Hugh Davison is the Executive Chef of The Stables at Stones.
For Hugh, the restaurant is not about the cooking, it's about creating special experiences.
Hugh has had a wide spectrum of food experience since his early days as an apprentice Chef at restaurants like Chilli Lime Too, Olio Sydney and as apprentice Chef de partie on Hayman Island. He then relocated to the UK to work as Commis Chef at the Michelin-starred Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley and was a junior sous chef at Flemings Mayfair. Before moving to the Yarra Valley, Hugh was also Chef de partie at the Michelin-starred, Kitchen w8 in London.
What made you want to become a chef?
From a young age I have always been passionate about food. In high school my very first job was as a kitchen hand at a French cooking school, and with every shift my desire to cook grew.
What influences and inspires you?
So many aspects of what I do keep me cooking, but most of all I just love making people happy by bringing them together for a great meal. The desire to continue learning in a creative, dynamic workplace really motivates me too - and nothing is more exciting than a busy kitchen in the heat of service!
When writing menus I like to use seasonal produce at it's best, and I also read a lot of books by chefs that I look up to - Phillip Howard, Mark Kempson, Magnus Nillson, Rene Redzepi, Andoni Aduriz and Brett Graham to name a few. And of course the weather always plays a big part as I adapt my menus to what I'd like to be eating on a particular day at a particular time.
What makes the Yarra Valley unique?
The Yarra Valley is in a superb location. You get to enjoy the wonderful lifestyle of the country without having to travel too far from Melbourne. The region is also home to some remarkable food producers that supply our kitchen with beef, lamb, salmon, venison, trout, dairy goods, berries and a great range of heirloom vegetables. Oh and of course some of the best wines in Australia.
What can we expect from you?
The restaurant is not all about the cooking for me. My aim each and every service is to create a remarkable experience from the moment our guests enter The Stables to the moment we say goodnight to them. By working closely with our region's farmers and growers we have access to the best local produce often direct from the farm gate, allowing us to create dishes in an innovative and experimental way.