Quality produce, artful cooking and attentive hospitality have been the cornerstone of many great gatherings with family and friends over the years and around the globe within our home. Six Festivals in and I still take great pride and joy in being part of such a dynamic team that continues to create superlative eating and drinking experiences for all to enjoy.
Before joining the Festival team, I spent 10 awesome years working in some of the world’s greatest restaurants. What I love about this industry is the fast pace of change and constant flow of new ventures. You will often find me (with a delighted smile on my face) checking out the latest openings of restaurants, bars, cafes and food trucks as they spring to life, lighting up our city.
I had no choice in the matter. My Ukrainian heritage has made me obsessed with food. Whether it was contesting four brothers in the annual varenyky (dumplings) eating competition or searching for the perfect wine to match pickled herrings, the kitchen has always been central to my family. Now I fall asleep most nights planning the following day’s menu, which always starts with a double ristretto.
I love getting away on the weekends to explore Victoria’s many and diverse regions – whether its eating fresh seafood, enjoying a winter roast or indulging in a glass of wine. We as Victorians are spoilt for choice!! I now love taking my children on these trips to teach them more about where our food is sourced from and then having them help in the kitchen at the end of a day out. I feel privileged to work alongside such a creative and passionate team, and the wider industry.
I love the way food facilitates story-telling. Give me a dinner table, a diverse guest list - maybe a bottle or two of wine - and let the games begin! I believe food and the sharing of it is the ultimate medium for understanding people on global, local and personal level: It's a universal language and around a table, we're all one big family.