How did reality compare to expectation at the restaurants you selected for your stage?
Hiša Franko exceeded my expectations. The team there is incredible, and even though I was only a stagier, I never felt like an outsider. The team was warm and welcoming, and made me feel like part of the family from my first day in the kitchen. Despite the intense hours that we worked, it never really felt like the days were that long because of how the team worked together.
What has been the most important lesson or skill you’ve taken away from this trip?
To always be humble, and to never forget how you started. I was having a conversation with Hiša Franko chef Aňa Ros, and she told me that you must be humble because that is the only way to success. Even with chef Dominique Crenn, she never made any of her team feel forgotten or unimportant. Despite their countless accolades, these two chefs are incredibly real people. The time I spent with them is truly priceless.
What are you looking forward to putting into practice once you get back to your job in Melbourne?
My team at Tonka has always been like a family to me, and being away for this long span of time has actually made me appreciate each and every one of them so much more. I get so busy sometimes that I forget to stop and talk to them, and I want to do that more often. I want to help each of them on their journey forward.
What’s it like meeting your food heroes?
I love when I meet my food heroes and they turn out to be such real people. It makes me remember my own motto in life which is to keep my eyes on the stars, and my feet on the ground. It’s so important to always remember where you came from.