Wel­com AL­BURY


North East Living Magazine - - News -

LIFE has never been busier for Rutherglen chef, Gavin Swal­well. Af­ter three decades in the busi­ness, his lat­est busi­ness ven­ture, Ripe at Buller Wines has proved so pop­u­lar so quickly, that he and part­ner Fiona My­ers have had to fast track their busi­ness plans for the new restau­rant and food des­ti­na­tion. He’s come a long way since en­ter­ing his first com­mer­cial kitchen just shy of 15-years-old with the aim of earn­ing some pocket money, only to find him­self en­joy­ing the in­ten­sity of flip­ping burg­ers dur­ing rush hour.

“The thrill of do­ing a fast ser­vice there ig­nited my pas­sion for cook­ing, fun­nily enough,” he said.

Gavin be­gan his ca­reer in Mel­bourne and his re­sume re­flects his con­sid­er­able ex­pe­ri­ence in the fine din­ing realm, with stints at Burn­ham Beeches, Le Restau­rant at the Re­gent and Del­gany at Port­sea un­der Her­mann Sch­nei­der. His first head chef job was at Sails on the Bay in El­wood, which he ran for three years, be­fore mak­ing the tree change and re­lo­cat­ing north to wine coun­try to take over the kitchen at Tui­leries.

By this time Gavin also had a young fam­ily and he made the de­ci­sion to step away from the un­re­lent­ing de­mands of run­ning a restau­rant to spend more time with his twin daugh­ters. Five years ago the op­por­tu­nity came up to es­tab­lish their own place, and Taste at Rutherglen was born, which quickly evolved to in­cor­po­rate the de­vel­op­ment of Rutherglen Brew­ery. It was a leap of faith for Gavin and his part­ner in life and busi­ness Fiona, who pooled their culi­nary ex­per­tise and busi­ness savvy, to turn what ap­peared to be a jinxed site into a roar­ing suc­cess.

The cou­ple soon bought the free­hold and an­nexed the neigh­bour­ing prop­erty to re­alise Fiona’s vi­sion and in­stall the brew­ery. Gavin said his suc­cess was largely due to the fol­low­ing he’d de­vel­oped in town, sup­ported by a com­mu­nity in­clud­ing the many lo­cal winer­ies, who ap­pre­ci­ated his pas­sion for food and spe­cial flair with seafood. “Taste has been phe­nom­e­nal,” he said. “It was re­ally re­fresh­ing be­cause peo­ple in town knew my style of food.

“We got a fol­low­ing straight away and sub­se­quently the restau­rant has gone from strength to strength.”

The cou­ple said when it came to Taste, and their lat­est ven­ture Ripe at Bullers, it was the restau­rants, or the premises them­selves, which took them in the di­rec­tion they needed to go. Gavin ex­plains that when Taste first opened, their ner­vous en­thu­si­asm led them to throw ev­ery style into the mix, run­ning a break­fast, lunch and din­ner ser­vice which left them ex­hausted. He said they de­cided to “work smarter, not harder” con­cen­trat­ing on cre­at­ing a brew­ery that served “brew food” for lunch and a fine din­ing restau­rant space for din­ner, where he could serve “re­ally amaz­ing food with­out the pre­ten­tion” and where ev­ery­thing in­clud­ing the bread and but­ter was made from scratch.

What has been an ex­cit­ing jour­ney seemed to head down ex­actly the right road, with Taste hav­ing just cel­e­brated its fifth birth­day. When the op­por­tu­nity to add Ripe at Bullers to the busi­ness port­fo­lio came along, the door opened to an ex­cit­ing new ven­ture of­fer­ing seem­ingly end­less pos­si­bil­i­ties. >>

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