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Meet Kyle Whitbourne.  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 and is doing a stellar job! 

We caught up with Kyle recently to find out about his career as a chef.

1. Where do you work and what is your role? 

I am Head Chef for Restaurant Mason Catering.

2. The best part of your job?

The feeling after service when you stop for a moment and take a breath to reflect. Customers are fed and happy, fridges that you spent the day stocking are now empty, kitchen banter starts up and the team pushes on. There is real satisfaction in that moment for me.

3. What drew you to a career in hospitality?

As a teenager my first job was working as a kitchen hand on weekends at a busy café. I always loved food as a kid; I also studied hospitality and food tech at school, so from a young age I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do for a career. I don’t feel that any one aspect drew me in, it was a combination of things. Getting to try different foods, the structure of a kitchen brigade, the hustle of service, making the kitchen spotless and organised, satisfied customers, comradery and it’s an industry that even if the establishment is quiet there is always something to do.

4. Have you had career mentors?

There has been a few chefs that I have chosen to work with as I feel they are closest to how I like to cook. Throughout my career, I’ve worked in cafes, hotels, pubs and fine dining restaurants. Each job and brigade of chefs have done things differently. Whether that is in a culinary sense or how it is operated and managed. From each position some things have resonated with me and that is now reflected in how I work, cook and operate today. This also applies to negative aspects; I try to make a conscious effort not to adopt certain attitudes or practices, which perhaps impacted me more as a young chef.

5. If we were visiting the Hunter for this first time what would be three things you would recommend to see or do?

- Hunter Valley skydiving

- Bitter & Twisted Beer Festival

- Wander Newcastle and discover the many great eating and drinking spots - there are so many to try!

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Gus Maher