North East Living Magazine - - Contents -

Be­nalla ex­pat and top chef Shayne Green­man.

Can you tell us about life as a kid in the North East?

I was born in Be­nalla and our fam­ily moved over to the Goul­burn Val­ley, I went to pri­mary school in the lit­tle town of Gir­garre. My fa­ther passed away when I was seven years old. I went to Kyabram High School and later Shep­par­ton North Boys Col­lege.

I worked on week­ends in spring to sum­mer picking straw­ber­ries and when I wasn’t do­ing that I was work­ing as a kitchen hand week­ends at the Bridge Hotel in Echuca Port so that I could move to Mel­bourne be­cause I al­ways wanted to be a chef.

Can you tell us briefly what you do now and where you are?

When I was 17 I got a train ticket to Mel­bourne and went and knocked on the door of the Hy­att on Collins Hotel, ended up with an in­ter­view with the Swiss head chef and that Mon­day I had be­gun my chef ap­pren­tice­ship.

I’m a chef 31 years on and now spe­cialise in all cook­ery and culi­nary arts in gen­eral.

I teach and train ap­pren­tices through to diploma and mas­ters in culi­nary and hos­pi­tal­ity stu­dents, through­out Queens­land.

I live in the beau­ti­ful Gold Coast Hin­ter­land Scenic Rim area at Mount Tam­borine in a moun­tain­top rain­for­est gar­den - I’m a mad keen gar­dener in my spare time.

I also have my own wed­ding cake and cater­ing busi­ness here as Mt Tam­borine is the wed­ding re­cep­tion cap­i­tal of the state.

What did you love about grow­ing up in the North East?

I learnt so much about sur­vival skills; it was never easy grow­ing up be­cause even back then there was a lot of hard­ship with fam­i­lies and farm­ers.

You learn early to deal with life and rise above if you are able, some­times that is not the case, some peo­ple give up and feel like there is no help or sup­port.

I loved grow­ing up in ru­ral Vic­to­ria be­cause I learnt to build with wood, to weld with metal, to do pot­tery and to gar­den and take re­spon­si­bil­ity for horses and a myr­iad of pets, to drive trac­tors and cars from an early age.

I have mem­o­ries of long sum­mers and swim­ming in flow­ing ir­ri­ga­tion chan­nels full of leeches and yab­bies and redfin fish. Yab­by­ing on the chan­nel banks was a way we spent fill­ing sum­mer days un­til we saw ei­ther a tiger snake or a brown snake.

Let us know some of your ca­reer high­lights.

There have been so many, es­pe­cially be­ing asked to rep­re­sent my country in the work skill world ti­tles in Sin­ga­pore and win­ning a gold medal.

In 2012 I was asked to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia again in Ri­mini Italy and be­came the World Cham­pion in The SIGEP Cup and again two years later rep­re­sented Aus­tralia in Mu­nich Ger­many on the Aus­tralian Bak­ing Team.

Teach­ing culi­nary arts in Paris at one of the world’s most fa­mous culi­nary in­sti­tutes has been an­other rather hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence.

Hav­ing my works of ed­i­ble art dis­played in gal­leries over­seas in Europe - this is the most ex­cit­ing thing for me as here in Aus­tralia we don’t re­ally cel­e­brate this, we only cel­e­brate sports stars here in Aus­tralia.

I will look at go­ing back living for a while ei­ther in France or Italy again.

What’s the first thing you do when you re­turn to the North East?

First thing we visit our truly won­der­ful friends who still live and work there, catch­ing up is num­ber one pri­or­ity.

We miss them so much, and the years go by so fast and we are al­ways ex­hausted over good con­ver­sa­tion and good food.

I’ll al­ways or­der King Val­ley beef if it’s on the menu, and good wine, visit Brown Broth­ers Milawa, Milawa Cheese Fac­tory and Milawa Mus­tards, and there’s al­ways an or­der of lovely wines to bring home in the car boot.

Some­times it’s just an un­planned few days in the snow­fields or camp­ing up in the hills.

Af­ter living away from the re­gion what is it about the North East that has al­ways stayed with you?

Good val­ues of com­mu­nity and ru­ral living, ec­cen­tric lo­cal per­son­al­i­ties and lovely day drives through­out the re­gion, frosty foggy morn­ings and roar­ing open wood fires in win­ter.

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