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Charley Snadden Wilson

Embla, VIC

Name: Charley Snadden Wilson

Instagram: @charlie.snaddenwilson

Age: 25

Restaurant: Embla

Location: VIC

My food philosophy is… very much a culmination of everything I’ve done up until this point in my life. I grew up hunting, fishing and eating organic produce, which just seemed the norm to me. I have many childhood memories spent around a fire and I remember being mesmerised by the smell of meat roasting over sweet, smoky manuka. In the past year, I’ve been cooking with Dave Verheul at Embla and learning how to control temperature with no thermometer has been challenging. It’s so primal, yet so intuitive and delicate.

I’d love to do an international stage at… Blanca in New York. I’m inspired by Carlo Mirarchi’s approach to modern Italian food and have a massive affinity with Italian cuisine. Making hand-rolled pasta is one of the most therapeutic things I can do.

An Australian restaurant that inspires me is… Saint Peter. Josh Niland’s approach to seafood is fascinating and so well thought-out. Nothing seems to be done for the sake of it. It’s very intelligent cooking.

An industry leader I look up to is… Dave Verheul. His understanding of flavours and balance constantly surprises me, and his constant need to evolve and grow as a chef is both humbling and inspiring. His approach to modern Australian dining is very much the same path I wish to take in the future.

In the next 5 years, I’d like to… grow as a chef. I feel like I’ve spent these past 3 years learning how to cook, now it’s time to learn how to be a chef. Having recently stepped into a junior management role, I see myself working for Dave in a senior management role, learning and understanding how a restaurant works and how to motivate my staff to work for me efficiently.

The 2017 electrolux australian young chef program… is an opportunity to show how I have matured as a cook. I was a state finalist in 2015 and was disappointed not to make the national finals. I’ve had time to reflect and was very humbled by the opportunity to compete against all those other amazing young chefs and to cook for the judges. It’s time to come back with a clear head and a sense of purpose.