recipes: tiwi college project by aaron ward and troy crisante

During their time on the island, young chefs Aaron Ward & Troy Crisante cooked some of their secret recipes for the Tiwi College Project, and shared these recipes along with some of their chef’s secrets with the college. The marinades are perfect for a BBQ at home.

Buffalo Marinade by Troy Crisante

Prep time: 20 mins + time for marinating

Serves: up to 1kg of buffalo meat


100ml honey

250ml soy sauce

50ml oyster sauce

2 x oranges (zest & juiced)

4 x cloves garlic

1 x knob garlic (medium size)

1/2 bunch coriander – leaves and stem

2 tbsp sesame seeds


Mince garlic and ginger and then wash & chop coriander stems included.

Zest the orange into 1 cm strips then juice. Mix all ingredients into a bowl and whisk.

Place your meat in the marinade and marinate for a minimum of 4 hours.

Chef’s Tips:

Can be used for lamb and beef also.

Using orange in your marinade is great for those tougher cuts of meat as it helps with the breakdown of the meat, leaving it nice and tender after marinating overnight.

Marinate overnight for the best result!

Pepper Steak Crust by Aaron Ward

Prep time: 20 minutes + marinating time

Serves: 14 x steaks


3tsp ground pepper

2tsp garlic minced

1tsp salt

1 x lemon (zest)

½ cup veg oil


Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl & place meat in bowl.

Massage rub mix into sides of meat and cover.

Refrigerate for 4 hours before cooking or leave overnight and cook the next day!

Chef’s Tips:

Marinate overnight for the best result!

Can also be used with chicken lamb, buffalo and pork!




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.

jake kellie and the opening of the lakeside mill

Jake Kellie’s dream is to one day open his own regional restaurant in Victoria. So when the offer arose to come on-board as Head Chef at The Lakeside Mill, it was an opportunity too good to refuse and takes him one step closer to his dream…. It has been an incredibly rewarding journey for the young chef from the central coast of NSW. Moving to Melbourne in 2011 after completing his apprenticeship, Jake has gone from strength to strength learning from some of the best chefs this country has to offer. His hard work and dedication paid off when he was awarded the prestigious title of Electrolux Australian Young Chef of the Year 2015 in the Appetite for Excellence hospitality awards program. He has since appeared on Masterchef Australia as well as being nominated for The Age’s Good Food Young Chef of the Year 2015. The Lakeside Mill in Packenham VIC opened in February 2016 and Jake takes us back of house for a sneak peak into the journey of opening the restaurant.


Jake heads out on his young chef of the year prize trip at the beginning of October, first stop Italy. We’ll be posting updates of Jake and his trip as it progresses on our Facebook page. Have a great time Jake!

what does hospitality mean to Danielle Gjestland?

What does the word hospitality mean to you and how has it changed since you started?

Hospitality means being in the moment with your client and your staff, taking the time to really be engaged, gracious and generous with your time. I think that’s really important from both a staff and client point of view.

The hospitality industry is less rigid than it used to be and the definition of great service in hospitality has shifted a little bit in that it can be more casual but still considered to be fantastic service and thus a fantastic restaurant, without being stiff.  Generally, people want to feel special and I think that can happen in formal and informal environments.

I also think the client is now much more educated and knowledgeable about food in general, about service, and has a much broader opinion about what that means to them. They have clear expectations of a restaurant experience.

Did you have a mentor?

We’re pretty out of the way [in Noosa] and I was really young when I started so I didn’t really have a mentor. So for me, because I was so young, I learnt a lot from my staff. A lot of people that I hired had more experience in the industry and I was open to that. I still find I am always learning from the people around me.

I think that when you’re young – as a waiter, restaurateur or chef – you have to be open to learning from other people to advance. You can’t let your ego get in the way. I’ve garnered a lot of great skill, knowledge and technique from my peers over the years, from people who have been really generous with their knowledge.

In financial terms, the man who is now my husband, was a great help.  He has a finance background and helped me to quickly learn that getting your financial house in order is key. If you can’t make your balance sheet work, you can be the best restaurant in town but you’ll be broke in a year. That mental shift is really important. When you are starting out, you know it’s really important to invest in your business, and it is. But you have to learn to assess if the cost of the item is going to give you a return – ie is spending the money going to make you more money? If I didn’t have somebody who was much more experienced financially, who pushed me to answer the hard questions, I wouldn’t be here today!

What was the goal when you opened and is it different now?

The goal when we opened wasn’t to be a two-hat, regional restaurant of the year at all. In the first year, it was all about survival. At the time I just wanted to do something that I was proud of and my clients were proud to have in their little town. And that was enough.

As a result of that, we’ve ended up where we are. And each year we try to improve on that by making our clients happier and that’s resulted in a better restaurant. But it’s been a process of chipping away at it. We didn’t open 13 years ago the restaurant we are today.

I’m not a person with grand desires to take over the restaurant world. My nature is more hone and refine; I’m really happy with my lot and focusing on that. We’ve expanded in that we now run a farm where a lot of our produce comes from and we have just launched The Cooking School Noosa and Ibento Boutique Event Space. When we opened I would not have thought of starting a cooking school but these new businesses have come on line because they are a logical extension of what we already do and help us communicate our message to a broader market.

Do you have a piece of advice for current restaurateurs starting out? Did you have a piece of advice that you’ve carried through?

“Time to lean, time to clean! – share it with all your staff” But seriously, I’d say that there’s no room for show-ponying in a successful business, just leave your ego at the door, get in and get the job done. There’s no room for nonsense.

I’d also tell people to get involved as much as you possibly can, to draw information from as many people as you can using the channels that are open to you. The more you know, the more capable you will be of really understanding your business and your clients.

Finally, never lose touch with what it is that makes your clients happy. Without clients, without happy clients, you don’t have a business.




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

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?


inspiration in the kitchen that comes from a musician

By Dominc Rolfe

Chef/owner of Africola in Adelaide, Duncan Welgemoed was raised in Johannesburg and brings to his restaurant the flavours of his youth along with a no nonsense attitude. It’s all about being passionate, creative and having the ability to reinvent yourself to stay current….

What does the word hospitality mean to you and how has it changed since you started?

Hospitality is basically making people feel at home through us giving a lot of ourselves to curate certain experiences – food, wine or front of house.

Hospitality has become a lot more informal, a lot more welcoming and less stiff. But there’s always a fine line that needs to be played, there’s still a service that we need to provide and not just be a hipster lounge.

I think it’s changed because people don’t want to be spending the money so restaurants now have to appeal to a wider demographic.

Did you have a mentor?

I have a few mentors. Mentors are important for me because I have different facets of the business as well as an events company. From a cooking perspective, it was Michael North, one of the best chefs in the UK. Those were my formative kitchen years learning under him.

David Thompson is a mentor from a more philosophical point of view, helping me look at where I wanted to be in the future as a restaurateur and a chef. And from a creative point of view Mike Patton [from band Faith No More] is all about reinventing yourself to stay relevant. He’s always saying “stay true to yourself and who you are creatively”. As long as you produce quality and it’s interesting, you can pretty much do what you want.

What was the goal when you opened and is it different now?

When you start off working in Europe, my goal was to be a three star Michelin chef, especially working in the places I was working. Now it’s more about doing cool stuff. I’m from Johannesburg so having a job is a big driving force. It sounds ridiculous but that’s how it is back home. So I was just happy at the start to be working. Now, the goal is to work a hell of a lot less and to do cool stuff. I currently work basically 7 days a week, 16 hours a day. The goal for this year is more education, more travelling for a purpose and not just work.

Do you have a piece of advice for current chefs starting out? Did you have a piece of advice that you’ve carried through?

Get into it for the love and the passion of it, don’t get into it as a glamourous job. It’s not like that in the slightest. There’s only a very few chefs who have that lifestyle that you see on TV. It is extremely gruelling and you have to stick at it to achieve anything.

Matt Dempsey young chef to restaurateur

by Lilani Goonesena

Young Chef of the Year 2009 and Young Restaurateur National Finalist 2014 – Matt Dempsey  was Executive Chef at Pettavel Winery when he entered the Appetite for Excellence Young Chef program in 2009.

“I entered because the prizes looked really cool,” he says with a laugh. “I thought I’d have a go, just as a chance to learn. And it was awesome, a real highlight of my professional career.”

Matt won the 2009 Young Chef award and as part of the prize, spent two weeks in the UK at Brett Graham’s two Michelin star restaurant, the Ledbury, in London, and Heston Blumenthal’s three Michelin star Fat Duck in Bray.

Cool prizes indeed.

Three years later though, he was rundown and needed a change.

“After I won in 2009, I left my job at Pettavel for another role in Geelong. But within two years, I was burnt out and had lost all motivation. I didn’t want to drive [from Geelong] to Melbourne everyday to work in a two or three hat restaurant as I had young kids. So, I decided the only way to stay motivated was to open my own restaurant,” he says.

Gladioli opened in late 2011. Matt and his wife Kate chose the small regional town of Inverleigh, 20 minutes west of Geelong, as the site of their new venture.

Three years and two hats later Gladioli has carved out its rung on the ladder and marked Inverleigh as a fine dining destination. In 2013, it was awarded Best New Regional Restaurant in the Age Good Food Awards. Gourmet Traveller ranked Gladioli #5 on its 2015 best regional restaurants and #55 in its 2015 Top 100 Australian restaurants.

In 2013, in the midst of success and hard work, Matt and fellow Pettavel chef, Graham Jefferies, opened Tulip Bar and Restaurant in Geelong. Designed as a casual dining experience with an emphasis on its extensive, all Victorian wine list, Tulip won its first hat in 2015.  “It’s been an awesome three years,” says Matt. “Far better than I could ever have expected.”

In 2014, Matt went through the Appetite for Excellence program again as a Young Restaurateur Finalist.

Matt Dempsey

“I had such a great time the first time round; the produce tour and the networking opportunities were brilliant, so I knew it could only be a positive experience,“ he says. “If I have staff at the right level, I try to encourage them to enter too.”

Finding and managing staff is just one of the issues Matt now has to contend with as a chef-owner, though he finds it a lot easier working for himself than for other people.

“Between managing and working in two businesses, I can combine all the things I liked about some places I’ve worked in and none of the things I didn’t. But the financial anxiety is something I don’t think you can prepare for, and we’re still learning about how to deal with that.

You train to be a chef but with your own restaurant, you also have to understand admin and marketing and finances and those sorts of things,” he says.

There’s also the unexpected element that can throw out the best-laid plans. For example, “we opened Tulip 2 years ago and it’s actually taken a lot of our primary business,” he says. “We’ve had to put a lot of time into how we deal this.”

He admits that trying to chef in all three restaurants, do the paperwork, and spend time with his three kids is not easy. “Time management is what I have to work on,” he says.

Given the hectic pace of his own life, perhaps this is why Matt advocates patience to industry newcomers. “A lot of young chefs come in expecting to become a superstar in a year and it doesn’t work like that,” he says.

“Listen, learn and expose yourself to as much as you can – embrace it as a way of life. I read books, talk to people, and travel. Everything I do has some sort of food relevance; it’s a passion not a skill, I love it.”



Kim Galea – eat & drink insider knowledge

See where else to eat & drink around the country:

Kim Galea is one of our Young Restaurateur national finalists of 2015 and is the co-owner of Pitchfork Restaurant  in Peregian Beach. Kim shares her favourite places for great eat & drink experiences on the Sunshine Coast!

favourite coffee shops

Tim Adams Lamkin Lane, Caloundra

Specialty roaster, brilliant coffee

Skal Coffee, Peregian Beach

Great local crew, fantastic coffee

Costa Noosa, Sunshine Beach

Great Noosa Icon

favourite eateries/cafes

Gunshop Café, Brisbane

Best breakfasts ever!

Gaston, Noosa

Easy going, good food and bar

Maison de Provence, Cooroy

Delicious French treats

favourite restaurants

Spirit House, Yandina,

Beautiful location never fails to impress

Spice Bar, Mooloolaba,

Great food, great service

Ricky’s, Noosa,

Top location, great service

favourite bars

Solbar, Maroochydoore

Live music

Flux, Noosaville,

More of a restaurant, but makes a big effort on craft beer

Woolly Mammoth Alehouse, Fortitude Valley


favourite food markets and/or local grocers

Yandina Market

Local, fresh quality veg

Noosa Farmers Market

Nice products

Fishermans Road Sunday Market, Mooloolaba

favourite interstate restaurants

Movida, Melbourne

Awesome food, reasonably priced, never fails

Bar Lourinha, Melbourne,

Great Atmosphere, tapas and cocktails

Bei Amici, Sydney

Small neighbourhood bistro, great food