Please describe your menu selections at McClelland Gallery Cafe.
Fresh, wholesome and full of flavour. I don’t overcomplicate dishes; I just let the ingredients speak for themselves. Contemporary cuisine, noting current trends and ideas, so always staying fresh and interesting.
What’s your go-to trend to serve up that customers are loving?
I’ve introduced some native ingredients, like finger limes, warrigal greens, Davidson plum, lemon myrtle. It’s befitting to our native park surrounds and they taste great.
For those who aren't familiar with your restaurant, give us some insight into what makes you different.
Firstly, it’s the location, the stunning sculpture park and the native bushland setting. Secondly, we are known for our lemonade scones, our unique ‘kids’ packs’, yet we do great sharing feasts for groups. So the offerings are quite diverse. People come for that.
Please tell us a little about your professional background?
While completing a design course at Holmesglen I worked as a dishwasher in Mornington, where I quickly found a knack for cooking and was invited to join the team as a cook. I had visited McClelland several times and applied for a position where I could combine my passion for cooking and love for art and design.
What do your customers like about your menu/venue?
The evolving menu, the freshness of good house-made dishes. I only have about 14 dishes but they are all balanced to work well together, even sharing. I’m not one for huge pastas as our guests usually want room for one of our house-made cakes or dessert.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Out for dinner, of course! I do enjoy going to a symphony orchestra recital. I’m still a kid at heart; love my Xbox and creating things with my Lego collection.
Any advice for aspiring chefs?
I would laugh and say, “Don’t be a chef”, but that’s only because so many get burnt out doing long hard days in unhappy work places. Cooking is rewarding and fun, and with a positive and good ethical approach, an aspiring chef will find a great employer who will value you — or they will find you.