How long have you been a Kitchen Operations Manager at, the Carriers Arms?
It has now been over 10 months since I started working here. During this time there have been many positive changes. Here at the Carriers we are about to undertake some renovations, by the time this magazine comes out I will have been to Brisbane and met architects and kitchen suppliers and looked at everything from bowls, spoons, and chairs, in fact anything to do with hospitality. I have been allocated a budget to spend for the renovations.
Who was your biggest inspiration when you were training to be a Chef, and why?
I think everyone in my generation looked up to Jamie Oliver. He was a big inspiration for every young apprentice Chef back in the late 90’s everybody wanted to be like Jamie.
Then the Gordon Ramsay’s, and Marko Pierre White’s came along and you really looked up to them. They have taken our industry so far, maybe without those guys our industry wouldn’t be what it is today.
How would you sum up the menu?
Modern Australian up market pub food is the best way to describe it. It is not contemporary. I give the chefs a free range on how they are going to produce their menu, and how they will plate up their dishes. I like my staff to think outside the box. I don’t like easy, simple or same. If you are going to come to the Carriers I don’t want you to have the same as you can have down the street.
Tell us some of the more memorable moments of your career?
I have catered for many private functions for some of our famous politicians like Kevin Rudd, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull, and Joe Hockey. I have actually been to John Howard’s personal residence as I did a function there, that was pretty special. You see a different side of them after they have had a few bottles of wine, they were really good to have a laugh and a Joke with, at the end of the day, they are all human beings. I remember that the secret service constantly walked through the kitchen checking the fridges, the food, and everything in-between.
What is the most popular dish on the ‘Carriers Bistro’ menu?
I would say at the moment probably our Organic Lamb-shanks, with a garlic and spinach mash and a hardy beef dew with a modern touch. We also have some great $10 lunch specials available seven days a week. These change every day as we like variety.
What is the newest trend that you see emerging?
Fresh, organic and cleaner food. People like simple, plain ingredients with a modern twist on the way that it is styled on the plate. People are getting out of the more complex dishes and wanting something easier.
Do you use many local suppliers?
All of our suppliers are local. I use a local Butcher, Luke from Greg’s Quality Meats, I know all the different cuts of meat and have a good relationship with them and they source the best ingredients for me. My Fruit and Vegetable supplier is Chris from Fraser Coast Fresh Produce. My fish comes from Michael at Hervey Bay Fisheries. I shop to support our local farmers and to sustain our region.
What advice would you give a novice just getting into the business?
Hang on and get ready for the ride, at the end will be a reward that no one can take away. It is a hard journey but if you can hold yourself together and know where your goals are it is a great industry to be in. It will drive itself if you are passionate about food and prepared to work for it.
What is the strangest item in your fridge right now?
I have blood worms in the fridge at the moment – Not fit for human consumption I might add. They are to feed our tropical fish in the fish tanks in our hotel.
– Interview by Kim Parnell