None of this would work without the chefs already changing the local culinary landscape. They support us as local chef-ambassadors, selecting up-and-coming local sous- and station chefs to work with the visiting chefs, providing sourcing help for the best local products and generally helping make it all happen:
ALEJANDRO CANCINO, EXECUTIVE CHEF, URBANE RESTAURANT
Born in Argentina, Alejandro has a diverse experience in some of the worlds top restaurants. He worked in the world’s fourth ranked restaurant, Mugaritz in Spain, in addition to winning Young Chef of the Year in the U.K. in 2008. During Alejandro’s tenure at Bulgari Hotels in Tokyo they secured a Michelin Star. He since joined Urbane Brisbane as Executive Chef for both Urbane and The Euro.
Alejandro was honoured by Australian Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Awards for Best New Talent, in addition to being named Chef of the Year 2013 by The Good Food Guide: "Fresh to our shores, Argentina-born Alejandro Cancino, a former UK young chef of the year, is certainly new. And talented? The delicacy of his touch is remarkable, and his ability to coax flavour from ingredients impressive, speaking, perhaps, of his experience at the likes of Mugaritz in Spain and Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons in the UK. One to watch."
Born, bred and trained in Western Australia, Ben Williamson's early culinary career spanned work in Perth followed by a stint at Sydney's Stamford Plaza in 2001. Ben was then recruited by Gulf Air, relocating to Bahrain to create and deliver the in-flight menu for first-class passengers. Several years in the role saw him travelling widely, working with renowned chefs around the world. Returning to Perth in 2006, he joined the primo Ultimo Catering Co as Senior SousChef.
2009 saw Ben relocate to Brisbane to work with several of the city’s most highly acclaimed and awarded restaurants. He initially teamed up with 1889 Enoteca, subsequently took the helm at Cha Cha Char and Organic Char (earning top marks in the Courier Mail’s restaurant rankings). In 2011, he joined the cutting edge team at Urbane/The Euro, only to take on the challenge of launching Gerard's Bistro in 2012. Gerard’s is the culmination of everything he knows and loves about food and dining. Nominated for Best New Talent 2014 by the Gourmet Traveller, Ben also ensured that Gerard's picked up Brisbane Times Best New Restaurant in the 2013 as well as Hottest Restaurant QLD in The Australian Hot 50 Restaurant Awards 2013.
Ben has worked locally and overseas in Byron Bay, Brisbane and Copenhagen. He was the Queensland Finalist in the National Appetite for Excellence awards in 2006 and 2008 before heading to Copenhagen to spend two years with Rene Redzepi at the world’s No.1 restaurant Noma. Since 2011 he works as Head Chef at Brisbane’s multi-award winning restaurant Esquire. In 2014, Ben is a finalist for the Good Food Guide’s Young Chef of the Year Award and has been named one of “Australia’s Next Young Chefs to Watch” by Restaurant Australia.
RICHARD OUSBY – HEAD CHEF, STOKEHOUSE Q
Australian rising-star young chef, Richard Ousby, already has several major awards under his belt at 30 years of age. In 2012 he won the prestigious Acqua Panna & S.Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year Award, competing against a high calibre of contestants from across the globe. Prior to this, he was named the 2011 Electrolux Australian Young Chef of the Year.
Richard’s career began in Brisbane, when he was presented with an opportunity to assist with the development of a family owned Italian restaurant. He moved to England in 2007 to work for Michael Roux at the Waterside Inn. In more recent years, Richard worked as sous chef under chef Peter Gilmore at Quay Restaurant in Sydney for 3 years, where he “discovered that an open-minded, innovative chef can draw on multiple cultural sources for one dish”.
In late 2012 Richard made the decision to return to his hometown of Brisbane to join Stokehouse Q. Soon after, Richard earned the title of head chef and immediately took Stokehouse Q to two hat status, celebrating the local produce he grew up amongst.