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Chef profiles

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Robert Crichton
Executive Chef, The Tea Room QVB, Sergeants Mess & The Blue Room Bondi
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Nathan Darling
Head Chef, Gunners Barracks
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Alex Gubbins
Head Chef, Dunbar House

Robert Crichton

Executive Chef, The Tea Room QVB, Sergeants Mess & The Blue Room Bondi

Hailing from England and inspired by a life-long love of food and cooking, Robert Crichton turned his passion into a career at 15 years old when he commenced work experience at twice-awarded Michelin Star winner, Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons in Oxford. His training was completed over the following three years at Midsummer House Restaurant in Cambridge, also one of Britain’s most acclaimed restaurants and winner of two Michelin Stars.

Crichton then embarked on a seven year adventure, working as a chef with the McLaren Formula 1 team, travelling through Europe and the UK, before moving to Australia to take up a post at MC Garage in Surry Hills. In 2003 Crichton moved to the acclaimed Salt Restaurant in Darlinghurst where he worked under celebrity chef Luke Mangan.

In 2005 Robert was appointed Head Chef at The Tea Room QVB, where he spent four years before taking up the position of Head Chef at Grand Pacific Groups first purpose-built event venue, Sergeants Mess in late 2009. His capability of executing exceptional experiences now sees him managing both kitchens with two independent teams.

Crichton creates a modern menu with simple, honest yet bold flavours for a la carte lunch. Traditions are honoured for afternoon tea with all savoury and sweet items, and scones, made on premise daily.

A keen cyclist, swimmer and runner, Crichton is passionate about fresh, healthy and flavoursome produce, drawing inspiration from the seasons.

I take old classics, then try to give them a modern light feel to suit the Australian climate; Crichton says.

Nathan Darling

Head Chef, Gunners Barracks

Nathan Darling was born and raised in Surrey – United Kingdom. It was there in his home town, that his career as a chef began. First working at Partners and then onto Dorking, the Dining Room, Reigate, South Lodge Hotel and Lower Beeding, Nathan learned the intricacies and skills of classical French techniques giving him the passion and knowledge he needed for a promising career.

In 1999 Nathan made the big decision to move to Sydney, Australia! The idea of celebrating the new millennium and experiencing the excitement and buzz of the 2000 Olympic Games fuelled the adventure. On his arrival he headed to Otto Ristorante, Woolloomooloo where he joined the team as sous chef to James Kidman. Spending four amazing years here, Nathan enhanced his skills more so improving on his Italian techniques.

In 2005 Nathan was presented with an opportunity at Bannisters, Mollymook. Relocating his young family and accepting the position he became the executive chef where he spent two very busy years putting Bannisters back on the map and winning great recitation for the business. A highlight here, was working alongside Rick Stein hosting charity dinners.

The decision was made to move back to Sydney and head up the team as head chef at Balmoral’s Watermark while the restaurant made its transition into the Public Dining Room.

Following this Nathan moved to Sydney’s iconic and long standing restaurant Sails on Lavender Bay. His fresh and inspiring food gave the establishment a new direction, creating an amazing dining experience.

In 2016 Nathan joined Grand Pacific Group accepting the Head Chef position at Gunners’ Barracks. His passion and know-how, has enhanced the a la carte offering and embellished the traditional afternoon tea service. Focusing on using the freshest ingredients possible the menus classic flavours and combinations will appeal to all guests, young and old – whether it be morning tea, brunch, lunch or traditional afternoon tea.

Nathan has also created a world-class event menu for the iconic venue’s plethora of bridal, corporate and private event clientele.

 

Alex Gubbins

Head Chef, Dunbar House

Born and raised on Sydney’s St Ives, Head Chef of Dunbar House Alex Gubbins developed her passion for cooking at a young age. Daughter of a northern English mother and Australia father, Alex’s family travelled around the world frequently throughout her childhood. Alex’s father was a keen cook, always returning from their overseas adventures with new cooking methods and equipment to replicate the culinary experiences they shared on their travels.

At 16 years of age, Alex was given a rare opportunity to complete work experience at the one hatted Wharf Restaurant at the Sydney Theatre Company. This opportunity led to Alex being offered an apprenticeship in the restaurant a year later.

Throughout the apprenticeship, Alex was mentored by acclaimed chefs Tim Pak Poy and Aaron Ross. Alex learnt the Modern Australian style menu section by section, picking up the Asian and European influences from her mentors.

Alex’s apprenticeship coursed through various Sydney hatted restaurants including Quay, Claude’s and then back to Wharf restaurant to finish off her qualification.

In 2007 Alex embarked Italian travelling adventure to broaden her culinary skills and experience. Alex secured a role at 2 time Michelin star restaurant Arnolfo in Tuscany learning the authentic Italian cooking methods and techniques. Alex developed a passion for cooking with refined simple ingredients to create uncomplicated but delicious food.

From Tuscany to Sardinia, Alex continued to work in local Italian restaurants learning how to create and cook the Italian favourites anti-pasto, pasta, pizza and pastry. Throughout her fours years in Italy, Alex also learnt to speak Italian fluently.

After eating her way through Europe, Alex returned back to Sydney to pursue her ambitions closer to home. Alex took up the role of Pastry Chef at the two hatted Italian Seafood restaurant Pilu. During this role, Alex was head hunted to be a guest chef at the Whistler Cornucopia where she partnered with another chef to create a 10 course degustation for the guests each night of the 10 day festival.

In 2013 Alex joined Grand Pacific Group taking up the role of Sous Chef at The Tea Room in the Queen Victoria Building. In 2015 Alex’s career blossomed and she took up the role of Head Chef at Dunbar House.

Alex’s menus draw on European influences and her team focus on creating honest, unpretentious food with bold flavours. Alex’s pastry team bake bread daily and all pasta and petite fours are made by hand in the Dunbar House kitchen.

Alex’s team has always championed the use of local produce and serving food in season, when it is at its best. We know that local farmers and growers offer some incredible produce; whether that is premium quality meats, sustainably caught fish or sparklingly fresh fruit and vegetables – he takes pride in sourcing only the best.

Alex and the team love a creative brief and are committed to working with you to ensure your menu and service style adds value to the life of your event. If you’re looking for something a little quirky or different, his innovative menu ideas aim to engage the audience by way of involving chefs and adding theatre to our service.

Take a peak at our dedicated chef Instagram feed to view all the deliciousness they create every day…..

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