What motivates a person who has gained his pilots’ license at 16, and whose father was also a pilot, to change tack mid stream and become a Chef? An inherited passion for cooking from his Grandfather could be one explanation, but whatever the reason, Melbourne and its food scene, were the fortunate ones. Adrian Richardson is what you would call a “Quiet Achiever”. His restaurant, La Luna is a successful and bustling place in North Carlton, serving up clean, fresh and innovative food.
From the age of 14 this passionate young Chef began working in Cafes and bistros. After completing Year 12, his boss at the café he was working at, offered him an Apprenticeship and the rest, as they say, is history. Richardson spent time training at the Victoria Arts Centre, Le Restaurant at The Regent Hotel under Dietmar Sawyer, Liam Tomlin & Russell Armstrong, O’Connell’s Hotel with Greg Malouf, in the UK with Antony Worrall-Thompson and in Canada. But it was under the watchful eye of Michael Bacash at Toofey’s where he rounded off his experience and set upon his current course to open his own place.
Adrian has a simple philosophy with his food, which he calls “modern Mediterranean”, and that is to use the freshest ingredients and keep it simple. His rule for all his fish on the menu is fresh fish or No Fish! He is so passionate about his food; he ripens his own avocados and tomatoes, makes his own pasta daily, ages his beef on the bone and uses mushrooms that have only been picked hours before arriving at his restaurant. This must be love!
And now Adrian is receiving the recognition he deserves with his well regarded appearances alongside Tobie Puttock in “Jamie’s Kitchen Australia”. Adrian’s restaurant La Luna Bistro, even received a personal endorsement from Jamie Oliver himself in front of a live audience of 6000 people, in Melbourne during Jamie’s live tour (Sept 2006).
Adrian is one of the team of regular Chefs on Channel Ten’s new hit TV series “Ready Steady Cook”, which is now in it’s third season, and has filmed a number of cooking segments on the Channel Nine’s ‘Boat Show’ and “Car Show”. He has appeared on Channel Nine’s ‘Fresh’ and ‘Switching Lives’, and Channel Ten’s “Good Morning Australia”. Adrian has been a regular guest on talkback radio, and is in constant demand as a Guest Chef.
La Luna continues to thrive and is considered one of Melbourne’s best Mediterranean Bistros, and with various projects in progress, there is never a dull moment in this passionate Chefs’ life.
Read Adrian Richardson's Bio
You would think two thriving restaurants in food obsessed Melbourne would be enough for an accomplished chef! But not Gary Mehigan. Gary can be seen on the LifeStyle FOOD channel hit Boy’s Weekend, he is also a judge on the Australian version of Masterchef, Masterchef Australia, “Good Chef, Bad Chef” (which can also be seen on the LifeStyle FOOD channel), and is constantly in demand to appear as a Guest Chef and Speaker for Food Festivals and the Corporate Speaking circuit.
Gary Mehigan did his apprenticeship and spent his formative years of cooking in London, where being passionate about food was about the only thing that got you through. Not only was it London, but the Connaught and the Souffle, two of the most elite dining rooms in the UK at the time.
Gary has called Melbourne home since 1988 and has worked at a plethora of venues including the gracious Burnheim Beeches, Brown’s Restaurant, Novotel Melbourne, and Sofitel Melbourne. Gary has certainly covered a cross-section of Melbourne dining. Gary now runs two award-winning restaurants in Melbourne, the Fenix (opened in 2000) and “The Maribyrnong Boathouse”.
Gary is continually in demand as a guest chef and consultant, due to his clean, fresh cooking style, as well as his finally honed business skills and salesmanship. Prior to his first series “Good Chef, Bad Chef” Gary was a regular on Channel Ten’s first series of “Ready Steady Cook”, appeared in the "Just Add Braun" television commercial on the Lifestyle Channel in 2003 and in the "Great Chefs Show you how" television advertisement for La Gina Tomatoes in 2002. Expect to see his face on Australian TV for some time to come!
There are some great recipes from Gary Mehigan below.
Read Gary Mehigan's Bio
It seems that Manu Feildel was destined to become a great chef from the moment he was born – his great grandfather was a pastry chef, his grandfather and father were chefs, his cousin is a chef in the United States and his mother is a great cook. But, as a child, he saw his future on the stage rather than in the kitchen, and at 13 years old he joined an amateur circus school.
By the time he turned 15, Manu had decided that the road to becoming a professional clown was a very long process, so he started as an apprentice in his father’s restaurant. After a year, he progressed to a fine dining restaurant where he finished his apprenticeship. Shortly after, Manu was bitten by the travel bug and he packed his knives and headed for London.
His first job at The Cafe Royal was hard, to say the least, as Manu didn’t speak any English. But his perseverance paid off and, after working at restaurants such as Les Associes and Café des Amis du Vin, he took up a position as Chef de Partie at the seafood restaurant Livebait and that's when he says he really began to understand and love the career he had chosen. Manu stayed with Livebait for couple of years, progressing to Sous-Chef and then Head Chef with the nomination of best seafood restaurant in the UK in 1998.
In 1999 Manu flew to Melbourne where he worked at Toofeys for about 6 months before heading north to Sydney. After 6 months with Hugo’s at Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach, he opened the kitchen at the new Hugo’s Lounge in Kings Cross. Manu ran the kitchen for about 18 months before he moved to Restaurant VII with its exciting fusion of French and Japanese cuisine (2 Chef’s Hats from Sydney Morning Herald).
In 2004, Tony Bilson approached Manu to open his new venture Bilsons at the Radisson Hotel. In its second year of opening, the restaurant won 2 Chef’s Hats, and in its third year, this accolade had increased to 3 Chef’s Hats.
It seems Manu’s career has turned full circle, as he returns to his roots cooking contemporary French cuisine. Moreover, his natural ability and desire to entertain has also been given another opportunity to shine – Manu was asked to join the cooking show Ready, Steady, Cook and, after 2 successful seasons, has become one of the most popular and entertaining chefs on the show.
Read Manu Feildel's Bio
There are Chefs who work for many years in various kitchens around the world refining their craft and making a name for them. And then there is Miguel Maestre, a Spaniard who has made Sydney his home, and powered his way up the ranks. Miguel was always destined to cook, from a family who lived and breathed good food and wine, his destiny was pre-determined from a young age.
Miguel first began cooking when he was 21, when he moved to Scotland to experience the world. It is also where he learned to speak English. His progression was quick, after working his way up through the ranks at Indigo Yard, Montpelier’s Partnership (biggest monopoly of restaurants in Edinburgh). Miguel then returned to Spain, before moving to Australia. He has been fortunate to work in some of Sydney’s premier kitchens including Bather’s Pavilion, Bel Mondo and Cru and Minus 5 at Circular Quay. Miguel has also worked as Head Chef of Tony Bilson’s Number One Wine Bar in Sydney’s Circular Quay, originally working under his friend, mentor and co-host on Boy's Weekend Manu Feildel.
Miguel has begun to develop a role in the media, with appearances on Channel Ten’s “9am with David & Kim”, Channel Seven’s “Better Homes and Gardens” and cooking spots on MixFM in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. He has displayed his cooking prowess and lovely accent on the popular Boy’s Weekendcooking show on LifeStyle FOOD, and has his first book in the planning stages. Miguel’s passion for food and life is infectious, and he has developed a talent for incorporating Spanish ingredients and cooking styles into his modern Australian menus. This is one chef to watch, and at the same age as Jamie Oliver when he first hit our screens, he is sure to be gracing our televisions more often in the future.
Read Miguel Maestre's Bio