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Executive Chef, The Tea Room QVB & 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.
Executive Chef, Gunners Barracks & Sergeants' Mess
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.