I began cooking at home because I was interested in eating ingredients I hadn’t had a chance to try before. From there I studied cooking at school for a few years as an adjunct to tertiary, mainly get an easy class at school.
My first hospitality job came overseas when working in a pub, which helped grow an interest in beer and wine.
On returning to Canberra I took a job in a small Italian restaurant that had a strong focus on wine as well as meaningful and simple but considered food. It helped me highlight the overall process of a hospitality space. I continued to learn from what I perceived to be the best Canberra hospitality individuals, firstly Ona coffee and then from David Black at The Artisan restaurant.
I had a choice to continue exploring hospitality elsewhere or begin a business in Canberra, where I was born and grew up. This was the start of Teddy Picker’s café with 3 of my best mates.
Everyday begins at my café Teddy Pickers with the same key processes and setting up. Throughout the day I prepare and cook based on what’s required. At these times it is important to focus on maintaining as consistent a product as possible. I find this repetition to be the most important process of a hospitality space.
I will receive emails and calls from suppliers throughout the day informing me what’s the either the best value or special products available for the day or week. These interactions mostly dictate what I create and are the strongest points of inspiration day to day. Canberra’s product seasons heavily influence a dish as well, it is possible to only have access to a certain type of apple or pumpkin for a few days before they are unavailable for any reason.
If I have trouble finding a correct use for a product or lacking an idea to tie things together, I like to eat other people’s food. Becoming a consumer broadens my perspective on the possibilities of hospitality. It’s nice to increase your field of vision for cooking as often as possible.
Cooking is obviously very tactile so simple visits to markets or gardens helps me engage my mind to products I’m not thinking about which in turn can begin the creation of an idea.
I have a large collection of books. Mostly cookbooks but a few on design as well that I often like to look at.
I believe Canberra will remain my home for as long as I can imagine. I love to watch it grow as a city and am very proud of it.
I would like to keep creating spaces that are mutually beneficial to the city and me. I hope to help other like-minded hospitality people be given the chance to develop their own spaces and push Canberra’s hospitality scene to grow and become an important part of the city’s identity.