Head chef, Goldfields Resort
I grew up in Carngham, near Ballarat, the youngest of 13. Mum would bake everything from scratch, and I’d ice the yo-yos or pull the toffee.
We’ve all got horror stories. I’ve had chefs scream at me, been locked in the cool room until I kicked the door off, been punched. I worked for a German chef in Tasmania who’d come in and slap you across the back of the head just to say g’day.
I don’t yell and scream. I’ve learned from those bad chefs – and I think they were bad chefs. You’ve only got to talk to people to get a result.
I’ve worked in Cairns, Perth, Sydney, Tasmania, Gold Coast, all over. I went to England and worked at Heathrow Airport. I delivered pizzas in Canada, driving on the wrong side of the road in the winter snow. That was an experience.
I worked as a trouble-shooting, roaming chef for a while, going to Port Hedland, Geraldton, Alice Springs, wherever. I drove, so I saw a lot of Australia. I love travelling and I love cooking. It’s taken me all around the world.
Signature dish: Goldfields Charcuterie selection. Country Style Small Goods is at Bald Hills, a stone’s throw from the resort, run by Sebastian, one of the brothers from Istra who does his own thing now. The fennel-seed and paprika salami has great flavour and some warmth from the chilli, the jamon has a smooth texture with a mild taste, and the smoked chicken is fantastic. There’s Mount Zero olives, another great product on our doorstep. Nothing beats sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine and our Goldfields Charcuterie Platter, watching the world move past. Ah, the serenity.
Favourite local ingredient: I’ve used Meredith goat’s cheese since I was an apprentice and I think it’s still the best.