my insider’s guide to eating/drinking – aaron ward

Ever wondered where those in the biz head to for great eating and drinking? We’re often asked so we asked our #youngexcellence for the lowdown and the insider’s guide to eating/drinking….Sydney with Aaron Ward, sous chef at sixpenny, Stanmore.

Favourite places for breakfast and brunch?

Four ate Five in Surry Hills. It’s a busy little cafe on Crown Street. The salmon bagel is delicious and something I usually order. St Jude in Redfern is just around the corner from my house so it’s easy for a quick breakfast, the avocado smash with poached eggs is something light and delicious. Bourke St Bakery, Surry Hills – again just around the corner, if you miss the lines of the early morning rush it’s a great place to get a pastry or a tart.

Favourite restaurants in your home state for special occasions?

LuMi in Pyrmont. I love spending a Sunday night at LuMi, watching the sun set over the harbour is magic. The food is always delicious and the staff are amazing. Ester in Chippendale. If I ever have a Sunday day off I love going to Ester for lunch, I can sit there all afternoon with a couple of wines and graze on the food they cook. It really is delicious. LP’s Quality Meats in Chippendale. I usually go to LP’s with a few friends, this way we get to try more of the food. I have never walked out of LP’s hungry as there’s always dishes on the menu I want to eat.

Best bars to head to after work and on your days off?

Shady Pines in Darlinghurst. Walking downstairs into Shady Pines is like walking into another world. I go here for a few late night drinks, their style there is nowhere like it in Sydney. The Dolphin Hotel in Surry hills. After the new refurbish of the Dolphin I have been a few times already, it’s a good place for a beer or a wine and some delicious Italian food. Salisbury Hotel in Stanmore. This is the local pub near Sixpenny, so we will usually head down the road for a beer after work.

Where do you go for fresh, seasonal produce and market bargains?

I go to the Flemington Markets in Sydney every week for our fruit and vegetables. It is a good way to see what produce is coming in to season and what is at its peak. Also it is good way to meet the producers and the farmers that grow the fruits and vegetables and get an insider’s view on how they are produced and where they come from.

Where have you had the best interstate dining experiences?

I visited the Hunter Valley a few weeks ago and dined at Muse Restaurant, it was one of the best experiences I have had. The dining room is beautiful and the food is just as good. The staff made me feel welcome as if I was part of their family. To have a restaurant like Muse only 2 hours outside of Sydney the valley is a must visit.

See where else our #youngexcellence alumni go to in ACTNSWNTQLDSATASVICWA

the insider’s guide to eating/drinking central coast with cameron cansdell

Ever wondered where those in the biz head to for great eating and drinking? We’re often asked so we asked our #youngexcellence for the lowdown and the insider’s guide to eating/drinking….Avoca with Cameron Cansdell chef/owner of Bombini restaurant in Avoca.

Where do you go for coffee before work/after work/not at work?

I have two places, Likeminds in Avoca or Loo Loo’s Coffee Shack in Macmasters Beach.

Favourite places for breakfast and brunch?

Bambini Trust on Elizabeth St, Sydney. They do a great coffee, omelette and a glass of champagne for breakfast, whenever I stay in the city I make it a must to drop by there.

Favourite restaurants in your home state for special occasions?

For a special occasion Biota in Bowral, chef/owner James Viles for his creative and inspiring food. Or Ormeggio at The Spit in Mosman, delivers modern Italian food by Alessandro Pavoni.

Best bars to head to after work and on your days off?

On the Central coast, Pocket Bar Terrigal for a great Negroni or the bar at Bells Killcare do a very good Espresso Martini

Where do you go for fresh, seasonal produce and market bargains?

Locally I grab fresh locally caught seafood from Fisherman’s Wharf in Woy Woy or fresh crayfish from Seacoast Fishing in Macmasters Beach. When in Sydney, I often stop by the Fish Markets, Franks Fruit Market in Haberfield for some interesting finds and Victor Churchill butcher for great meat.

Where have you had the best interstate dining experiences?

Cumulus on Flinders lane in Melbourne is great time and time again. I like to sit at the kitchen bar and order small dishes. They do great charcuterie & oysters. Their wine list is also extensive and with a very interesting selection.

See where else our #youngexcellence alumni go to in ACTNSWNTQLDSATASVICWA

the insider’s guide to eating/drinking in the yarra valley with kelvin shaw

Ever wondered where those in the biz head to for great eating/drinking? We’re often asked so we headed to our #youngexcellence for the lowdown and the insider’s guide to eating/drinking around the Yarra Valley with chef/owner of Altair Restaurant Kelvin Shaw.

Where do you go for coffee before work/after work/not at work?

If it’s a work day Round Bird Can’t Fly in Lilydale is definitely my favourite coffee stop, it’s a great spot to grab a bite as well. If it’s a day off I don’t mind travelling for coffee and you can’t beat One Origin on Glenferrie Road in Malvern, Alan Chan makes arguably the best coffee in Melbourne, his blends and attention to detail is second to none.

Favourite places for breakfast and brunch?

After a long week I love a lazy late morning breakfast, locally my favourites are Little Drop of Poison in Eltham, a small café with amazing character. The food packs a punch with big flavours and their list of craft beers and natural wine is brilliant. Leaf & Vine in Ringwood, is another local favourite, hidden away but always bustling with people, Pete & Bec have created something very special. If on a brunch road trip I’m forever trying to find an excuse to get to Spotswood and The Duchess of Spotswood Cafe, ‘Pork Jowl, Truffle & Eggs’ need I say more?

Favourite restaurants in your home state for special occasions?

Living just outside of Melbourne I am absolutely spoilt for choice, Amaru in Northcote has become a favourite there approach to using native ingredients is fascinating and flavour combinations are brilliant. IDES in Collingwood is another that offers something totally innovative an amazing culinary adventure, Peter Gunn really provides something special.

Best bars to head to after work and on your days off?

For after work drinks it’s hard to beat Siglo Bar the wine list is amazing and the view from the roof sensational, Siglo has an amazing vibe and is open to late. Other city favourites include Whisky & Alement and Bar Americano both provide high standard drinks and service and unbeatable atmospheres. Go Go Bar is another of Melbourne’s late night watering holes and with food offerings from Chin Chin’s bar menu available it’s hard to resist.

Where do you go for fresh, seasonal produce and market bargains?

I love a trip to Springvale for the fresh produce on offer is always amazing and with such a range of South East Asian ingredients every trip is a learning experience. The Queen Vic Markets is another favourite spot, whether it be meat, seafood, fruit & veg or smallgoods, there is always so much to explore not to forget a quick stop into books for cooks on the way home. Since its new facelift the Warrandyte Riverside Market held the 1st Saturday of the month has some great produce offerings on hand and on the banks of the Yarra River it is hard to pass up.

Where have you had the best interstate dining experiences?

The Sydney dining scene has provided many memorable meals The Bentley Bar & Monopole are personal favourites, Brent Savage has a unique style that continuously leaves you craving your next visit. While in Tasmania, Stillwater in Launceston has such a well-rounded setup amazing food, service and atmosphere, a truly memorable dining experience. And on our many trips to the Barossa we can’t visit without stopping into Appellation at the Louise.

the insider’s guide to eating/drinking in Canberra

Ever wondered where those in the biz head to for great eating and drinking? We’re often asked so we headed to our  #youngexcellence almuni for the lowdown and the insider’s guide to eating/drinking….Canberra with AKIBA & Sages Andy Day.

Where do you go for coffee before work/after work/not at work?

We’re spoilt for choice in Canberra with great local roasters. Right in the centre of Canberra is Coffee Lab, run by ONA Coffee, which is my favourite spot for a pre-work coffee. A bit further afield and a crazy-busy weekend favourite is Redbrick Espresso in Curtin who also do great food, and Highgate Lane in Kingston put their roaster on full display so is a fun and busy spot with great service.

Favourite places for breakfast and brunch?

Brunch is kind of my thing because I’m probably at work for most of my other meals! My fiancée and I really like the food at TwoforJoy in Kingston, it’s always changing and is really creative and generous. Likewise at The Cupping Room, I’m a sucker for Central American food and their dishes are always on point.

Favourite restaurants in your home state for special occasions?

Canberra punches well above its weight for fine diners and good places for that special time. I love Pod food out at Pialligo; it’s charming, seasonal, has a great wine list and Brent leads a crack team of service professionals. Brunch at Pod is about as fine-dining as brunch can get and it is spectacular.

I also love the dinner experience at Courgette in the centre of Canberra and it’s the go-to for birthdays and anniversaries. The wine list makes celebrating easy!

Best bars to head to after work and on your days off?

A number of small bars have popped up in Canberra over the past few years and getting a glass of something interesting is easy and always relaxing. My new favourite is Vincent, in Barton, which has a daily list of wines – almost all by the glass – that always has something I haven’t tried before. The fun vibe and scrabble-pieces menu is light entertainment to match. Also good for a glass of wine and a snack in the afternoon is Parlour Wine Room in New Acton with a beautiful vintage fitout and sunny terrace is super relaxing. A big nod to local producers and a crafty cocktail list make it a good Sunday afternoon. For an after work beverage the best place for me is Monster. A great wine list, an extremely good negroni, and a kitchen closing at 1am means I can get a second dinner in if I want in the comfort of a fireplace and either my thoughts, good company, or choice banter from the service team.

Where do you go for fresh, seasonal produce and market bargains?

Canberra’s Saturday morning farmers markets at the showground is a highlight of the city. Producers come from all over NSW and Victoria bringing great quality, fresh produce. The markets are separated into those who sell, and those who grow and sell, so if you’re mad keen on knowing the origin of your food you can ask the person selling it to you and they can tell you when they plucked it from the farm. To me that’s the best.

Also good and certainly if your stocks from Saturday run low there are the Fyshwick fresh food markets which house most of Canberra’s fruit & veg suppliers, butchers and fishmongers, so getting quality produce is always easy there. If it means I have to walk via Plonk, one of the country’s best boutique bottle shops, as I shop then so be it!

Where have you had the best interstate dining experiences?

It’s tough to choose between Cutler & Co in Melbourne and The Bridge Room in Sydney. The first time I went to Cutler & Co there were at least three dishes that made the hairs on my neck stand on end, while the service was impeccable and fit-out so comfortable and classy at the same time. I felt so looked after and just shell-shocked by how good a place they had created.

Meanwhile my first, second and third experiences at the Bridge Room took place within a fortnight. I loved it so much on my first mission (a solo birthday lunch) that I rebooked for later that week for my management team and then the week after with my family. When a venue gets everything in harmony like they do its addictive and hard to keep away!


Floriade 2016 runs from 17-Sept to 16-Oct 2016. You can check out the full program here

See where else our #youngexcellence alumni go to in ACTNSWNTQLDSATASVICWA

recipe: nam jim oysters by kelvin shaw

Preparation time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 1 hour

Skills needed: beginner

Serves: 3 doz oysters


3tbs    Palm Sugar

1          Long Red Chilli seeded and diced

1          Stick of lemongrass top inch and bottom inch discarded then thinly slice

1          Bunch of coriander, washed thoroughly and sliced stems & leaves

2          Limes

1          Orange

2tsb     Sea salt

4tbs    White wine vinegar

1          Garlic cloves minced

1tbs     Fish sauce

1tbs     Minced fresh young ginger

1tbs     water


Place the vinegar and water into a small saucepan and place on to a stove on a low heat, once a slow simmer is reached add the palm sugar. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved then remove from the heat, add the fish sauce then set aside and allow to cool. While the liquid is cooling add the chilli, lemongrass, coriander and ginger into a mortar and pestle, zest the orange and one of the lemons into the pestle and grind the mixture for 30 seconds. Transfer to a stainless steel bowl and then add all of the juiced citrus. Once the mixture has cooled to below 59 degrees pour over the aromats and allow to cool to below 4 degrees in a refrigerated space stirring occasionally. Place into a serving vessel and serve with Tuncurry Sydney Rock Oysters.


If palm sugar is unavailable, substitute with brown sugar but reduce the amount down by 1tbs

To add a twist replace the fish sauce with 2 tbs of soy and ½ tsp of rose water

To obtain a better flavour from the lemongrass use the back of the knife to bruise the lemongrass before slicing.

and it’s almost a wrap…

And the awards go to….

it’s been a big year so far. We’ve created new initiatives – Appetite for Young Swines; held cook off’s & wait offs; took this years alumni on a produce tour and last month we celebrated Australia’s innovative fresh produce – our young talent – at our awards night in Sydney. The young chefs, waiters and restaurateurs that have been involved in the program this year in addition to the crowning of the Australian Young Restaurateur; Waiter and Chef 2016 at a star studded event on the 08 August 2016. We, as a program strive to inspire, nurture and celebrate young passionate hospitality professionals. As an industry, we need to support and embrace the next generation no only in our restaurants and bars but also in our conversations and thinking so that the industry can continue to thrive.  Every single professional who entered the program deserves to be congratulated for challenging themselves, being open to learning different ways of doing things as well as their own passion and commitment to their careers. We take our hats off to all of our national finalists and to the those that were awarded;

L-R: Electrolux Australian Young Waiter Andrew Day; Electrolux Australian Restaurateur Cameron Cansdell; Electrolux Australian Young Chef Aaron Ward

The winner’s for each category;

Electrolux Australian Young Waiter of the Year 2016

People’s Choice: Andrew Day

Highly Commended: Natasha Janetzki

Australian Young Waiter: Andrew Day

Electrolux Australian Young Restaurateur of the Year 2016

Australian Young Restaurateur : Cameron Cansdell

Electrolux Australian Young Chef of the Year 2016

People’s Choice: Zackary Furst

Highly Commended: Zackary Furst

Runner Up: Troy Crisante

Australian Young Chef: Aaron Ward

It’s definitely a journey

Young Waiters

it’s not only waiting tables….. waiters need to be skilled in many different areas, from talking knowledgeably about the menu and recommending wines, to making sure the customers needs and requests are catered for all with grace, poise and a bit of theatre. This also is part of our judging process where our waiters spent two full days with the judging panel taking part in many different aspects of what it takes to be a waiters. We provide a myriad of experiences, the ability to learn, be tested and show their skills.

Wayne from JOTO shared his knowledge of squid in a masterclass about the different flavour profiles, textures and how they are caught.  Beverage legends and judges Nick Hildebrandt & Simon Denton took the waiters through an interactive food and beverage masterclass where a discussion was had on the best matches. There was one-on-one interviews with judges Lisa van Haandel & Sam Christie to find out more about their careers, philosophies and future goals. Oh and the quiz like paper testing them on their service; food and beverage knowledge and practices. This was all before being put to their paces at a pop-up lunch for 100 guests where all their knowledge and service know how was put to the test! “It’s an absolutely amazing program – being surrounded by all these professionals who are at such a high level, it has really helped me to affirm why I do what I do, and why I love what I do. Learning from the judges with all that combined knowledge – whether or not you win, it’s incredibly energising to go back into the industry knowing there’s that kind of support,” Andrew Day on winning and being involved in the program.

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Young Restaurateurs

The restaurateurs had a LOT of questions put to them about their business; their vision and their roles within their business before sitting down individually with the judging panel of Lucy Allon; Christine Manfield; Peter Sullivan and Marilyn Annecchini in one-on-one interviews. The young restaurateur judges noted that “All three finalists were very strong contenders. All of them are dynamic and focused, and leading great teams and businesses. They can all be very proud of what they have achieved and should be congratulated for the role they are each playing in the industry. We look forward to seeing this year’s Young Restaurateur winner and finalists continuing to be inspiring role models for young people in the hospitality industry.”

Cameron Cansdell says “This program is all about the participation, and it’s given us an incredible foundation for our future,” he added “and to win – I’m thrilled. It’s a dream that’s come into reality.”

AFE KELVIN JULY 2016012Cameron Cansdell restaurant1AFE DAVID JULY 2016025

Young Chefs

Since pressing submit on their application back in April, the Young Chef national finalists have cooked their way through 3 rounds of judging; spending a total of 8 hours in the kitchen cooking (this doesn’t include prep time or the interviews with the judging panel) with industry heavyweights Dave Pynt; Peter Gilmore; Mark Best; Guy Grossi; Bethany Finn; Duncan Welgemoed, Luke Mangan; Lyndey Milan;  & Troy Rhoades-Brown looking over their shoulders; asking questions as they prep; cook and plate up and what their food philosophies are. Pretty nerve wracking indeed. Aaron Ward said of his award “It was absolutely nerve-wracking until that final moment of accepting the award! But the highlight of the program has definitely been bonding with everyone [the participants] as a team, over the same passion of what we do every day.”

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AaronWard_1257EFAE_Troy Crisante Mal Meiers

But it hasn’t all been serious business – there have been laughs along the way – heading out on the produce tour was a highlight and we were very lucky to have such a great group of young people on-board the bus. 

There were a lot of laughs which we would love to share with you however you know they do say what goes on tour stays on tour… However here are some funny anecdotes and be sure to stay tuned as we will be sharing the team stories of their producer visits with you in the coming months!

‘Where’s Dave?’ after leaving without one of the guys

‘It’s not the ghosts you should be scared of’ says the bartender after hearing the group talk about the possibility of the old hotel being haunted!

‘hows that rice pudding coming along’ that never seemed to cook no matter how long it was on the bbq for…

Wallis Lake Fisher Produce TourGraham Barclay Oysters Produce Tour
Little Hill Farm Produce Tour 1
Adams Continentals Produce Tour NSWMelanda Pig Farm Produce Tour

Hunt + Gather Dinner

The Hunt + Gather Dinner was held the night before the awards night. Guests were welcomed to the Electrolux Showcase where each table had their own waiter & chef team; their own menu created with inspiration from the produce tour and their own individual experience. It was like the young chef and waiter national finalists had invited their guests into their own home for an exclusive dinner party. The national finalists did an amazing job and a great night was had by all!


We look forward to sharing our stories; recipes; tips and the best places to dine out in Australia over the coming months. You can keep up to date with all of the exciting things we have in store for 2017 and beyond by following our social channels Facebook and Instagram and here on our blog.

A special thanks to all of our sponsors and event partners for their continued support – Electrolux; Sanpellegrino; Virgin Australia; FRDC; Porkstar; Vics Meats; Fraser & Hughes; JOTO; Murdoch Produce; Endeavour Beer and Wine Australia. Looking forward to another great Appetite for Excellence for 2017!

eat/drink south australia with Dan Moss

Where do you go for coffee before work/after work/not at work?

Abbots and Kinney on Pirie St in Adelaide is the best going around.  They have delish pastries and ripping coffee.  Jonny Pisanelli is a young man doing all the right things.  Lucia’s in the Central Markets in South Australia offers a traditional Italian approach, great for people watching.  It is high energy, just the spot before hitting the markets in the morning.  Bar 9 in Central South Australia is a great atmosphere, service and fit out.  Tempting hangover food offerings also.

Favourite places for breakfast and brunch?

Zest Café always has something interesting and is in a great location.  It is a must when down the Bay.  Bar 9 in Parkside is the complete Café package.  Coffee nerd hot spot and really good grub on offer too.  West Beach Surf Club offers breakfast on a Sunday morning with a fresh smoothie, watching the waves roll in – very relaxing environment.

Favourite restaurants in your home state for special occasions?

Penfolds Magill Estate in South Australia has innovation in one of the smartest dining rooms.  It is a South Australian icon.  Africola in Adelaide is an exciting place to eat and drink.  There is brilliant staff and a fantastic concept – a must.  Peel St in the middle of Adelaide CBD has a constantly changing menu executed well, wine you want to drink now and a great fit out.

Best bars to head to after work and on your days off?

Super drinkable cocktails & boutique beers at the Clever Little Tailor in South Australia is a hot spot and rightfully so.  Seed Wine House + Kitchen in South Australia offers moreish bar snacks, great options by the glass and the best bar in the Valley.  The Exeter in South Australia is one of the best pints in town.  With a constantly changing wine list, there is no fuss fun in the Rundle street sun.

Where do you go for fresh, seasonal produce and market bargains?

Adelaide Central Markets is literal food heaven with everything on offer, a real treat and very lucky to have in Adelaide.  Barossa Farmers Market is the best regional market in the state, beautiful setting, producers that care and love their products.  Sevenhill Producers Market is small but warming market in the Clare Valley.  Check out Doug Slugget’s stall for the good stuff.

Where have you had the best interstate dining experiences?

Ethos is my favourite spot in Tassie.  Cutting edge operation offering the best that the Apple Isle has to offer, knowledgeable staff that are really good at their job, with food to match.  Chin Chin in Melbourne is just an absolute cracker of a setup, warming space that you just want to eat at all day long.  Leave it in the staff’s hands and go the ‘Feed me’ option… best way to tackle the Melbourne CBD.  El Publico in Perth is a tequila bar, with super tasty food to share with friends in a buzzing atmosphere, in the best part of town. What’s not to love about El Publico?


culinary talent announced for 2016

After a month of deliberations, we are excited to announce the results. The selected young culinary talent have had their applications reviewed and now face a series of skills testing and interviews with the judges; Christine Manfield, Peter Gilmore, Luke Mangan, Danielle Gjestland, David Pynt, Lisa van Haandel, Guy Grossi to name but a few of the heavyweights of the Australian hospitality industry. Follow their progress here on our website,  Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds.

2016 electrolux australian young restaurateur national finalists

Cameron Cansdell bombini nsw
Dave Parker San Telmo & Pastuso vic
Kelvin Shaw Altair Restaurant vic


 2016 electrolux australian young waiter state finalists

Andrew Day AKIBA act
Chayse Bertoncello O.MY Restaurant vic
Dylan Labuschagne Stillwater/Black Cow Bistro tas
George Papaioannou Luxembourg Bar & Bistro vic
Imogen Clarke Restaurant Orana sa
Katrina Lee Panama Dining Room and Bar vic
Mia McIntyre Michels Restaurant qld
Morgan Golledge Blackbird Bar & Grill qld
Natasha Janetzki Blackbird Bar & Grill qld
Rory McCallum Supernormal vic


2016 electrolux australian young chef finalists

Aaron Ward Sixpenny nsw
Andre Mcloughlin The Royal Mail Hotel vic
Braden White The Apo qld
Cameron Jones Red Cabbage Food + Wine wa
Chris Howard The Freycinet Lodge tas
Cody McKavanagh Biota Dining nsw
Joanne Cross Cucina Vivo qld
Jordan Monkhouse Aria Brisbane qld
Joshua Gregory EXP Restaurant nsw
Kahwai Lo Matteo’s vic
Liz Edney One Penny Red nsw
Louise Brown Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove vic
Mal Meiers Fatto Bar & Cantina vic
Mark Glenn Dinner by Heston vic
Mathew Lee Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre qld
Matt Binney Merricote vic
Matthew Hammond Elyros Restaurant vic
Michael Conlon Blackbird Bar & Grill qld
Nichole Horvath Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio vic
Nick Gannaway The Bridge Room nsw
Phillip Roberts Eschalot Restaurant nsw
Sean Glatt Petite Mort wa
Sean Hillier Muse Restaurant nsw
Sean Townsend Muse Kitchen nsw
Shayne Mansfield The Long Apron qld
Shohei Kishishita Coast Restaurant & Bar qld
Thiago Miranda Church Street Enoteca vic
Thomas Smith Bistro Guillaume vic
Troy Crisante Bennelong Restaurant nsw
Zackary Furst IDES vic





robert luo – eat/drink sydney

Robert Luo treads the boards at Newtowns’ Oscillate Wildly .Here are Robs’ top recommendations for the best local eating & drinking in Sydney!

Where do you go for coffee before work/after work/not at work?

Coffee Alchemy is one of the best coffee roasteries hiding in the industrial side of Marrickville. From single origin to house blend, there is always something for everyone, especially the serious coffee drinker.  The Workshop, located in the heart of Sydney, is definitely one of the best coffee shops you can find in the city. Perfect for morning pick-me ups.  Located just outside the city in Newtown, T-Totaler  is an unusual place to get a caffeine fix. It is a teashop, tea bar or just an oasis in the Newtown.  Do check out their  ‘cocktail’ that is made with tea as well as the tea and cake degustation.

Favourite places for breakfast and brunch?

The Henson Park Hotel in Marrickville is a family and dog friendly pub that serves great value and high quality food. Not to mention the delicious selections of beers and spirits.  Also located in Marrickville, the Marrickville Pork Roll is an icon in the Sydney food scene, must try!  The long established Malaysian hawker-style eatery, Malay-Chinese Takeaway, is famous for its laksa soup. Get in early to avoid the lunch crowd.

Favourite Sydney restaurants for special occasions?

Modern Japanese restaurant takes on Japanese Izakaya. Cho Cho San in Potts Point offers food that is simple but packed with flavour. The restaurant boasts one of the most comprehensive Sake selections in town.  Porteno in Surry Hills is definitely worth the line-up.  The wait is worth it, Porteno offering some of the best Argentinean barbecue available. Quick tip is to get there before 6pm, as they don’t take bookings for small groups.  In the city, Rockpool est. 1989 is the best example of East Meets West.  Classic Asian flavours combined with European cooking techniques. The restaurant itself is stunning and elegant.

Best bars to head to after work and on your days off?

The Baxter Inn is the best place in Sydney to explore whisky from around the globe.  Eau de Vie in Darlinghurst offers mind blowing cocktails paired with a great atmosphere.  Also in Darlinghurst, Love, Tilly Devine is a wine bar that offers a great selection of wine by the glass.

Where do you go for fresh, seasonal produce and market bargains?

The Marrickville Organic Food and Farmers Market has a good range of food stalls as well as fresh food and vegetable. It also has a great sense of community.  Flemington’s Paddy’s Markets is the hub for Sydney hospitality fruit and vegetable supply and is a great place to meet the farmers and suppliers.  The Olympic Continental Delicatessen & Butchery in Bankstown is a Greek deli that has been operated for over 60 years. Very traditional deli with a great range of products. All small goods are produced in house.

And finally, where have you had the best interstate dining experiences?

Vue de Monde in Melbourne is a creative and interactive dining experience.  It also offers a stunning view of the Melbourne city.  Also in Melbourne is MoVida, a small cosy restaurant that serves up some delicious tapas. It is a great place to refuel after exploring some of the best street art in Melbourne.  Brae in regional Victoria is a must! Away from the city buzz, relax and enjoy one of the best culinary journeys  guided by chef Dan Hunter and his team. It is definitely worth the drive.

See where else to eat & drink around the country: