Executive Chef, Emile Avramides

Emile_Avramides_Mantons_Creek_Winery_Tommy_CollinsFrom a young age, chef Emile was immersed into the hospitality realm. His first taste of the industry was watching his grandmother make traditional Baclava for the family’s business, Santos Coffee in their Riverwood factory in NSW. These early years also saw him learning the ropes in his father’s award winning restaurant, Emads.

With a relocation to Melbourne, Emile then progressed onto the family’s new restaurant in Elwood. Originally with a lean towards the service aspect of the trade, he then ignited his passion for food & ingredients and merged into the cooking side. It was here that he completed his apprenticeship under the respected Michael Wood (formerly of Le Gavroche). This technical based training stood to be the fundamental core to his future career.

A move overseas to the UK in 2006, saw Emile first work at Fishers in Edinburgh, Scotland where he learned the complexities of preparing & cooking fish. With a yearning hunger and eager to learn more, London was calling. The acclaimed Tom Aiken’s was his first experience at a Michelin star restaurant and by all accounts, was certainly an eye opener! However, it wasn’t until his lengthy stint with revered chef, Richard Turner (formerly of ‘Canteen’ under Marco Pierre White) at The Albion that he ultimately ‘cut his teeth’. This also triggered his passion for locally sourced produce, which would subsequently become a core facet for future endeavors. Describing The Albion as ‘a meat feast’, Emile recounts his experiences of rotisseries in the kitchen and whole pigs slow roasting. Sustainability with regards to British produce, was engrained within the foundations of Albion. Turner only sourced the best of Britain such as; ‘Dexter’ & ‘Whitehorn’ beef and ‘Gloucestershire Old Spot’ pork, to use within his bistro styled menu. This drive to use produce that was around them, rather than importing from overseas, definitely struck a cord with Emile and cemented an important area of his career.

With a chef de partie position in play, it was onto Gordon Ramsay’s Maze , where he was mentored by the highly commended, Jason Atherton. During his time here, the restaurant was striving for their 2nd Michelin star and Atherton had in fact been awarded 2 courses at the penultimate ‘Great British Menu’ 2008 – ‘Chef’s Banquet’.

Continuing his love affair with all things sourced locally, once back in Melbourne, chef Emile joined Andrew McConnell’s team at Cutler & Co , taking on the role as Senior Sous. However, with Ramsay’s Maze restaurant opening at Crown Casino the following year, the eager chef was keen to continue his work with the brand. Successfully implementing a new meat section at the Melbourne eatery, Emile again headed up the section as Senior Sous with a strong brigade of 50. Working alongside acclaimed New Zealand chef, Josh Emett, saw a continuing pattern with locally sourced produce and a vigorous attempt to reduce their footprint.

With a drive to take on an integral head chef’s position, this saw a move to the hatted restaurant  The Point , Albert Park. Gaining from his London experiences, a pinnacle point in his time in charge here, saw Emile successfully implement a controlled dry aging room at the group’s sister eatery, The Grosvenor Hotel . Sustainability was a strong factor in chef Emile’s mind during his time here and he put into play, many of the fundamental aspects in which he had learned from his time under key figures such as, Atherton, Ramsay & Turner. Emile strived to use local & Australian produce – opting for meats & cheese from our well stocked states, rather than importing more renowned international brands. His direct approach here to incorporate a sustainable ethos for the company, was in some respects, an integral element that has certainly shaped Emile’s professional stance as a respected name within the Melbourne food industry.

Tommy Collins recently welcomed Emile as Executive Chef of the group, where he will cover all bases from cafe retail to catering. Emile is excited to evolve the Tommy Collins group into a fully sustainable brand for the future and to continue his lengthy relationship with locally sourced produce. Sustainability being one of the key factors in which the determined chef believes will ultimately shape the future of food within Australia.