Tuki Chef

Chef Ben O’Brien

Ben loves to feed people and indulges in their pleasure for exploring new flavours.

Ben is the former owner and chef of Breakfast and Beer in Daylesford. Renowned for innovative and flavoursome food sourced from seasonal local produce. Ben loves to feed people and indulges in their pleasure.

1. How did you get started in the industry?

I started washing dishes to repay a debt after my business partner scuttled away from an average idea

2. What is your biggest influence for your cooking style?

My biggest influences have always been the enthusiastic people around me, if there is no inspiration around ideas tend to develop slowly and I repeat myself often.

3. How important is creativity to your cooking?

Creativity in cooking and hospitality comes from learned processes and good knowledge of your ingredients, it is important to me as it allows me to communicate an idea when I put something you know well in a slightly different context.

4. Do you get more satisfaction from customer feedback or winning awards?

People’s comfort, enjoyment and constructive criticism is what hospitality is about, it’s important to get how people feel.

5. What do you want to be remembered for?

Being a good dad and my excellent wood chopping skills

6. Do you do all the cooking at home?

Kath and I share it pretty equally now I’m at home more.

7. When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

I was washing dishes with two chefs; one who was studying criminal psychology and one who was barely literate but both ran their kitchen with such talent and knowledge in this chaotic and hectic environment that it impressed me. I wanted to know more.

8. What can a customer expect from eating a Ben O’Brien meal?

Fresh tasty food that hasn’t travelled far and is healthy – sometimes a bit different.

9. What your last meal on earth be?

So many things to try, some people believe that a new taste or experience adds a day to your life.

10. What is the most essential item in your kitchen?

Some kind of heating device and a good sharp knife.

11. What do you cook at home that you would never cook at the restaurant?

Hainanese chicken rice – it’s just not really a Tuki thing and I associate it with relaxing family time.

12. How often do you change your menu?

Weekly is ideal, just a constant but not drastic change -like the seasons suits us best at Tuki.