Gary was born and grew up in the UK, in a little place called Hayling Island on the South Coast of England, his Dad was an Engineer, Mum an artist and grandfather a chef and teacher. He attended Highbury College of Technology, where he studied to be a chef, before leaving for London to take up his first full time position. Gary marks the two Michelin starred restaurants that were the most formative in his early career, as The Connaught Hotel under Michel Bourdan where he worked for almost 4 years and Le Souffle at The Hyde Park Intercontinental under Peter Kromberg. They were at the time, two hugely influential chefs in Britain with two opposing styles and ideas, one a bastion of “French haute Cuisine” and the other modern, creative and progressive.
He moved to Australia in 1991 where he worked at Burhnam Beeches, Browns Restaurant and Sofitel Melbourne before venturing into business at the age of 31. He then started Fenix Restaurant & Events which gained a hat in its first year, and which Gary owned for 14 years. Gary opened the Maribyrnong Boathouse in 2007, which he still owns today.
Gary’s television career started years ago with regular appearances on Good Morning Australia with Bert Newton, What’s Cooking and Fresh in the early days, then the first series of Ready Steady Cook, and The Circle on Channel TEN.
His first stand-alone series Good Chef Bad Chef aired on Channel 7 and the Lifestyle Channel for two seasons, and Boys Weekend, which he shot with 3 mates, has been aired in over 110 countries, and still can be seen on SBS in Australia. In terms of a television apprenticeship he believes these shows gave him the confidence and understanding to take his newfound skills further if the opportunity arose.
MasterChef has been by all accounts a game changer for all involved. Ten years in and 12 series later, Gary, Matt & George have become part of our daily viewing, when it comes to food. MasterChef Australia series 2 was the highest rating show on Australian television of all time and the show has inspired a new generation of young cooks to embrace food and cooking. It has remained the topic of conversation around the water cooler at work and changed the conversation for thousands of families around the dinner table.
Gary says he feels blessed in his career, it has allowed him to travel, indulge his passions and meet some extraordinary people. He has by his own admission felt the pain and pressures of failure but enjoyed great success and couldn’t wish for more. He values, honesty, enthusiasm, passion and compassion, and above all else he loves to teach. He is captivated by beautiful produce and has a lasting admiration for the people who grow, rear and craft wonderful things that we can eat and enjoy.