This Kiwi chef has made Brisbane his home for 22 years, feeding the powerful and wealthy as well as the homeless and needy.
If you mapped Stephen Paulger’s career it would come out as a mountain – the gradient impressively steep and regular, the view from the top unparalleled. As a recently graduated apprentice in 1982, Paulger found employment in the fine dining section of the Vacation/Ramada Hotel Group which took him from his native Christchurch to Queenstown and back again. With three years of hotel experience under his belt, he secured a position at the Carlton Crest Hotel in Brisbane, packed his bags, and headed across the straights. This move would prove to be the most important of his career. Over the subsequent 22 years Paulger would move and climb through the ranks, his repertoire expanding to include banquets, buffets, smorgasbords and a la carte dining.
Some of the chefs Paulger worked with have really left an impression, such as Rik Steven of the Brisbane Club, Michael Fletcher at GCCCE and his predecessor, Brent Southcombe. Paulger describes them as some of the best chefs in Brisbane. In New Zealand he recalls being under the tutelage of Grant Jackson, from whom he learned that “calmness and coolness in the kitchen make for a great chef”. In 2007 Paulger became Executive Chef of the Sebel and Citigate Brisbane, the ultimate jewel in his 22 year hotel crown. Now responsible for every aspect of the food (from cooking and ordering to stocktake and the staff cafeteria), he has taken the true meaning of hospitality and made it a reality. Paulger collects food from the hotel for the 139 Club that redistributes it to homeless people in Brisbane. “It’s great to be able to help the less fortunate people of our city,” he says, showing not just a philanthropic streak but also just how much Brisbane has become his second home.... Read more.