Behind the Scenes with Head Chef Jamie Hembrow
We are continuing our peek behind the scenes at Millbrook Winery, this time popping into the bustling kitchen. Jamie Hembrow joined Millbrook in 2018, working alongside Guy Jeffreys as Sous Chef, before taking on the lead role as Head Chef in 2020. For many, it is a dream to work at your favourite restaurant; Jamie has proved with hard work, ingenuity and creativity that this dream can come true.
Jamie, as Head Chef, what does a typical day look like?
I open the kitchen, have coffee, check lunch numbers, speak with our Head Gardener Elliott on the day's vegetables, speak with external suppliers (fishmonger, butcher), review the day's menus, help the kitchen team prep, match wines with new dishes, serve customers, clean down the kitchen for end of day, check produce levels, place orders, and speak with Elliott once more about produce for the rest of the week.
What makes Millbrook a special place to work at?
Being able to source produce from the property and cook with it seasonally. I let the garden inspire me to create new dishes; there is nowhere in Australia that is doing what we do.
Special memory or milestone over the years?
The day Guy asked me if I wanted to work at Millbrook, it was a no-brainer! To be working at my favourite restaurant was a dream come true. Additionally, that morning we realised Millbrook had been awarded 2 Chef Hats by the Australian Good Food Guide.
Favourite part of your day?
Once lunch service is in full swing, the restaurant is full of customers and I see them enjoy the food we have created. A lot of thought goes into the dishes, from planning what we will grow in coming seasons through to the finer details of how we garnish each dish and make full use of everything from the garden. It all pays off when you see happy customers and clean plates.
Favourite wine and food pairing?
There have been some really good ones over the years. Of course, you have the fennel and Estate Viognier, a classic match; the Limited Release Chardonnay with estate-grown olive oil, hollandaise tartare sauce and local marron, a personal favourite; and the Regional Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre and beetroot with the fruity, earthy flavours in the beetroot highlighting the plum and cherry in the GSM.
Where do you see yourself in future years?
I hope to be cooking great food using the exceptional produce grown here, as well as from from quality local producers, for years to come.