Curtis Stone was studying for a Bachelor of Business before deciding his heart was in food. He worked in some top Aussie restaurants before heading to London where he wound up cooking alongside the legendary Marco Pierre White at The Café Royal and Mirabelle.
Curtis has appeared on a number of cooking programs in the UK and in 2004 also hosted the first series of My Restaurant Rules. In 2006 he moved to the United States to host Take Home Chef. He’s done various guest appearances on NBC’s The Today Show and Oprah among others.
Currently living in the the West Hollywood Hills, he plans to open a restaurant in LA.
For more information about Curtis Stone click here: http://www.curtisstone.com/default.aspx
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Danny Russo specialises in modern Italian cuisine, drawing on his ancestral roots in Basilicata, Southern Italy yet unavoidably influenced by his Australian upbringing. He sources ingredients from across Australia and Italy and strives to find new ways to incorporate them into his dishes.
His aim is to create innovative contemporary Italian food, without compromising the classic “Cucina Italiana”. He was awarded a Chef’s Hat at L’Unico (Balmain) and Winner of ‘Best Formal Italian Restaurant’ for three consecutive years in the Restaurant and Catering Association Awards at L’Unico (Balmain). Since Danny took over the Beresford Hotel Trattoria, it has fast become a hotspot in the inner city suburb of Surry Hills.
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Tattooed “Bodega Boys” Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz discovered their shared love of South American and Spanish food when working together at the Four in the Hand Hotel in Sydney’s Paddington.
Both had prior experience in some of Sydney’s top name restaurants – Ben at Bistro Lulu and Ten Buck Alley; Elvis at Aria, Bécasse, MG Garage and Restaurant VII but neither had ever managed their own kitchen. That changed when they decided to combine their fine dining experience and their love of the relaxed Latin, shared dining tradition in the launch of Bodega, a mostly Spanish tapas restaurant with a strong South American influence.
Ben and Elvis won the Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine “Best New Talent” award in 2009.
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Hailing from Barcelona, but raised from the age of five in Australia, Frank Camorra traveled back to Spain in 2000 and was so inspired by the food and restaurants in his native country – he decided to replicate those tastes in his adopted home. MoVida was born in a cobbled Melbourne laneway in 2004. Terrific tapas, main courses, wines and sherry have filled the funky back street eatery with a loyal clientele.
Gourmet Traveller described it as the “best Spanish Food in the country” and it’s gone on to win high praise and many awards. Frank attributes its success to the fact that many essential ingredients can be bought quickly and cheaply in Australia, achieving a truly authentic Spanish flavour.
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Giovanni Pilu is passionate about authentic Italian cooking, particularly the unique flavours of his birthplace, Sardinia.
Giovanni came to Australia in 1992 after meeting his wife and business partner Marilyn when she was holidaying in Sardinia. He opened his first restaurant in 1997, presenting a broad Italian menu and slowly introducing Sydney diners to Sardinian specialties.
Since opening the beachfront Pilu at Freshwater in 2004, Giovanni has expanded his Sardinian repertoire, cooking more of the food that’s in his blood and close to his heart. Pilu at Freshwater was awarded two hats in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Awards.
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Jeremy Strode arrived in Melbourne from London in 1992 and was head chef at The George Hotel, the Aldelphi and his own restaurant Pomme and finally Langtons. In 2002, he headed to Sydney to become chef director of MG Garage before he and wife Jane opened Bistrode in 2005. Jeremy currently writes a weekly food column for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Jane Strode grew up in a family with a real passion for food and entertaining. This led her to Sydney’s Rockpool kitchen where she began her apprenticeship. After which she moved to Melbourne and worked at Langtons, before returning to Sydney to work at MG Garage with Jeremy.
When the couple tied the knot in 2004, it was a union not only of love, but a marriage of flavours, cooking credentials and talent.
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New Zealand born, Justin North left home at 15 to pursue a career in cooking. As an Apprentice, he scooped the award pool, including, the much-coveted New Zealand Apprentice Chef of the Year in 1994. At 22 he became Raymond Blanc’s youngest ever 2nd Sous Chef and voted employee of the year from a staff of almost 200. After several successful years overseas, Justin eventually re-joined Liam Tomlin back in Sydney as Sous Chef at the elegant Banc Restaurant.
He left Banc after two years and in 2001 opened his own restaurant: Bécasse with his wife Georgia. At Bécasse Justin fuses fine French cooking techniques with modern Australian style and ingredients.
Late last year Justin opened a new restaurant: Etch on the site of the Mint Bar and Dining at Sydney’s Intercontinental Hotel.
Justin North joins the celebrity chef line up at the inaugural Margaret River Gourmet Escape. Set against the stunning back drop of Western Australia’s remarkable South West region, the Margaret River Gourmet Escape showcases over 20 international and local food and wine experts at the ultimate in culinary adventure and will take place this November, from Thursday 22 to Sunday 25. www.gourmetescape.com.au
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Lauren Murdoch started her working life training to be a nurse, before deciding her calling was in a different nurturing profession: cooking.
She began training at Atlas Bistro in Riley Street and moved to Rockpool for a year’s pastry experience before working at the Concourse Restaurant at the Sydney Opera House where she met Janni Kyritsis who took Lauren with him as sous-chef when he opened MG Garage in 1997.
In 2005 Lauren accepted the offer to run the kitchen at the Hemmes family’s Lotus Bistro in Potts Point and in 2008 she moved across to head Ash St Cellar in the new Ivy complex.
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Luke Mangan is widely regarded as one of Australia's top chefs and restaurateurs. With a strong classical training under his belt, courtesy of Hermann Schneider at Two Faces in Melbourne and Michael Roux at the 3 Michelin Star Waterside Inn in Berkshire, he opened his first restaurant Salt in Sydney in 1999 receiving rave reviews and numerous awards in record time. Luke subsequently opened Bistro Lulu in Paddington and Moorish at Bondi before taking on the glass brasserie at Sydney’s Hilton hotel.
Regular TV appearances and newspaper/magazine contributions have given Luke an exceptionally high profile in the industry. He has had three cookbooks published - BLD, Luke Mangan Food and Luke Mangan Classics. He was founder of the Lexus Appetite for Excellence award, is one of twelve ‘Healthy Active” ambassadors highlighting the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle for children and is a vocal promoter of Australian produce at home and overseas.
For more information about Luke, visit his website www.lukemangan.com
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Luke Nguyen’s family fled Vietnam as boat people in 1978. They spent several months at a refugee camp in Thailand where Luke was born, before migrating to Australia.
Luke says his passion for food stems from his “strict, food-obsessed parents” who ran a restaurant in the Vietnamese suburb of Cabramatta in South Western Sydney for 15 years. He opened Red Lantern in a converted Sydney terrace house in 2002 with a menu featuring age-old family recipes. The authentic yet modern Vietnamese cuisine was an instant hit with diners and the restaurant quickly snapped up some of Sydney’s top industry awards. Its latest accolades include Best Asian Restaurant in the 2008 Restaurant and Catering Awards.
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Based in South Australia's Barossa Valley legendary Maggie Beer is a self-taught cook, food author, restaurateur and food producer. She and her husband Colin, established the Barossa Pheasant Farm Restaurant in 1978. This became famous for serving locally raised pheasant, along with a high quality paté known as Pheasant Farm Paté. They operated the restaurant until 1993. Later, she became a partner in the Charlick’s Feed Store restaurant in Ebenezer Place, Adelaide.
Maggie co-hosts the cooking show: The Cook and the Chef with Simon Bryant, Head Chef of the Hilton Hotel Adelaide. Her Barossa business produces a range of specialty gourmet foods, including Pheasant Farm Paté, Quince Paste, Verjuice and a range of quality ice creams.
Her hands-on and approachable style have won her a legion of fans and awards that range from Best Regional Cookbook in the World Cookbook Awards (for Maggie’s Farm) to being named 2010’s Senior Australian of the Year.
For more information about Maggie Beer click here: http://www.maggiebeer.com.au/home/
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Chef Opel Khan has managed several restaurants in Australia and has worked as a restaurant food consultant for many years. He’s also worked as a freelance food stylist and writer for several international magazines and is the author of Sex in the Kitchen – a delectable book focusing on the food/sex association – with recipes designed to indulge the senses.
Opel’s newest enterprise is Guru Restaurant. It recently opened on the site occupied by his previous eatery Beluga – and it successfully fuses modern French cooking with classic Indian cuisine. It’s been described as Avant Garde Indian and Opel’s dishes as colourful and inventive.
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Born in Melbourne but raised by the beach on Queensland’s Gold Coast, one of the reasons a career as a chef appealed to Peter Evans was the lure of surfing all day and working at night. After opening his first restaurant, Pantry, in Melbourne’s bay side suburb of Brighton in 1993 with his brother David and his brother’s best friend, Daniel, Pete moved to Sydney in 1996 where the team established Hugo’s in Bondi, Hugo’s Lounge in Kings Cross and Hugo’s Bar Pizza. The latest addition to the group is the waterfront Hugo’s Manly which opened in 2008.
Pete is a regular at cooking schools and food events around the country. He has written two cookbooks, “Fish” and “My Table” and has worked as a TV presenter on both The LifeStyle Channel and Channel 9.
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Chef Raita Noda and his parents migrated to Australia from Japan in 1990. Cooking was always Raita’s passion, but his parents wanted him to study and go to university instead. Raita persevered and his parents eventually accepted his choice to go to TAFE and start working in restaurants. Now his parents are his most loyal customers.
After completing an apprenticeship at Matsukaze Japanese restaurant, he worked at three of Sydney’s most acclaimed Japanese restaurants before opening his own restaurant RISE when he was 25. He took on the role of head chef at Ocean Room in 2004. Raita describes Ocean Room as a seafood restaurant using the best Australian produce and a unique blend of Japanese and Mediterranean flavours.
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Originally from Australia, Skye Gyngell worked at a number of Sydney’s culinary institutions, before flying to Paris to complete her formal training under Anne Willan at La Varenne. After a stint at the Dodin-Bouffant, Skye moved to London to work at The French House and notably, The Dorchester with Anton Mossiman. Before setting up the Petersham Nurseries Cafe, Skye had been hidden from public view whilst working with a rota of high profile private clients.
As head chef of Petersham Nurseries Café, Skye works almost exclusively with seasonal produce, creating simple food inspired by what she sees growing and flowering around her. The relatively short menu changes every week and comprises of an average of five starters and five main course dishes plus cakes, ice creams & desserts. In season, she picks herbs, salads & fruit from the walled kitchen garden of Petersham House and uses as much local produce as she can lay her hands on.
Before accepting Gael & Francesco Boglione’s offer to open a cafe at Petersham Nurseries, Skye had already written for Vogue. A phenomenal reception to her work at the restaurant, including comparisons by their award winning restaurant critic Terry Durack to the work of legendary cook Alice Walters, lead to her appointment as the Independent on Sunday’s food writer.
Skye’s book “A year in my kitchen” was published by Quadrille in October 2006. This was named as Best Cookery Book at the 2007 Guild of Food Writers Awards.
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