What made me become a chef?
Helping mum in the kitchen baking and cooking for the family from a young age really got me interested. I took hospitality all through school, even working a few shifts a week at a local restaurant on weekends. It was then I decided to leave school and pursue this career.
What made you stay a chef?
To be honest I’ve never thought about not being a chef, this is the industry I love, it’s always changing and developing which makes us have to think on our feet to change with it, it just never stops evolving.
How long have you worked at Captain Baxter?
I started at Captain Baxter in 2014, worked here up until 2018. At that point I took a small break and travelled to New York, eating out at great restaurants and completing a stage. Coming back to Melbourne, I worked at Andrew McConnell’s Cumulus Inc. for a couple of years, then moved back to Captain Baxter in 2020.
What 3 words would you use to describe the new menu?
Bold, vibrant, unique? You might have better words, it’s hard to describe your own food.
What do you love about the direction of the menu?
The main thing I like about the direction of the menu is utilising the coals throughout the kitchen – grilling larger pieces of meats such as short ribs or lamb should but also using it for prepping salads and raw dishes, imparting a charred/smokey flavour through elements of the menu. Just getting the most out of our custom grill.
Have your travels inspired any of these dishes on the current menu? And if so, how?
My travels have definitely inspired some dishes on the menu. Coming from a small country town in New Zealand, traveling to Asia over the years was very eye-opening. My eyes were opened to a whole world of new flavours, aromas and textures of food, and so many unique ingredients.
What makes this current menu stand out or what excites you about the new menus?
I am excited to launch the Deluxe Signature Banquet. Here I’ve focused on a whole duck broken down into 8 dishes, using every part of the duck. I’m also excited about the day-to-day a la carte menu – there’s so freedom to take fresh bold eastern flavors and put a western feel to them.
What is your favourite dish on this menu?
My favorite dish on the menu would have to be the Beef short rib, Sichuan bordelaise, pickled onion.
Tender, buttery coal fired short ribs paired with a rich peppery numbing Sichuan bordelaise, finished with a salad of pickled onion, chive and tarragon the acidity helps cut through the beef and the sauce.
Where was your last best meal?
Aru or Asado
Besides cooking, what do you do for fun?
I like to cook at home for fun but not only that, I practice my chocolate-making and pastry game.
I enjoy going out and eating – trying the new places opening up.
I’m also an avid gamer with some of my time off.
Lastly, what are you serving at the Chandon Garden Spritz Official Launch Party?
Some of my favourites. The Garden Spritz has a rosé base so it can hold up to some pretty bold flavours –
Scallop crudo, desert lime dressing, cucumber, chive
Pork & prawn sesame fry bread,
Fried potato cakes, saltbush, yuzu kosho mayo,
Vietnamese-style raw beef, betel leaf,
Miso eggplant, sesame, cassava crackers