Ask the Chef
THIS week we get to know Alannah Fox, the head chef at Mantra on Russell in Melbourne.
What do you love about your position and what made you become a chef?
Food to me is home and comfort, so I see the kitchen as the heart of the hotel – for both guests and staff.
Nothing really ‘made me’ become a chef, it was more a natural progression of a passion that I shared with my friends and family.
What goes into designing a hotel/venue menu?
The key is to understand your guests and their needs. You can cook for your ego as much as you like, but that’s not going to make for a successful business if it’s not what your customers want.
What’s the key to catering to large numbers of guests?
Organisation and planning.
How do you describe your signature style of cooking?
Europeaninfluenced modern comfort food.
Most famous person you’ve cooked for?
Hard to choose the most famous, but my favourite famous guest was probably Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. All he wanted six times a day was steamed chicken and potatoes, but he would always poke his head in and say thank you afterwards.
Most interesting story or unusual request you’ve had?
While cooking for a certain US President, we had to prepare and cook all food under the watchful gaze of a military policeman armed with a machine gun. He literally just followed us from fridge to bench to stove, watching every move. It was pretty intimidating!