreciation for exceptional produce. As a young child, she and her sister would pretend they were starring in their own TV cooking show. This dream brought Rebecca where she is today. As an apprentice, Rebecca won a scholarship to work alongside her idol, internationally renown chef, Tetsuya Wakuda. From this invaluable experience, she learnt the importance of precision and technique. After qualifying as a chef, she started at Longrain, Melbourne. It was there that her love for Thai food flourished. After a few years of hard work, she was rewarded with a promotion to sous chef. Prior to starting up U, Ma & Me, Rebecca was head chef at Magic Mountain Saloon. Rebecca thinks there is nothing better than home-made.
Riccardo is a Chef with a well documented career at Sarti and SOS. His first solo venture, Valentino, is a regional-specific Calabrian kitchen reflecting his Italian heritage and the type of food his Mama used to cook.
Rob Rees MBE DL
Chef/Director, Food Works Australia
Rob began his culinary career at Westminster College in London where he gained work experience at the Hyde Park Hotel, His first Chef position was at the Crescent Hotel in Bath, which was followed by culinary roles with Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jnr at Le Gavroche, Hyatt Regency Grand-Cayman Islands, Bath Spa Hotel and The Circus Restaurant. In 1994 with his brother he opened the Country Elephant in Painswick. As the Head Chef, the restaurant was awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand and 2 AA Rosettes.
In 2005 he was awarded an MBE for his services to the food industry and was inspired to found his own social enterprises Rob Rees CIC and the Wiggly Worm Charity. In 2014 he received a Lifetime Award: Gloucestershire Media Taste Award. In 2015 he was appointed Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Gloucestershire joining a number of people as HRH Queen Elizabeth 11 representative. Moving to Melbourne in late October last year, he is collaborating with others to improve lives of the most vulnerable and reduce global inequality. Currently, in his Chef role, he is teaching culinary classes.
Chef/ Culinary Consultant
Robert Wooller is a freelance Culinary Consultant living in Melbourne. He has competed at culinary competitions at the highest level and has run his own restaurant. Robert travels regularly with the focus of food as the destination and loves to share his experiences through cooking classes and writing. He specialises in bringing different cuisines to audiences in an innovative and interesting format.
Executive Chef, Anada Bar & Restaurant
After finishing his apprenticeship with Jacques Reymond, Russell joined the Taxi Kitchen as a junior Sous Chef before travelling overseas to London where he secured a position in as Head Chef at Below Zero by Ice Hotel. Currently he is the Executive Chef at Jesse Gerner’s Anada Bar & Restaurant.
Chef and Primary School Teacher, Sweetpea Cuisine
Sally Lukey is a trained, registered and experienced primary teacher who is a foodie at heart. Growing up her Pa was a baker and Nana was a master of the apple pie. The kitchen was always somewhere Sally felt at home. Sally gained invaluable experience assisting and working with some of Australia's most loved and well known foodies, studied Commercial Cookery and eventually launched her food based consultancy Sweetpea Cuisine.
Steven’s career started at Stephanie’s, followed by a year in Sydney with Tony Tan as Head Chef of Tatler’s Café, and a further two years as Head Chef at Stephanie’s. In 1987, he joined the Japanese Kenzan restaurant, where he studied intensively with master sushi chefs to become the first non-Japanese to be trained in Japanese cuisine and sushi. In 2004, he authored a book Simply Sushi and was awarded a Festival Legend by the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Recently, Steven left the William Angliss Institute after many years to begin consulting. Photo via MFWF.
Sunny started his career in the Northern Territory where he studied commercial cookery at the Palmerston University. At that time he held consultancies for Australian Food Promotions at the Regal UN Plaza New York and the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club. In 1998 he commenced his career in hotels, taking the Chef de Partie role at the Novotel Atrium before moving to Melbourne in 2000 to work as Executive Chef at the Mercure Hotel. Before joining Austin’s at the Mount Erica Hotel Sunny held managerial positions across many Melbourne venues including Orange and the popular Movida Next Door. He is now consulting.
Syrian (Sam) Wedande
Sam worked extensively overseas in Sri Lanka and London before opening Araliya. The Good Food Guide simply says 'Its food rivals that of the city’s hippest Asian eating spots’.
Head Chef/Co-owner, Anchovy
Thi Le was born in a Malaysian refugee camp to Vietnamese and Cambodian parents, arriving in Australia when she was 2 years old. She grew up swapping lunches with Lebanese, Turkish and Filipino friends in Sydney’s western suburbs before starting her career as a Chef. Experience was gained in well-known restaurants including Cumulus, Luxemburg, the Town Mouse, Supernormal and at Sydney’s two-hat Universal with Christine Manfield before its closure. Now Chef and Co-owner of Anchovy she is one of a band of new-wave restauranteurs who are innovating the Vietnamese dining scene by focusing on quality produce and global influences.
Chef/ Hospitality Consultant, TK Restaurant Consulting
Tim Kennan returns from London, having worked at the famed River Café and The Connaught Hotel with Gordon Ramsay and Angela Hartnett. Tim joined Guy Grossi at Florentino before taking up Executive Chef positions at leading wineries including De Bortoli in the Yarra Valley. Now a restaurant consultant he still loves to dabble and teach cooking.
Timothy’s career started in Gippsland however it was not long before he joined Michael Lambie at Taxi Dining Room where he worked in every section of this famed kitchen. Stints at Maris in Malvern and Bernado’s in Noosa followed before joining The European as Head Chef, where he is currently running the bustling kitchen. He's also been awarded The Age Good Food Guide’s Young Chef of the Year 2015. He is now Executive Chef of The Cut Bar and Grill at Alfred Place, Melbourne.
An experienced Chef within indepth knowledge of natural food and nutrition, he enjoys teaching the benefits of good food. Tony is the author of Eating Well and Feel Good Food.
Executive Chef, Taxi Dining Room
Tony has been cooking since he was a boy, moving to Melbourne at the age of 17 to work at Luciano’s, before starting his apprenticeship at The Stokehouse. His passion for modern Thai and Chinese cuisine is well known and he continually explores his love of this cuisine through travel.
Culinary Teacher, Blue Chilli Kitchen
Van Le-Hugh was born in Central Vietnam into a family of six, so meal times were all about sharing the enjoyment. Having travelled widely overseas her passion is to share her knowledge and teach healthy, fast and easy home style Vietnamese cooking.
Head Chef, Lee Ho Fook
Victor started his career in Sydney with some of the most innovating and exciting chefs, including an apprenticeship to Japanese –French chef Harunobu at Galileo restaurant at the Observatory Hotel, as chef de partie for Mark Best at 3-hatted Marque Restaurant, and as sous chef at Dan Hong’s exciting MsG’s and the group’s Canto-Chinese Mr Wong. Victor moved to Melbourne in 2013 to open his own restaurant, Lee Ho Fook in Smith Street Collingwood, relocating in 2015 to Duckboard Place in the CBD.
Head Chef/Director, Lucy Liu
Zac travelled overseas for three years, living and working in Sweden before returning to Melbourne to further his passion for cooking. He took a position with Michael Lambie at Taxi Dining Room where, after a five year period, he took over running the kitchen. A Sous Chef position at Port Phillip Estate on the Mornington Peninsula followed before he was invited to open The Smith in Prahran in 2011. Zac recently opened Lucy Liu where he is currently a director and Head Chef.