Meet The Speakers

Ben Shewry

Chef/Owner Attica

Born and raised in rural North Taranaki on the rugged west coast of the North Island, New Zealand, Ben believes that food can have a deeper meaning than just another item to consume; it can be evocative, emotional and thought provoking, appealing to all of the senses. Of course the key to all this is that it tastes of the purity of its ingredients and is something delicious to eat.

For inspiration, he often draws from his childhood; from the volcano, rivers, ocean, and native bush that make up Taranaki, as well as his current Australian surroundings.

Tammi Jonas

Ethical Pig Farmer/Butcher

Former vegetarian academic Tammi Jonas is resident meatsmith at Jonai Farms, where she and her family of ethicurean farmers raise pastured rare-breed Large Black pigs and cattle on 69 acres of volcanic paddocks just outside Daylesford, Victoria.

Tammi has been writing about food ethics, culture and politics since 2006 at her blog ‘Tammi Jonas: Food Ethics’, and has been widely published. She is the current Chair of Fair Food Farmers United (FFFU), the producers’ branch of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA), of which she was President from 2014 to 2016. Food sovereignty promotes everybody’s right to access nutritious and culturally-appropriate food grown in ethical and ecologically-sound ways, and their right to democratically determine their own food and agriculture systems.

Alex Poulsen

Distiller Hippocampus

Lex studied Biochemisty & Pharmacology at University before deciding that the lab-life wasn’t for him. He began brewing at Little Creatures in Fremantle where he remained a few years before a chance meeting introduced him to the Founder/Brewmaster of Aegir Bryggeri in Norway where he spent a year. This was where he had his first taste of commercial distilling.

Lex returned to Western Australia and became the Head Brewer at Cheeky Monkey Brewery in Margaret River. In 2014 he was offered the role of Distiller at Hippocampus Distillery.

Lex enjoys Science Fiction, loud music and eating his bodyweight in charcuterie.

Aaron Carr

Chef Vasse Felix

Executive Chef of Vasse Felix Restaurant since 1995, Aaron Carr has seen Margaret River’s culinary scene mature to become one of Australia’s leading gourmet destinations. Under Aaron’s guidance, the Vasse Felix Restaurant has been positioned as Western Australia’s top regional restaurant for many years. It has been consistently featured as one of Gourmet Traveller Magazine’s Top 100 Australian Restaurants, and rated four stars by leading Australian Critic, John Lethlean, who named it “The benchmark winery restaurant in Australia.”

Aaron was awarded “Chef of the Year 2015” by The West Australian Good Food Guide.

Aaron prides himself on a menu that can, “cross the boundaries of cuisine by blending flavours that offer a cutting edge. The art is to create a dish that has simplicity of flavours, thus letting our outstanding produce be the centre of attention.”

Aaron has hosted Vasse Felix events in Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, working with chefs including Massimo Bottura (Osteria Francescana), Peter Gilmore (Quay), Shane Osborn (Pied a Terre / St Betty). He is a regular contributing Chef to some of Australia’s most esteemed culinary events.

Amy Hamilton

Chef/Owner Liberte

Amy Hamilton is the chef-patron of Liberte, Albany’s finest place to dine and a model small bar for publicans around the state. A bold mash-up of French and Vietnamese flavours – sometimes in the same dish, Hamilton’s cooking is delicious, deeply satisfying and a tender love letter to Great Southern produce and producers.

Amy’s cooking career started in 2001, when the former visual art student naively applied for a dishy job at the acclaimed Must Wine Bar. With a new found love of hospitality & her degree on the back burner, Amy commenced an apprenticeship under Russell Blaikie and later worked under Riccardo Momesso in Melbourne. Heading west again, Amy got as far as Albany where she worked as a private chef to the likes of Lady Gaga and Michelin starred chef, Shane Osborn.

In 2014 Amy bought Liberté, a run down Parisian inspired bar inside the historic London Hotel. Her aim was simple; to introduce some good food, a solid bar program & warm welcoming service and in no time at all she had secured Albany a place in many food lover’s destination bucket list.

Cameron Syme

Founder, Great Southern Distilling Company

In 2004 after 14 years of research, Cameron Syme founded the Great Southern Distilling Company which commenced commercial production in 2005. Located on the edge of Princess Royal Harbour, the distillery takes advantage of Albany’s pristine water, clean air, abundance of local produce and cool marine climate.

In May 2008, the first flagship ‘Limeburners’ Single Malt Whisky was released.  Not only was this recorded as an historic event because it was the first Single Malt Whisky ever distilled in Western Australia, but it also picked up a Bronze Medal at the prestigious International Wine & Spirits Competition in London.  After selling out within the month, the distillery knew it was getting things right. Its whisky continues to win awards all over the world.

Cameron is also a Founding Director of the boutique law practice “Latro Lawyers”, a commercial law firm based in Albany with clients around the country, where he pursues provides legal and commercial advice to the Kimberley Land Council (KLC), the peak indigenous representative organisation in the Kimberley.  He also provides pro-bono legal advice to a Perth based peak indigenous charitable organisation working in the interests of indigenous women and children’s safety and counselling, while still maintaining an enviable commercial client list.

Following a family legacy of distilling and a personal passion of pursuing what is right, Cameron is enjoying the challenge of doing what he wants to in life and the continual pursuit of excellence.

Carly De Bartolo

Gelato maker, Chicho

Carly De Bartolo has been working as a gelato maker in Perth for 5 years. She learnt the art of gelato making at a gelato university in Bologna, Italy.

In her previous life Carly was a chemist. This background has contributed to her unique approach to balancing flavours and formulas. Seasonality and locality play a major role in her menu. Each new flavour is trialled and perfected ensuring the ingredients are highlighted and balanced for sweetness.

Small batches made fresh using quality produce is this new wave gelato maker’s credo.





Christie Stewart

Domestic Beekeeper Bidjaronning Honey

Christie Stewart had her first beehives on her family farm in Wongan in 2002. She has been intrigued with beehives ever since.

Since moving to Kardinya in September 2016, her beehives have been prolific and she began selling her excess honey through the Freo Food Facebook page which generated a lot of interest in local honey and beekeeping. She also regularly supplies Bread in Common with honeycomb frames.

Beekeeping for Christie is an extension of observing patterns and seasonal changes in the natural word. She became a Landscape Architect because of the love of landscape that her rural upbringing had instilled in her. To be an apiarist involves acute observation of weather patterns, seasonal changes, including the identification of native species and their flowering patterns, and a general love of the interwoven connections within nature. This fits right in with her love of the land and instinct to grow and nurture.

Dale Tilbrook

Native Produce Providore

Dale Tilbrook is a Wardandi Bibbulmun woman. She has been cooking with and promoting Australian wild edibles for over two decades, providing bushtucker talks and tastings, and educating people on local history and culture. Last year Dale traveled to the Terra Madre Festival in Turin, Italy to cook and present at the festival, pepresenting Slow Food Swan Valley.

She has been on the board of the Bushfoods Association of Western Australia, Australian Native Food Industry Ltd and Swan Valley and Eastern Region Slow Food Convivium.

Elizabeth Brennan

Marketing Manager Moora Citrus

Elizabeth currently manages marketing strategy development and implementation for one of the largest citrus operations in WA, Moora Citrus, and coordinates an agricultural research program in Papua New Guinea for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

She is a Fellow with the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation having won a scholarship from Fairfax Agricultural Media to undertake the intensive 18-month leadership program and has recently resigned from her role as President of Australian Women in Agriculture. In 2014, Elizabeth was awarded the Most Outstanding Emerging Leader Award at the inaugural Women in Australian Agribusiness 100 and this year won the 2016 Young Achiever of the Year for her voluntary and community contributions.

Guy Jeffreys

Chef/Gardener Millbrook Winery

Guy has worked in some of WA’s most awarded restaurants, including Leeuwin Estate and Star Anise, but his desire to work in a restaurant that grows its own vegetables led him to Millbrook Winery in 2010. Guy grows his vegetables from seeds that have been saved from the previous year’s crop, cultivating the true paddock-to-plate philosophy. Guy’s innovative menu changes frequently and is a constant reflection of what is abundant and at its best in the garden, guaranteeing the diner a truly unique experience.

Harry Wykman

Bio-intensive Urban Farmer

Harry’s passion for plants grew out of an early desire to work out a way of living in the world that was not destructive of other people and places. Plants offered a way to capture the abundant energy of the sun to meet the immediate needs of people while creating beautiful regenerative places. This passion became embedded within the design philosophy of permaculture and has led Harry to work in community gardens, commercial and domestic edible garden design, permaculture education and consultation and to growing vegetables for market in New York and North Fremantle.

Jackson Purser

Brewer Indian Ocean Brewing Co.

Jackson Purser, born and raised in Perth W.A is currently the head brewer of The Indian Ocean Brewing Company. Jackson was first hired as an assistant brewer at Mash Brewing Company at the tender age of 18. Coming through the ranks since, he has worked at a number of breweries, including The Monk Brewery and Kitchen, Homestead Brewery and The Old Brewery.

Jackson came into the industry during an interesting time in craft beer’s development, having come on board as the industry really began to thrive. Now with craft beer at an all-time high he hopes to enjoy a long and fruitful career and help develop what is an incredibly fulfilling vocation for thousands of people around the world.

Jane Cornes

Food Writer and Editor

Jane Cornes is an award-winning features writer, food editor and stylist, creative writing teacher, musician and songwriter. For over a decade, Jane was the WA State editor for Gourmet Traveller magazine. She was also Food and Wine Editor for Scoop magazine and inaugural programme director of the Mundaring Truffle Festival. For five years, Jane was restaurant critic for The Subiaco Post newspaper. Today, her Mutual Mastication food segment with Andrea Gibbs is heard on ABC digital radio stations across Australia.

Joel Valvasori

Chef/Owner Lulu La Delizia

Joel Valvasori has become one of Australia’s more notable chefs in Italian cuisine, through his many years of experience working in the top levels of dining in both Melbourne and Perth.

Taking his craft to the next level and rethinking the cuisine of his heritage as part of Australia’s food landscape has seen Joel receive critical acclaim amongst peers and diners.

Every element of his high-end pasta bar, Lulu La Delizia, has Joel’s magic touch. Rolling out artisan pasta as the canvas to share his work, taking influence from the flavours of Friuli Venezia Giulia and the Venetian spice route.

Jude Blereau

Whole and Natural Foods Chef/Teacher

Jude Blereau is a whole and natural foods chef and author, food coach, cooking teacher and real food activist.

Jude has lived a wholefood life for decades, and long before ‘wholefood’ was a buzzword for healthy living. She has been actively involved in the wholefood world for around 25 years and is now the most authoritative, long established wholefood writer in Australia. Jude has a deep interest in affecting change in how we as a society grow, produce, relate to and eat food, and is a passionate advocate for sustainable and ethical farming practices, artisanal skills and knowledge, supporting our local farmers and fisherfolk.

Julie Broad

Manager, Food Rescue

Julie spent her early years on a Biodynamic farm in a wheat belt area outside of Three Springs. It was during this time that she learnt how to cook food for her community, including feeding  the annual shearing team, and  what it meant to sit down and share stories over a meal.

As a single mother juggling three small children she needed a job that could accommodate the demands of being a hands-on Mum.  An organic food home delivery service was her step into what she coined “her first social enterprise”. 

After never steering far from the story of food and community, Julie’s West Perth venture – The Food Store – Deli Café gave her an insight into disadvantaged communities.  As ironic as that may seem in West Perth, on one hand there was a bustling business community and right next door there were some of the most disadvantaged (and isolated) people imaginable. 

This was that ‘light bulb’ moment where Julie decided to put her energies into helping others, particularly those marginalised from society.  After managing Perth City Farm for 2 years, Julie moved to manage Food Rescue where she has shown her environmental passion for sustainability by ensuring all inedible food is digested on-site  and plastics & packaging from supermarkets is recycled.

Kenny McHardy

Chef/Owner Manuka Woodfire Kitchen

Kenny McHardy, head chef and owner of Manuka Woodfire Kitchen hails originally from New Zealand where his cooking career began at the age of 14. Kenny’s career has taken him from the Michelin starred kitchens of Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing in London, to celebrated Two Hatted Walters Wine Bar in Melbourne. Since returning to Perth he has been in charge of kitchens such as The Garden in Leederville, Coco’s Restaurant in South Perth, The Red Herring in East Fremantle and most recently as Executive Chef of Due South in Albany.

Kenny’s passion for working with only the best quality fresh produce and sourcing from farmers and growers in Western Australia is what made up his mind to return to Perth and begin his own venture with wife and restaurant manager Jody. Showcasing the best Western Australia has on offer and working with the seasons, Kenny and Jody work hard on strengthening relationships with local farmers and producers.

Laura Moseley

Hospitality Marketing and PR Consultant

Laura Moseley is WA’s go-to marketing, public relation, and digital strategy consultant for the hospitality industry. Always eating, often moonlighting as a food blogger, and a self-confessed diehard of duck liver parfait and foreign films.

Paul Wyman

Head Brewer, NoWhereMan Brewing Co.
Paul moved from his beloved Brisbane, Queensland six years ago to chase a passion and enrolled in a Post Graduate of Brewing at ECU Joondalup. Six months into the course he showed his potential landing a shared brewing role at the award winning Monk Brewery down in Fremantle. After a few years of sprucing his wares and collecting more medals and awards for the Monk, Colonial Brewing Co. came calling. Not wanting to pass up the opportunity to be in a special area like Margaret River, he took the role of Production Brewer before moving up to the leading role a few years later. More awards and medals came his way, along with growing the brand and putting special beers into some cool cans, revolutionizing the market.
His time in Margaret River increased his passion about looking after local, sharing brewing grains with local farms for feed, spending time with regional producers, chefs, wine markers and attending numerous local events. It has opened his eyes about how lucky he is to be living in WA and wants to keep the education going being part of special events like WADS. After that he will be heading up the soon to be opened new inner city brewery, NoWhereMan Brewing Co. in West Leederville. Where all their beers will be brewed on site and serving from their own bar alongside local food, wine, cider and spirits from WA.

Nic Giblett

Fourth generation farmer/orchardist, Newton Orchards

Nic is third generation (raising the fourth!) on the farm at Newton Orchards in Manjimup, at the heart of WA’s “Genuinely” Southern Forests region.  If you’ve eaten a few apples in WA, there’s a good chance some of them came via the packhouse at Nic’s family owned and operated business, which also markets fruit for several small-medium growers in the same region – supplying direct to WA Coles, Woolies, Aldi & independents.

Before returning to the farm with her partner Paul Good (Newtons’ operations manager) in 2008, Nic studied horticulture, english and viticulture at Curtin, and worked variously as a newspaper journalist & editor, farmers markets manager, and for years in hospitality – from pulling middies through to fine food & wine service.  Nic served on the Southern Forests Food Council board from its infancy through til end 2016 and is currently a director at FruitWest, licensed to commercialise the new ANABP01/Bravo™ apple.

Nic is keen to see Newtons remain true to its long-held traditional business and rural community values in an ever-more challenging food production sector.  She’s particularly passionate on looking to add value to “waste” product, challenging the crazy Australian consumer demand for “perfect produce” and reducing packaging footprints.

Liam O’Neil

Founder & Director, Refresh Juice

Liam spends his days (and nights) juicing in his East Vic Park production kitchen, but life hasn’t always been this glamorous. Born in the US, raised in Oz, Schooled in Indonesia and extensive travelling as a youngster fostered Liam’s nomadic spirit. After qualifying as a chef in his teens he then travelled, working 18 hour days in world class kitchens while touring with musicians such as Sir Paul McCartneyMadonna & Prince just to name a few. So Liam doesn’t just have an excellent palette for juice. He has an excellent palette. His eye for detail and skills as a chef are truly what has allowed him to create nutrient dense, exceptionally flavoured juice under his exciting new project, RE:Fresh.

Max Veenhuyzen

Food, Drink and Travel Writer

Max Veenhuyzen is a Perth-based journalist that has been writing about food, drink and travel for more than a decade. He is the West Australian editor for Australian Gourmet Traveller and Broadsheet Perth and contributes to national and international titles and websites including QANTAS Spirit of Australia, Monocle and SBS. He also writes the weekly Bar Fly column in The Sunday Times. He has a soft spot for Perth and Perth beaches, drinks a lot of rose, and lists Japanese, Chinese and Italian food as his three favourite cuisines.

Mika Inaba

Fresh Food Retailer, Fresh Provisions

Mika Inaba has been employed by Fresh Provisions for over 10 years. Her current role as Assistant Store Manager means she is in constant discussions with suppliers seeking out the finest produce for the stores.  Her intimate food knowledge together with her passion for quality also assists customers with any questions on anything relating to food. Her interests in new products means she is always on the look out for the next big thing.

Owen Catto

Community Educator Regional Men's Health

Owen completed a Bachelor of Business in Agriculture and farmed in partnership with his father for 18 years in Morawa while also operating a farm consultancy business. After selling the family farm in 2005, Owen and his family travelled across Australia for a year whilst home schooling the children.

Owen’s interest is in empowering men to move forward and embrace progressive changes in their family relationships and their wellbeing and health. For the past 9-10 years Owen has worked specifically in men’s holistic wellbeing and health. He presents a range of educational programs and strategies for rural and regional men, their families and communities.

Romy Surtees

Regional Beekeeper Elixir Raw Honey

A family hive in the garden nearly twenty years ago has now grown into a sizeable business.

Romy Surtees and her family were amazed by the taste of the honey. It was delicious. When they investigated why the honey from their back yard tasted so much better than supermarket honey, they realised the reason was that it was not blended or heated.

With this learning in mind, she then set up Elixir Honey to offer people who were too busy or too scared of bees the opportunity to enjoy great honey.

Elixir Raw Honey is painstakingly gravity filtered from one site and endures no heating or blending. The precious liquid is gently tapped into glass jars. Raw honey contains all the live enzymes, vitamins and trace minerals plus a lower glycemic index: 38 compared with 65 for bulk processed honey. As a result of being raw Elixir can vary from runny to set. Set honey being a lovely buttery texture.

Romy now lives in her own jarrah & redgum forest, outside the small town of Denmark in the south west.

Sam Ward

Chef Más

Sam Ward has been an exciting force within the Perth dining scene. As the head chef of El Publico from 2012-2015, he switched Perth onto regional Mexican cuisine, earning a number of accolades, including Gourmet Traveller’s Best New Talent in 2013. The time he spent in Mexico over the years, honing his knowledge and skills, led him to work with some of the greats including Diana Kennedy, Pilar Cabrera and Enrique Olvera. It has anchored his connection to Mexican food and drive to respectfully interpret the cuisine in an Australian context.

After leaving El Publico, Sam spent six months travelling through the Caribbean and Mexico to cook with the local people and learn more about their ingredients and techniques. Returning to Perth in 2016, Sam launched Más ( Más is a series of pop ups that highlight and show off the depth and diversity of regional Mexican food, serving lesser known dishes and ingredients from the southern states of Mexico using age-old recipes and techniques passed down from his mentors and their families.

Sean Symons

Brewer White Lakes Brewing

Sean began brewing for the Hahn Brewing company in Sydney Australia in 1996 before transferring to the Tooheys brewery, part of the Lion Group where he held role of Brewing and Packaging team leader until 2002. He then moved to Vietnam and built the microbrewery Louisiane Brewhouse in Nha Trang, before returning to Australia in 2008 as Process Improvement Leader at the Castlemaine XXXX Brewing in Brisbane Australia, and Brewing Manager of the Swan Brewery in Perth until March 2013. He held the position of Chief Judge of the Royal Perth Beer Show from 2010 until 2015.

Sean is one of the founders of White Lakes Brewing company in Perth where he currently holds the position of Head Brewer, he holds a Bachelor of Environmental Science from the University of Sydney, A Masters in Business Technology from the University of NSW, Australia and a Diploma in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, London, UK.

Scott Bridger

Chef Bib and Tucker

Scott’s love for food began at an early age, watching and helping his mother bake.

After completing a chef’s apprenticeship, Scott spent much of his early career crisscrossing the globe, working across London, Japan, the Middle East, around Europe, the Caribbean and more. After returning to Perth, Scott became part of the opening team at Rockpool Bar & Grill as Sous Chef, and was later approached with an offer to be part of an exciting new project, helmed by elite sportsmen and foodies, Eamon Sullivan, Jamie Dwyer and Steve Hooker. Following the success of Bib & Tucker, the same owners embarked on their next joint venture, May Street Larder, opening in early 2015 in East Fremantle.

Across both venues Scott’s menus offer a consistent food philosophy – keep it simple and create fun and flavoursome food with no compromise on quality or presentation.

Sophie Zalokar

Chef Foragers Field Kitchen and Cooking School

Sophie Zalokar was born and raised in the Barossa Valley in South Australia and trained as a chef under Australian food icon Maggie Beer. In 2011, Sophie and her husband Chris opened Foragers Field Kitchen & Cooking School in Pemberton, offering residential cooking school and dinner events throughout the year, promoting the culinary heritage and produce grown in the Southern Forests.

Sophie’s work as a chef, food writer, teacher and produce judge is underpinned by her commitment to nurturing real food created with a deep respect for the land, primary producers, local food heritage and culinary tradition.

Sue Lewis

Sue Lewis Chocolatier

Sue is a qualified chef with over 20 years experience working in London restaurants who learnt the art of chocolate making under direction of master chocolatier, Paul A. Young. Sue moved to Perth in 2011 after falling in love with the climate and people, she then set about establishing her own business in her adopted city.