Place of employment
Balgownie Estate Vineyard Resort and Spa
Grant has been the Executive Chef at Balgownie Estate since October 2018 after moving into the role from a 12-year stint within the RACV City Club as Executive Sous Chef.
Moving to the Yarra Valley, Grant has delivered with some fantastically creative menus both in the Leisure space, and across the Conference and Wedding portfolio. This has led to him being nominated and chosen as a Finalist in the TAA Chef of the Year competition for 2019.
Utilising what is all about the Yarra Valley and focusing on local produce has been the hallmark of the menus within Balgownie since Grant took the reins.
Grant’s high versatility, enthusiasm and knowledge, as well as his vast national and international experience has driven the level of customer satisfaction at Balgownie beyond all expectations. With an eye for detail and a passion for delivering outstanding and balanced menus, events and dinners, Balgownie Estate has thrived under his guidance.
At age 18, Grant’s culinary career began, spending his training years within Melbourne based establishments as an apprentice with a thirst for knowledge. From these restaurants Grant’s passion for quality and dedication to his chosen field began to mature.
Qualified, Grant was promoted to a Chef de Partie role within the renowned “Enzo” restaurant, situated in Melbourne’s outer eastern suburbs. This fine dining restaurant with its modern and traditional Italian cuisine, comfortable surrounds and high level of service all made for incomparable customer satisfaction.
Under the guidance of owner/chef James Mavros, one of Melbourne’s leading chefs at the time, Grant was inspired to achieve high standards, later to guide the kitchen team for 4 years as Head Chef.
After his time at Enzo, Grant’s experience further developed through his international travels over to London, gaining a position as Sous Chef within London’s prominent 4-star restaurant in Knightsbridge, “Isola”, owned by Oliver Peyton, under the guidance and direction of Head Chef, Mark Broadbent, a leader in Industry across the London culinary landscape.
It’s here that Grant acquired further aspects of high-end fine dining and developed his leadership qualities even further, and a year under Broadbent better nurtured his ‘passion’ for cooking.
At the completion of his overseas stopover and with the evolution of culinary standards back in Melbourne, Grant returned to Melbourne and accepted a Head Chef position at Melbourne’s Kabana Brothers Restaurant in Hawthorn, again under the guidance of his prior mentor Mavros. The two of them made this the ‘go to’ place for Greek Cuisine in both ala carte and function surroundings.
With his newly acquired skills in leadership and art in creating fine cuisine Grant thrived on the opportunity for self-development.
Grant’s total commitment to excellence and quality saw him as an up and coming chef, keen to put himself on the culinary scene in Melbourne. Seeing the hotel market as something he hadn’t entered after a decade in small restaurants, being able to maintain and upgrade the renowned food quality of the RACV City Club’s Members Dining Room was a challenge he thrived in as he took on the Chef de Cuisine role, inspiring and training one of the best kitchen teams in Melbourne to design and produce a menu that would deliver a dining experience to remember for the members.
After 2 years and some amazing high end events, a step up from the day to day hands on role of running a single kitchen was moving into the role of Executive Sous Chef – Conference & Events. Banqueting, again, something he hadn’t touched on to a scale of this made this a role that Grant very much looked forward to.
Developing standards and procedures to ensure consistency throughout the operation was challenging and exciting at the same time, and showing the clients, and his team that 5 star food wasn’t confined to restaurants, and that functions and events could also be done in this style of food was a great examination for his talents as a leader. The RACV C&E team became known for a very high standard of events with some amazing ‘out of the box’ style of presentation, as well as cornering the Melbourne Wedding market.
After 2 years, it was a move back to the a la carte side of the operation as Executive Sous Chef – Restaurant Operations. With a major focus on delivering food based events, wine dinners and interactive experiences for the members throughout both the Dining Room and the Bistro this was right in his alley after so many years of establishing his brand through consistency and drive.
A key part of Grant’s training and development stemmed from the International training he received by RACV under Executive Chef Mark Normoyle. Travelling to Dubai where he worked in the kitchens at the “Madinat Jumeirah” one of Dubai’s most prestigious and luxury resorts & hotels with over 40 F&B establishments, also travelling to Shanghai “Intercontinental Expo”, and Hong Kong “Mandarin Oriental”.
Working under Normoyle over the past 8 years has given him a vast array of experience and knowledge of the finer details relating to the running of a venue that has an annual revenue of $25mil in Food & Beverage throughout the operation. The working relationship he developed with Normoyle led the RACV kitchen team to be a go to destination for apprentices looking to develop their skills.
Paramount to the success of an operation this size is planning and forecasting when it comes to budgets and the control of labour and food costs. This was showcased when Grant led a team of chefs in catering for the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) at the Royal Melbourne Show in 2017 & 2018, with a turnover of $420k in 11 days across 4 outlets. Completing this task off site was a tremendous achievement and a major tick for Grant in his self-development.
A passion for this Industry, he has a thirst to better himself, and this brought the decision to move forward from the RACV and develop further as an Executive Chef at Balgownie Estate.
Grant has an outstanding ability to allow the teams under his guidance to flourish and grow, and leading apprentices and young chefs on their journey has been a key to Grant continuing his growth as a leader.