About 30 years ago it was tough going for a young Australian Chef looking for experience in an international restaurant. For most aspiring chefs, experience and indeed paid work was pretty hard to come by with most international restaurants preferring to take on European style approaches to menus.
A few years later, with thanks to many chefs who carved out a pathway for others, Australian chefs began to bring something else into the international arena with chefs bringing a fresh new approach to cuisine that is much more about collaboration and infusing international styles into fine dining and everyday food.
So what of the commercial cooking landscape in 2016? Well, there is a new benchmark and one that has been a long-time coming. This year the internationally acclaimed Michelin Guide included a new cuisine style, contemporary Australian cuisine as part of its inaugural edition 2016 Michelin Guide Singapore for the first time in its 115 year history. I am very honoured and pleased to say that Osia Bar & Grill which is a joint venture I have with Resorts World Sentosa, was awarded its first Michelin Star.
Only two Novocastrian Chefs have been awarded this coveted award. It is an honour and a testament to the incredible work of the teams that my young chefs and service staff I have to work with. But most importantly it is an important next step for our industry.
Local chefs are plating up some of the best cuisines on offer but how do we keep forging into new markets and influencing the industry?
I believe that cuisine in the next decade must become much more about quality produce and local talent. The Hunter has much to be proud of with an industry that keeps raising the bar on quality and a training sector through Hunter TAFE that keeps delivering quality young practitioners. This partnership is further supported by effective partnerships that provide scholarships, internships and support systems that are producing some of the best quality chefs the industry has seen.
So what of the produce? I believe that this is a key factor in the way in which we set ourselves apart. Whether it is sourced from the dairy farmer near Dungog or the truffle farms of France, good quality produce is essential.