Beginning his training at age 17 at India’s Institute of Hotel Management, Kumar went on to complete his apprenticeship the Taj Intercontinental Hotel in Bombay.
Kumar came to Australia in 1985 to work, soon heading up the kitchen at Mayur restaurant, cooking for the likes of Prince Phillip and Mick Jagger.
He opened first restaurant Abhi's in 1990, which has gone on to become a legendary neighbourhood eatery. The more ambitious operation, Aki's, followed in 2003. Both restaurants showcase Kumar’s light, delicate flavours and fresh, aromatic spices in a modern interpretation of traditional Indian food, reflecting all regions of the country. This chef delights in creating dishes that combine the best of local seafood and other produce with the flavours of his native Southern India - an approach that has won him a dedicated following.
For the first Sydney International Food Festival (SIFF), Kumar was chosen by Joanna Savill, Director of SIFF, to represent the flavours and colours of Indian cuisine in the culinary event. He also brought to Sydney Chef Praveen Anand, acclaimed for his knowledge of Southern Indian cooking.
Kumar is often referred in Sydney’s dining circles as the guru or master of Indian cuisine.
Christine Manfield is a highly regarded Australian chef, author, food writer, food manufacturer, presenter, teacher and gastronomic traveller whose culinary work draws on the exciting tastes and flavours of many cultures and whose passion and skills are world renowned.
After closing the celebrated Paramount Restaurant in Sydney in December 2000, Christine continued to expand her food knowledge, travelling internationally as a culinary ambassador for Australia’s gastronomy. In 2003, she relocated to London in October to open East @ West in Covent Garden to instant critical acclaim. Her audience was just as enthusiastic when she returned to Sydney and opened Universal Restaurant in 2007.
Christine has published five award-winning books: Stir, Spice, Christine Manfield Originals, Christine Manfield Desserts and Fire - A World of Flavour.
A love of spices and an understanding of the home cook's need for authentically flavoured, simple sustaining food also led Christine to develop the Spice Collection; a range of Asian and Mediterranean style pastes and condiments now marketed in Australia and abroad. To continue her passion for all things spiced, she also hosts regular ‘Spice’ gastronomic travel adventures to destinations such as Morocco, Tunisia, India and South East Asia.
Christine Manfield is one of Australia's most celebrated chefs, a perfectionist inspired by strong flavours, a creative spirit whose generosity and skills have inspired young chefs, a writer whose successful books have spiced up the lives of keen cooks from Melbourne to Mumbai and Manhattan.
Universal Restaurant website
Adam’s culinary career really kicked off in 2000, when he was made Junior Sous Chef of Mayfair fine dining restaurant Le Boudin Blanc. He later moved on to work at Otto’s in London, before accepting a position at Sunbar Restaurant Lounge in Brisbane.
While working at the Shangri la Hotel in Dubai, Adam helped Amwaj be named as Dubai’s ‘Best New Restaurant’ by What’s On Magazine in 2005. He then cheffed at award-winning hotels like the Shangri la in Shanghai and Burj Al Arab in Dubai.
Adam’s career soon took a new direction, with him becoming a restaurant consultant. In this role, he helped eateries with their image, branding and food development.
Adam was made head creative chef of two Michelin Star restaurant La Terraza del Casino in Madrid in 2008, where he has been running the establishment’s creative section ever since. He is also developing Madrid Lab, a progressive flavour profiling project that will be used as a reference for chefs worldwide.
Madrid Lab website
Head chef and co-owner, ARIA Restaurant.
Matt was raised on a dairy farm at Badgery’s Creek in NSW and it was while living in regional Australia that he developed a commitment to the land and his love for food and local produce. At age 15, Matt finished school to initiate a career as a chef. He commenced his apprenticeship at La Belle Helene Restaurant, Roseville, on Sydney’s North Shore and it was here that Matt discovered and practiced the art of classical French cooking.
In 1991 Matt, with his business partner Peter Sullivan, launched their first restaurant - The Paddington Inn Bistro. The successful partnership led them to open their second restaurant Moran’s Restaurant and Café in 1995 which was also well received on the food scene. Moran’s was awarded best new restaurant in the 1995 Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide.
December 1999 saw Matt Moran and Peter Sullivan open the doors to ARIA Restaurant. Located in one of the most enviable positions in Sydney at No. 1 Macquarie Street, East Circular Quay, ARIA overlooks the Sydney Opera House and Sydney’s spectacular harbour.
At ARIA, Matt believes that seasonality is an important basis for menu production and one of the most significant ingredients in achieving a flavoursome, balanced and premium quality menu. As such, ARIA’s contemporary menu is inspired by his passion for sourcing the finest seasonal produce available. Vogue Entertaining has described Matt Moran’s food at ARIA as “a revelation.”
Distinguished wine writer James Halliday has called the wine list ‘the best in Australia’ and the Sydney Morning Herald has said of the restaurant’s unmatched location: “If you were any closer to the Opera House, you’d be in the audience.”
ARIA has been awarded two coveted Chef’s Hats by The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
In August 2009 Matt and Peter opened a second ARIA restaurant in Brisbane. Located in the Eagle Street Pier precinct, the restaurant has spectacular views of the Brisbane River and the Story Bridge provides a perfect back drop for diners. The restaurant seats 150 people and includes a private dining room for up to 40 guests.
Since 2003 Matt Moran has been a member of the International Culinary Panel for Singapore Airlines. He has represented Australia internationally promoting food and wine in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. In May 2003, he was invited to New York to appear at the esteemed New York culinary institution James Beard House.
While Matt’s main focus is his restaurants he also enjoys sharing his experience and knowledge to the public through the media, be it on television, radio or in print.
Matt was part of The Bank on Channel 7’s high-rating reality TV program, My Restaurant Rules in 2004 and 2005. The Bank comprised of a panel of four experts in the food game who give advice and input into the creation of each restaurant.
In 2005, ARIA Restaurant and Matt featured prominently in Heat in the Kitchen, an insightful documentary looking at the lives of three Sydney chefs and their restaurants. The documentary followed the restaurants for a year coinciding with results from the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Awards. The show aired on SBS in Australia and is still broadcast internationally.
He then, while still appearing in many news and current affairs programs as an industry icon, in 2008 became the resident top chef on Channel 9’s reality cooking show The Chopping Block and in 2009 one of the guest judges of Channel 10’s enormously successful cooking show MasterChef.
In print, Matt has been part of the judging panel for the coveted Vogue Entertaining & Travel Produce Awards since its inception in 2005 and had a weekly spot on radio with the ABC’s James Valentine on Relish.
Matt appears regularly as a guest chef at The Good Food and Wine Show in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth joining forces with local and international celebrity chefs.
Matt is also the newest brand ambassador for Audi Australia joining other high-profile Australians who embody the brand’s values of sporty, progressive and sophisticated.
Matt has written two cookbooks – his first one Matt Moran showcases some ARIA dishes adapted for the home cook and his second book was released in September 2009, When I get home provides Matt’s favourite recipes that he cooks at home for his family and friends.
Luke Nguyen was born in 1978 in Thailand, shortly after his parents fled Vietnam as boat people. After spending some time in a Thai refugee camp, his family eventually settled in Sydney.
Luke’s passion for cooking was inspired by his food-obsessed parents, who opened a Vietnamese noodle house in Cabramatta in 1985. Luke worked here throughout his childhood, before moving out of the family business as a teenager to start working with prominent Sydney chefs and restaurateurs.
In 2002, he fulfilled his dream by opening his very own restaurant - Red Lantern. This award-winning Vietnamese restaurant is set in a heritage listed terrace on Crown St in Surry Hills.
Luke is the author of two bestselling and award-winning cook books, Secrets of The Red Lantern and The Songs of Sapa. He is also the presenter and producer of his own cooking and travel show, Luke Nguyen’s Vietnam on SBS.
In 2009, Luke Nguyen and his partner Suzanna Boyd founded the little lantern foundation in Hoi An, which gives disadvantaged youths an opportunity to undertake a hospitality training program in little lantern’s operating hotel – restaurant and bar.
In his spare time, Luke hosts 13-day culinary discovery trips to Vietnam – guiding adventurous foodies from the northern mountains of Sapa down to the mighty Mekong Delta.
Justin was born and raised in New Zealand. After completing his apprenticeship, he went on to work at some of the great restaurants of the world.
Most notably was Justin's three years at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in the UK. He then spent time in the kitchens of two of Paris’s greatest restaurants, the three Michelin starred Pierre Gagnaire and Guy Savoy, prior to returning to Sydney to work with Liam Tomlin as Sous Chef at Banc Restaurant. In November 2001, Justin left Banc to open his own restaurant Bécasse in Surry Hills.
Bécasse met with instant critical and public acclaim, being crowned Best New Restaurant by the Restaurant & Catering Association, Best European Restaurant in Australia 2004 by the RCA, and more recently taking out the award for Restaurant of the Year in the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2007.
Justin is also very passionate about ethical eating and is often guest speaker at debates and discussions as well as being invited to write columns for magazines and newspapers such as a recent article published in the New York Times. He features regularly on the radio, has appeared on various television networks and is often invited to appear at international food and wine events. He has written award-winning books, such as French Lessons, and was named GQ magazine’s ‘Chef of the Year’ at the Man of the Year awards in 2009.
Jamie Oliver is a phenomenon in the world of food. He is one of the world’s best-loved television personalities and one of Britain’s most famous exports.
Jamie has had huge success with television series The Naked Chef (BBC), Jamie’s Kitchen, Jamie’s School Dinners, Jamie’s Great Italian Escape, Return to School Dinners, Jamie’s Chef, Jamie at Home, Jamie’s Ministry of Food and more recently Jamie’s American Road Trip as well as the one-off specials Jamie’s Fowl Dinners, Eat To Save Your Life and Jamie Saves Our Bacon (all for Channel 4).
Jamie has inspired people to spend more time enjoying being in the kitchen - and even start growing their own food! His programmes have now been broadcast in over 130 countries including the USA, Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Japan and Iceland.
Having been translated into 29 languages, the accompanying cookbooks are bestsellers not only in the UK but across the world.
Jamie lives in London and Essex with his wife, Jools and three daughters, Poppy, Daisy and Petal.
Jamie's Italian website
Mitchell Orr was born and raised in the western suburbs of Sydney. Knowing early in his teenage years that professional cooking was what he wanted to do with his life, Mitchell’s trajectory has landed him on the restaurant industry’s list as one to watch.
Beginning his career in a pub in Parramatta, Mitchell has since cut his teeth in some of Sydney’s highest profile kitchens including Lo Studio, Pello, Pilu at Freshwater, The Beresford and Sepia.
His time with iconic Italian Australian chefs such as Giovanni Pilu may have given him a solid grounding in classic Italian technique, but his style isn’t bound by tradition. Mitchell’s modern approach, light touch and honed technique gives Italian flavours a whole new outlook.
Awarded the 2010 Good Food Guide Josephine Pignolet ‘Young Chef of the Year’, this industry-voted achievement recognises young chefs who show clear passion and talent for their craft. He adds his name to a list of previous winners that includes Daniel Puskas (Sepia), Phil Wood (Rockpool) and Dan Hong (Lotus).
The Young Chef award took Mitchell to the USA and Europe, including a stint at Italy’s famous Osteria Francescana, where he ate, learned and absorbed all he could and brought those experiences back to share with the Sydney dining scene.