Growing up Leon spent a lot of time at his grandmothers’ house, she was a wonderful cook and a great influence on him. They would spend hours together in the kitchen and the garden planting, harvesting, and making chutneys, pickles, jams to conserve. As a child, Leon liked the sound of being either a zoologist or a chef, whilst Leon loved both of these professions he just loved cooking more!
Leon’s first experience in a commercial kitchen was at Bella Vista Guest House as a kitchen hand. He remembers being in awe of the culinary spectacle of the chefs in their technique and delivery of produce he’d never been exposed to before, it was magical and he remembers thinking “ I want to be a part of that”.
As a chef Leon is influenced by all sorts of cultures but definitely leans more towards French and Italian cuisine. He loves to explore with a vast amount of flavours, product and techniques to produce truly unique dishes. With his career seeing Leon travel around the Hunter Region he took his first head chef role at The Verandah Restaurant in the Hunter Valley, not only were his skills enhanced but was able to develop managerial skills. In later years Leon’s culinary journey would see him move on to hone his skills in the fine dining arena, where he teamed up with Michael Bolam at Sanctuary Restaurant, Peppers Guest. To further his career Leon made the move to the award winning Poachers Pantry Smokehouse Restaurant.
Always upskilling Leon set upon learning the art of smoked goods with an onsite smoke house attached to the property.
Taking the option to return home to the Hunter Region, Leon joins the team at EMC & Events with the opportunity to broaden his skill set within the industry personalizing his craft to the customers.
Wow! What an awesome experience. Chef Leon was incredible. Arrived well ahead of time, completely organised, attentive to dietary and allergy requirements, personable. Leon regularly checked in with our group of 5 girlfriends together for long weekend away, ensuring all was ok. The food was magnificent. The only issue was that we could not fit in the 5th course of a local cheeses grazing board - we were soooo full! Please assure Leon we enjoyed every morsel the next day, particularly his special 'chutney'. We could rave on about each dish, but the takeaway message is that if you are considering Chef Leon for your next personal catering event, do it! We are so glad we did :)
Jenny CLARKE (NSW)