Enst Stuhler

Pioneer Year


Once upon a time…….   My earliest memories involve food…. Our farm was a busy one – all the family from their first steps were expected to be productive and contribute to the growing, harvesting and preparation of food. Only rations of sugar and salt were purchased, EVERYTHING ELSE was organically produced on our farm. In post-war Austria, with a family of 12, food was celebrated and respected… And so started my fascinating adventure with food. After completing two apprenticeships as a cook and pastry cook I worked as a chef de partie, function chef, pastry cook and executive chef in a number of restaurants and hotels, I joined an international shipping line as second chef – I will never forget my first time at sea. I was seasick for almost a year! 1965 – I then joined a passenger liner. The prior chef had an argument with the purser about the amount of eggs he should order for the duration of the voyage – he miscalculated and for the last week of the journey the passengers had to have spaghetti for breakfast every day. They sacked him. Here I am studying English on the ship writing letters to the lovely ladies in different ports. We sailed to 83 countries – I liked Canada but preferred Australia and when I met my wife Gail, it made the decision easy. It was a good choice, we have been happily married since 1971.

1972 as Executive Chef at Leonda – I catered for royalty as well as government heads. During that time, became a member of the Catering Institute of Australia and a foundation member of the Australasian Guild of Professional Cooks.

1980 – Vice Captain of the Olympic Culinary Team winning 5 Olympic Gold Medals – competing against 7000 chefs worldwide – what a tremendous exchange of ideas – the team came second by only 3 points. Over the years I have been very honoured in being awarded 24 Medals for competitions that I have entered. 1982 – Gold Plate Award – Gail and I started the Melbourne Paternoster and was awarded the Best BYO in Australia. I became a member of Les Toques Blanche and La Chaine des Rotisseurs. 1984 – Black Hat Award – at the time only 5 chefs in Australia achieved the award for outstanding services to the industry.

1986 – We tried to make life easier and I saw an opportunity for selling quality cakes. We purchased a 1 man run business and after 1 year we employed 12 pastry cooks 1991 – First prize Ethnic Business of the Year Award for Australia 1994 – Gold Medal for Innovation – Koala Bear fruit cake container 1997 – Supplier of the Year – Qantas Flight Catering

Present time – I’ve been blessed – what an exciting adventure I have had so far – I am sure there is more excitement to come, definitely worth the extra wrinkles and grey hair