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My mother was always a keen cook and from a young age introduced my brothers and I to a great range of cuisines through home cooking. I would often wag days off school just to stay home and cook; eventually all these days off led to very poor grades, so I got a job as a kitchen hand and the rest is history.
I would say the cuisine at Hentley Farm could be defined as regional modern Australian. We utilize everything that surrounds us meaning our menu is a contestant showcase of our region throughout the seasons.
Anything we can grow ourselves on the farm are easily my favorite products to cook with. Often we only have small harvests of certain fruits or vegetables, meaning their placement on the menu can be very one-off and just for a moment in the season. I think this makes for a very connected dining experience and is an exciting challenge for the chefs.
Seafood and vegetables have a strong influence on our menus. Showcasing South Australia's fish species early in our menu through small raw snacks and dishes is my favorite way to show how lucky we are in this region to have such quality waters and access to small fishermen and farmers.
I feel as you mature as a chef you come to realize how important it is to show the next generation of chefs and waiters what they can achieve in this industry, boost them with confidence and remind them of how they can make real change if they are correctly educated and motivated enough through leadership.
Prep early and prep smart so when your friends or family are ready to sit down for lunch you can join them and not be stuck still cooking while they eat.