Gus Maher has resided in The Hunter with his family for 22 years, firstly in the wine region and more recently in Newcastle. Gus’ background is tourism marketing, which has refined into food and wine tourism specifically. Gus is a Director of Hunter Valley Events (a 10 year HCA member), General Manager of Newcastle Tourism and more recently was appointed as Chairman in 2018 of Hunter Culinary Association.
Lisa Margan lives in the Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest and most visited wine region. She is the Managing Director of Margan Wines and Restaurant and has pioneered agri-dining and environmental sustainability in the region.
Her background includes commercial cookery, nutrition (Master’s Degree) and teaching (B.Ed). She is a passionate advocate of the Hunter’s food and wine industry, its people and products and has been involved in many regional committees including the Hunter Valley Wine & Tourism Association. Currently, Lisa is Vice Chair of HCA and has been a committee member for seven years and a business member since HCA launched in 2006. She is also a founding board member of Sydney based Women of Hospitality (WOHO).
Garreth Robbs has lived in the Hunter Valley his whole life. He started his career at Peppers Guest House before traveling to London where he staged in various Michelin Star restaurants. Garreth is currently the head chef at Bistro Molines where he works alongside Hunter Culinary Association founding member, Robert Molines. After ten years in the industry, Garreth joined the HCA committee in 2017, as he wanted to give back to the industry and help develop the careers of the next generation.
Clare has been with the Hunter Culinary Association since February 2017. Clare began her career with Spicers Vineyard Estate as Restaurant Supervisor, and quickly progressed into the Restaurant Manager position before soon enough being promoted to General Manager. Clare's previous experience includes working in varying hospitality roles, as well as in sales and marketing, however her passion lies is the hospitality and tourism industries.
Currently on maternity leave from her role as General Manager at Spicers Vineyards Estate, enjoying the pleasures of becoming a first-time mother.
Kyle Whitbourne grew up on the Central Coast before relocating to Newcastle with his wife three years ago. Kyle has worked his way through the ranks of kitchens in hotels, restaurants and cafes to now be the Head Chef of Mason Catering which is part of the one-hatted Restaurant Mason in Newcastle. Kyle has been a member of the Hunter Culinary Association for two years before recently taking on a role as a committee member at the beginning of 2017.
Sam Alexander started his career in the Hunter Valley at Nightingale Wines and the Crowne Plaza. He has then gone on to work in some of the best kitchens around Australia including, Fins at Byron Bay with Steve Snow, The Icebergs Group with Robert Marchetti and Maurice Terzini, Bistrode CBD with Jeremy Strode and Bistro Molines with Robert Molines.
Sam recently returned to the Hunter region to take on the role as head chef of Reserve in Newcastle. He was nominated in 2018 to join as a committee member of the Hunter Culinary Association. Sam hopes to bring his vast array of experience and knowledge to his role with HCA and he looks forward to giving back to the next generation of apprentice chefs and industry in this region.
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