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COOKING THE BOOKS - From Inside the Food Industry

COOKING THE BOOKS - From Inside the Food Industry

Cooking the Books Podcast presented by Robbie Bell takes us behind the velvet curtain of the Australian food industry and gives us the opportunity to meet and hear the incredible stories of the people who are behind some of our incredible culinary experiences. This is a hospitality podcast delving into all aspects of the food industry; from restaurants to butchers, chefs to sommeliers, cheese mongers to brewers, and everything in between. Exploring the stories of where their passion for food sprouted from, how they got there, why they do it and where they're headed.
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Olivia Sutton - Owner of Harper and Blohm Cheese Shop

COOKING THE BOOKS - From Inside the Food Industry

#54 Sharon Brindley and Hugh Allen
Sharon Brindley is a Yamatji/Noongar woman living on Bunurong/Boon Wurrung country (the Mornington Peninsula), where she is also the proud owner of Cooee Cafe, the only Indigenous cafe in the region and @jalajalatreats who specialise in native flavoured chocolates.     Hugh Allen is the Executive Chef @vuedemonde and is a big advocate of the true flavours of Australia. He has been helping Sharon with her new venture.
March 28, 2021
#53 Gary and Elika from Jamsheed Winery
This week we spoke to Elika and Gary from Jamsheed winery in Preston, Melbourne. These are two highly respected hospo professionals who have so much knowledge and are so incredibly humble. Jamsheed is a must-visit; it's a real cool spot for a drink and the food is fantastic.       
November 16, 2020
#52 Rae Bonney - Integrated Wellbeing Specialist/Counsellor
This week we spoke to Rae Bonny who is a Integrated Wellbeing Specialist/Counsellor about mental health in the work place. 
November 9, 2020
#51 Banjo - co owner of Good Pair Days
Banjo is an expert in the art of beverage, he has heaps of knowledge which he shares openly. 
November 2, 2020
#50 Adam D'Sylva - Chef/Owner of Coda and Tonka Restaurants
This week on the podcast Robbie spoke to Adam D’Sylva; Chef-Owner of Coda and Tonka in Melbourne. Adam also has many other business ventures including a crockery range and cutlery range, he is a brand ambassador for Luv-a-Duck, Racing Victoria and Lavazza among several other brands. @adamdsylvachef
November 23, 2019
#49 Glenn Flood - Chef-turned-coach
This week Robbie spoke to Glenn Flood; a chef-turned-coach. Glenn started his career as a chef which led him to Jamie Oliver’s restaurant, Fifteen. Which then in turn led him into the world of food media. Glenn spent a few seasons on Masterchef, organising the challenges as well has many other aspects behind the scenes. Through his business as a coach, he now helps chefs become better communicators and better versions of themselves. @glenn_flood
November 16, 2019
#48 Julian Cincotta - Chef/Owner of Butter & Thievery Sydney
This week Robbie spoke to Julian from Butter and Thievery, Sydney. Robbie and Julian worked together at Rockpool Bar and Grill Sydney about 10 years ago. Since then Julian has travelled around the world and worked at some fantastic restaurants, also winning young chef of the year. Now he is building a culture restaurant; serving fried chicken, champagne and selling kicks (trainers).  @julianvcincotta @buttersydney @buttershop @thethievery
November 9, 2019
#47 Danny Parker - Head Chef at Jesmond Dene House, Newcastle
This week Robbie spoke to Danny Parker, Head Chef at Jesmond Dene House in Newcastle, England. Prior to joining the hotel, Danny was Head Chef at Kenny Atkinson's 1 starred-michelin restaurant, House of Tides. Danny is now on his own path building a menu that he loves to cook. Danny is a competitor at heart; he has competed in Great British Menu, Masterchef The Professionals, The Roux Scholarship as well as North East Chef of the Year. He is never afraid to put himself out there.
October 26, 2019
#46 Aaron Starling - Head Chef of Bistro Guillaume, Melbourne
This week Robbie spoke to Aaron Starlin, head chef of Bistro Guillaume here in Melbourne. Aaron has just won back the Chef's Hat for Bistro Guillaume in the 2020 Good Food Guide with his modern approach to the French bistro classics as well as a little hint of his English roots. Aaron talks about his long career with Guillaume, how his role in the kitchen has changed over the years as well as opening up about his anxiety.
October 19, 2019
#45 Nick Grieves - Chef Owner of the Patricia
This week Robbie spoke to an old friend, Nick Grieves from The Patricia Restaurant in Newcastle, England. Robbie met Nick about 20 years ago when Nick was working part-time a restaurant. Nick then went on to study for the building industry, but after the GFC hit and that industry struggled, Nick turned back to the hospitality industry. He fell in love with it but felt he didn't have enough experience and so headed off to London where he worked for Simon Rogan for a short time, and also at The River Cafe. Now he is back home in the North East of England, running his own bistro where he is cooking the food he loves and offering the wine he enjoys drinking. @thepatriciancl
October 12, 2019
#44 Billy White - Chef & Author of Eat, Run, Enjoy
This week Robbie spoke to an old friend, Billy White. Billy has been cooking all around Europe for 15 odd years, cooking in some fantastic restaurants like the world famous St Johns and Matbaren by Mathias Dahlgren. About 8 years ago, Billy started running and he got hooked; now he is running up to 10 times a week and competing several times a year, sometimes up to 100km in one run. Being the ambitious chef that he is, he started writing for a running blog that led on to a book deal where 'Eat, Run, Enjoy' was created. Billy has mixed his two passions - running and cooking - and it is exactly that.... a cookbook for chefs and people who are interested in good wellbeing. If you're interested in a book, get in touch directly with Billy and he will personalise it for you or follow this link @billywhite43  @rosendalstradgard
October 5, 2019
#43 - James Leplaw, Chef-Owner of WoodCutters Kitchen
This week Robbie spoke to James from Woodcutters Kitchen. James has had a very mixed career; he started off as a musician, then his parents advised him to start an accountancy course before heading off to the police to work in the drug squad, then leaving that to working the corporate banking world. After 20 years and with an interest in fermenting bubbling, he decided to start a bakery. After a short time he released that wasn't going to work out, James pivoted and turned the space into a restaurant, the heart of which is the two beautiful wood-burning ovens.
September 21, 2019
#42 Peter Gunn - Chef Owner of Ides Restaurant
This week Robbie sat down with Peter Gunn from Ides Restaurant. Robbie and Pete met about 8 years ago when they both ran pop-up restaurants here in Melbourne. Since then, Pete impressively managed to turn his pop-up into a fixed location and his idea for Ides has gone from strength to strength. Pete has a very modern approach to running his restaurant with a underline of classic cooking running though it. In this podcast you will hear Pete's story and thoughts about many aspects of the industry. @idesmelbourne @petergunn501
September 14, 2019
#41 Matthew Donnelly, Mushroom Forager
For the first episode of season 4 Robbie spoke with Matt Donnelly who has made the journey from chef to restaurant owner, to professional mushroom forager, organic tomato grower and producer of black garlic. Matt travels 1000s of kms every season across Victoria and NSW, collecting some of the best mushrooms available to supply Melbourne’s restaurants. Instagram: @mushroomsanon
September 7, 2019
#40 Ben Shewry, Chef-owner of Attica, Melbourne
This week Robbie sat down with one of this generation's great chef minds; Ben Shewry. With 3 Hats in the Good Food Guide and named 20th Best Restaurant in the world by San Pellegrino, there is no doubt that Attica is one of, if not the best restaurants in Australia right now. But just as impressive as the accolades is his view on current social issues and his unwavering dedication to sustainability throughout his restaurant. From fish to chocolate, staff to suppliers, he is playing the long game. A true crusader. Ben was featured on the first season of Chef's Table on Netflix - if you haven't seen it, it's a must-watch. Instagram: @benshewry, @atticamelbourne
May 11, 2019
#39 Rob Chasteauneuf - Executive Chef of Great Fosters Hotel
This week Robbie spoke to another friend of his, Rob Chasteauneuf, the Executive Chef of Great Fosters; a beautiful hotel and this year’s winner of AA Hotel of the Year. Great Fosters is a boutique-style hotel with a Michelin-starred restaurant as well as a 2 AA Rosette Grill and a Conference and Banqueting Department for weddings and big groups. Rob shares his views on the difference between the city-style restaurant and the more country-style retreat as well as discussing systems and strategies for managing a big operation. Instagram: @robc8619 @greatfosters
May 4, 2019
#38 Chris Eagle and Ted Winter, The Chef and the Trainer
This week Robbie spoke to his good friend Chris and his personal trainer Ted. Chris has managed to lose over 35kg to date with hard work, focus and dedication. He got some bad news about a friend's mother, and Chris said to himself that it was time to make a change. From that time, he's been working to shift the weight. The results have been fantastic; not just in his appearance but in the mental aspect as well. Chris is feeling a lot clearer in his mind and a lot more positive in his outlook of the future. Instagram: @chris_eagle1 @tedwinterpt  
April 27, 2019
#37 Robbie's Cordon Bleu Demo and Small Business Talk
This week's a little different - this is some of the audio taken from a 'Charcuterie Master Class and Small Business' talk that Robbie was asked to do earlier this year. We hope that there are some people out there that will get some benefit from it and maybe it will help someone improve their business.
April 6, 2019
#36 Terry Laybourne - Owner of 21 Hospitality Group
This week Robbie spoke to a good friend and mentor, Terry Laybourne. Terry has been in the hospitality industry for 40 years, owning many restaurants, a pub, hotel and now two restaurants with a retail offering. Terry's restaurant 21 Queen Street was the first restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star in Newcastle, which he held for many years before handing it back to turn the space into a modern-style bistro under the name Cafe 21. Terry has also been awarded MBE for his contribution to the industry. This is hopefully the first of a couple of podcasts Robbie intends to do with Terry.
March 28, 2019
#35 James Madden - Owner Flinders + Co
This week Robbie spoke to James, the owner of Flinders + Co.  They talked all things meat, food industry and green energy. James was in his early 20s when he took over the family business. He talks about the wins, the losses and the lessons on the way. Flinders + Co's focus is to cultivate a better food world; they're not sure how they're going to achieve it, but they're having a good crack at doing it.
March 23, 2019
#34 Tom Milligan - President of the Australian Bocuse D'Or Team
This week Robbie spoke to Tom Milligan, President of the Australian Bocuse D'Or Team and Technical Director of Le Cordon Bleu school in melbourne. Tom has been cooking all raound the world from restaurants to hotels, then on to function centres cooking for 1000s.  Robbie spoke to Tom a few days after Tom had just got back from competing in France at the Bocuse D'Or.
March 16, 2019
#33 Alice Zaslavsky (@aliceinframes) - Creator of Phenomenom
This week Robbie spoke to Alice Zaslavsky about her new program 'Phenomenom'; a program for teachers to introduce vegetables to kids in the classroom through a series of short videos using fun kids and pro-athletes. Being a former school teacher, Alice believes that introducing kids to vegetables at an early age hopefully will help them consumed more. They also discuss her book, Alice's Food A-Z, her segment on ABC News Breakfast and her appearance as a contestant on Masterchef Australia. You can find Alice on across social media @aliceinframes
March 9, 2019
#32 Tom Anglesea - Head Chef at The Laughing Heart
Tom is really starting to get some momentum, being recognised as "One to Watch" in 2019. Tom has worked all round the world in places like London, New York and Sydney for chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller and Neil Perry. Tom and Robbie have been best mates for nearly 20 years and this podcast is two mates having some crack reminiscing about old times and going through Tom's career.
March 2, 2019
#31 - Josh Priestley - Hospitality Manager at Tennis Australia
Josh began his career qualifying as an architect, but after struggling to find work he ended up working in hospitality and fell in love with it. After a few changes he came across his perfect job, combining his love of sport with his career in the hospitality industry. We managed to sit down with Josh immediately after the 2019 Australian Open for a debrief. I hope everyone finds it interesting as we did.
February 23, 2019
#30 Season 2 Mashup and a Happy New Year
This is a look back on season 2 and a quick reminder that we are still here working on season 3, which will be coming mid-Feb.
January 19, 2019
#29 Robbie - End of Season Two
This episode was meant to be the same as normal but unfortunately, due to work, Robbie had to cancel the interview. So this is Robbie saying his thank yous, concluding season two and explaining what's coming up in season three.
November 17, 2018
#28 Charlie Carrington, owner and chef of Atlas Dining and Colours Kitchen.
This week Robbie spoke to Charlie Carrington, owner and chef of Atlas Dining and Colours Kitchen. Atlas is a very unique restaurant as it changes its menu every 4 months. But not just the menu; the whole cuisine. Every few months Charlie flies to a different country, studies the food markets and culture, then returns home and recreates a menu inspired by his trip. Colours Kitchen is Charlie’s casual eatery, inspired by his time in Israel.
November 10, 2018
#27 Pat Bowring AKA Ultra_Chef on instagram
This week Robbie spoke to Pat, also known as Ultra Chef. Like a lot of chefs, Pat was struggling in his relationship because of too much alcohol and too many parties. But after the announcement of his first baby coming Pat changed his life around and turned to running. Now 5 years later he is ranked one of the best in Victoria and best ultra runner. This is Pat’s story.
November 3, 2018
#26 Paola Bacchia - Author of Italian Street Food and Adriatico
This week Robbie spoke to Paola about her new book, Adriatico. They broke down the chapters and discussed some of the fantastic places Paola visited. Robbie also spoke about some of the recipes in the book that resonated with his cooking career and his time in Italy.
October 27, 2018
#25 Sam Canning - Owner of Cannings Free Range Butchers
This week Robbie spoke to Sam Canning From Cannings Free Range Butchers. Sam fell into butchery after getting a job as a clean-up boy; he then got an apprenticeship before heading to London. Fast-forward 20 years and Sam now runs six very successful butcher shops around Melbourne, with more coming next year.
October 20, 2018
#24 Graham - Owner Smithward Wine Bar
This week Robbie spoke with Graham from Smithward wine bar in Collingwood, Melbourne. Graham started his career in radio before following his dream of opening his own neighbourhood wine bar. This episode is a great example that you don't need heaps of experts. just lots of planning, good values and a passion for giving good service.
October 15, 2018
#23 Richard - Owner of Little Brixton Sauces, Marinades and Rubs
Richard is English-Jamaican and is living here in Melbourne. I really wanted to sit down and chat to him, to hopefully inspire someone to start their own business. Richard has no culinary background, has a full-time job in government and his side hustle is Little Brixton, with the hope of it one day being his full-time gig. He shares some of the tricks he has learnt on the journey so far.
October 6, 2018
#22 Banjo Harris Plane - Owner of Bar Liberty, Capitano, The Wine Gallery
Banjo is a man with a plan who knows how to execute it. He is a sommelier by training but no doubt now he is an entrepreneur; part-owner of four thriving businesses, including an online wine/tech business. The great thing about Banjo is that you really feel that he is not driven by money, but more by offering a fantastic product, serviced and experience to his guests.
September 29, 2018
#21 Jeff Claudio – Owner of Rosita’s Deluxe
This week Robbie caught up with long-time friend Jeff Claudio over the phone; this catch-up has been a long time coming, so it’s a genuine eavesdrop into two industry pals chewing the fat and hearing what Jeff’s been up to.
September 22, 2018
#20 Ian Curley - Owner of French Saloon and Kirk's Wine Bar
This week on the podcast I was lucky enough to sit down with hospitality royalty chef Ian Curley, and what a humble gentleman he was. Hospitality runs through Ian’s veins; after 35 years of cooking he is stepping away from the pass to concentrate on other projects still in hospitality, so that he has more time to focus on his family. It was a real honour to listen to Ian talk us through his career, his thoughts, and to listen to where he came from and what he has achieved in and out of the kitchen.
September 15, 2018
#19 John Rivera - Head Chef of Restaurant Lûmé
This week Robbie sat down with the newly-appointed head chef of Restaurant Lûmé and San Pellegrino 2018 Asia Pacific Young Chef of the Year winner, John Rivera. Robbie and John worked together at Rockpool Bar and Grill Melbourne where John first started his professional career, initially on the restaurant floor before moving into the kitchen. John talks about his career so far, gives his thoughts on where the restaurant scene and culture is heading, as well as sharing his experiences in the San Pellegrino competition.
September 8, 2018
#18 Vanessa and Mat - Owners of Rooftop Honey
This week Robbie talks to the guys from Rooftop Honey all about bees and their importance, what a vital part bees play in the ecosystem as well as the amazing honey they produce. We all need to be taking more care of our bees and helping them out where we can, because without these guys we are going hungry to say the least.
September 1, 2018
#17 Matt Wilkinson - Chef/Author/Small Business Owner
This week Robbie talks to Chef Matt Wilkinson about his career. Matt really breaks it down and goes through the ups and downs, and shares some great advice he has picked up on the way. He also brings up some great points for discussion, like what do chefs do after 45 years old? Link to web sites: Everyone's social media:
August 25, 2018
#16 Ivy and Adrian - Owners of The Good Seed Kefir
This week Robbie talks to the guys from The Good Seed Kefir about Gut Health, the importance of gut health and what you can do to improve your gut health. They also laugh about some of the things you do at the beginning of starting a small business.
August 18, 2018
#15 Daniel Wilson - Co-owner of Huxtaburger
This week on Cooking the Books we have Daniel Wilson, former chef/owner of Huxtable and co-owner of Huxtaburger, and he now also runs his own consultancy company. We talk about his time in America, his love of growing in his own garden as well as some tips if you're thinking of opening your own restaurant.
July 8, 2018
#14 Andrew Murch - Head Sommelier at Pt Leo Estate
This week on Cooking the Books we have Andrew Murch, Head Sommelier at Pt Leo Estate on the Mornington Peninsula. Andy started his career as a designer in London but his love for food, wine and socialising took him way from the job he was very good at, and led him to follow his passion. We talk about wine and touch on a few things that may come in handy for you all when buying wine.
July 2, 2018
#13 John Ger - Chef/Owner Tamarind Tree
This week Robbie talks John Ger from 'Tamarind Tree Gourmet Sauces'. John has been cooking for nearly 40 years in Bombay, London and Melbourne. He also owned 3 of his own restaurants before moving on to start his Indian sauce range. They talk pop-ups, food history and, as always, John's journey.
June 23, 2018
Hugh Allen - Currently cooking at Noma
This week Robbie catches up with an old friend, Hugh Allen, who is currently work at Noma in Copenhagen. They first met when Hugh was 15 and doing his apprenticeship at Rockpool Bar & Grill, and Hugh then went on to work at Vue de Monde, Noma Sydney and Noma Mexico. It's a real insight into what it's like to work in one of the world's most forward-thinking, elite restaurants.
June 16, 2018
Olivia Sutton - Owner of Harper and Blohm Cheese Shop
This week Robbie talks cheese with one of Australia's finest cheesemongers. Olivia explains what cheese is and how it came about, which cheeses are a must-try and some tips when purchasing cheese.
June 10, 2018
Rebecca Bell - Co-owner of City Larder
This week on Cooking the Books we have Rebecca Bell, co-owner of City Larder. Rebecca breaks down one route you can take to get a food product to market, as well as talking about her early pursuit to become a sommelier, and being the first Front of House stagière at The Fat Duck Restaurant. If you're thinking about starting a food wholesale business or pursuing a wine career and are not sure how to go about it, this hopefully will be very beneficial.
June 2, 2018
Sam Aisbett - Chef/Owner of Whitegrass Restaurant, Singapore
In this week's Cooking the Books we have one of Australia's finest chefs, Sam Aisbett. Sam won a michelin star and got into the Asian Top 50 Restaurants within the first two and half years of being open. He is a man of integrity, one of the good guys, he is humble and always keeps it real.
May 26, 2018
Micheal James - Co-owner and Head Baker of Tivoli Road Bakery
This week on Cooking the Books we have Micheal James, the co-owner of Tivoli Road Bakery alongside his wife, Pippa James. Micheal is thought of as one of the greatest bakers of his generation. He speaks about how he got started in baking, how it's all about the quality of the products you buy, and the effect that factory farming is having on our health.
May 19, 2018
Julie Jones - Author of Soulful Baker
In this episode Julie talks about how baking brought her relief through some really difficult times, and how she began her Instagram feed which then lead on to a book deal. It's a great story that I feel is just getting started and one that really shows that patience, persistence and hard work do pay off.
May 12, 2018
Shaun Hurrell - Owner/Creator of Barrio Comida
This week on Cooking the Books we have Shaun Hurrell; the creator of Barrio Comida, the mexican pop-up soon to have a fixed residency in Durham, England. Shaun talks about setting up his business through his pop-up, as well as how a fried egg changed his view on cooking, and the internal fight he has picking excellence and consistency.
May 5, 2018
Tom Bouchier - Manager of Peter Bouchier's Malvern store and part of the Australian Butchers Team
In this episode, Tom talks about representing Australia in Ireland as part of the 6 man butchers team, where they picked up awards for their sausages and for being the most hygienic team. We also discuss where he thinks butchery is heading and where ready-to-eat meals fit into that story, as well as customer service and quality of produce.
April 29, 2018
Zac Nicholson, Head Chef Rockpool Bar and Grill Melbourne
First of all I've got to apologise for the audio quality - we recorded this at the City Larder Kitchen where all the noisy fridges and stainless steel did us no favours. Please try and get over that. Lesson learnt, my bad. In this episode Zac explains how Rockpool dry age there beef, he also talks about sustainability and what that means to him and Rockpool, as well as some great tips on managing a big team.
April 21, 2018
Heath Shirtcliffe, Co-Owner of Cavalier Brewing
In this episode, Heath talks about how he and his business partners built there brewery by hand and saved $350k in the process. He also explains how it all started with a walk with the dog to now setting up brew pubs in India.
April 21, 2018
Adam Sanderson, Head Chef at Ten Minutes by Tractor
In this episode, Adam talks about working in some of Europe's top kitchens and breaks them down to explain how they operate so differently. He also talks about moving out of the city down to Mornington, where he is starting to build some great relationships with some outstanding suppliers.
April 21, 2018
Tim Chapallaz, Head Butcher at City Larder
In this very first episode, we meet the head butcher at City Larder where he talks about working in all different sides of the food business, to then return back to one of his big loves; butchery.
April 21, 2018