Gala Chefs

2022 - Ferdinand 'Budgie' Montoya

Born in Mindanao in the Southern Philippines and raised in Sydney, Ferdinand 'Budgie' Montoya first began to explore cooking in his mid 20s before moving to London, where he began to pursue his career professionally. Montoya developed his experience within some of London’s finest restaurants including the Michelin-starred Restaurant Story, Dean Street Townhouse, Flat Three, Foley’s and Soho House & Co, before founding his own supper club in 2017 as a way to reconnect with his Filipino roots.

After several supper clubs, pop ups and residencies (including at Soho’s restaurant concept incubator, The Sun & 13 Cantons), he opened his first standalone site, Sarap Filipino BBQ & Lechon in Brixton at the end of January 2020, which was soon converted to a pared down quick service interpretation renamed Sarap BAon as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sarap Filipino Bistro is the latest evolution of Montoya’s Sarap brand, which has since opened at 10 Heddon Street in London’s Mayfair. Sarap – meaning “delicious” in Tagalog – aims to champion Filipino cuisine and showcase the flavours in a modern and progressive light while using local ingredients.


2020 - Scott Hallsworth

Australian restaurateur and author Scott Hallsworth is one of London’s most popular chefs, and is known for his forward-thinking contemporary Asian cuisine. His career has taken him around his native Australia, Canada, Switzerland, France, Dubai and Bahrain. It was at Nobu in London that he learnt how to cook Japanese food at the highest level, and he spent six years at the helm of the Michelin-starred restaurant, even helping open a new branch in Melbourne.

Following this he ventured out on his own to found London’s three Kurobuta restaurants located in Chelsea, Knightsbridge and Marble Arch. He he sold the group in May 2017 and later that year opened his pan-Asian Freak Scene pop-up restaurant concept in Clerkenwell. He followed this with the opening of a permanent Freak Scene restaurant in the West End in 2018. Hallsworth has two publications to his name: The Japanese Foie Gras Project, published in 2007 and Junk Food Japan published in 2017.


2019 - Brett Redman

Australian chef and restaurateur Redman trained at some of Sydney’s top restaurants. He made a name for himself here in the UK when he opened Elliot’s Cafe in Bethnal Green in 2006 and five years later Elliot’s in Borough Market; eight-time Michelin Bib Gourmand winner. Redman is also the man behind Victoria Park Pavilion Cafe and The Richmond in Hackney, which he launched in 2015 with Margaret Crow and recently reinvented as Neptune in Bloomsbury. Redmans’ focus has always been on working with ingredients of the highest quality and provenance. The same commitment to excellence that he brought to his stunning menu for the 2019 Gala Dinner.

2018 - Kurt Zdesar

Acclaimed Sydney born restaurateur Kurt Zdesar launched his career in the UK with the London opening of Nobu in 1997, earning the UK’s first Michelin-Star for Asian cuisine within its first year. Since then Zdesar has launched Ping Pong, one of London's most popular Asian restaurants, and Soho’s Chotto Matte which brings together Japanese and Peruvian culture. Following on these successes, he expanded his operation with the opening of Black Roe in 2016, London's first Poke bar and grill, and later that year with Fucina, a modern organic Italian restaurant located in Marylebone. In January 2017 Zdesar created a new concept, with the opening of Paneterria by Fucina, an artisanal organic delicatessen. Zdesar brought a taste from Chotto Matte, Fucina and Black Roe to his exquisite menu for the 2018 Gala Dinner.​

2017 - Luke Rayment

Luke Rayment began his career in Australia winning a string of awards before bringing his talent to London in 2006. Starting as Head Chef of the 'Top Floor' at Smith's of Smithfield he moved to Ramsey's at the renowned Savoy Grill as Sous-Chef in 2011. Within a year Rayment was Head Chef at Ramsey’s at Claridges. Since then he has taken on executive chef roles at the Mondrian London and world renowned members club Soho House before bringing his expertise to The Ned Hotel in the heart of London's square mile. Rayment has a clear passion for cooking, which he brought to our Gala Dinner 2017 in abundance, drawing on only the finest ingredients to create a menu that look stunning and tasted sublime.

2016 - Neil Perry AM

Neil Arthur Perry is an Australian chef, restaurateur, author, television presenter and consulting chef for Qantas. An expert in Asian cuisine he co-owns and is executive chef of numerous restaurants in Australia and founder of the hugely successful flagship Rockpool brand. In the 2013 Australia Day Honours List Perry was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the General Division for “significant service to the community as a benefactor of and fundraiser for charities and as a chef and restaurateur”. Perry delighted our guests with an extraordinary menu featuring a glorious slow cooked duck and finishing with lamington trifle, a delicious take on an iconic Australian culinary classic.​

2015- Shannon Bennett

Shannon Bennett is best known as the head chef of award-winning Melbourne restaurant Vue de monde, and as a guest judge on MasterChef Australia. Having trained at the Grand Hyatt Melbourne he worked overseas before returning in 2000 to launch Vue de monde, aged 24. In 2003, Bennett was named Gourmet Traveller Magazine's inaugural ‘Best New Talent’ and later was invited to be the first Australian member of the associations Jeunes Restaurateurs D’Europe and Le Grand Tables Du Monde as well a guest chef at New York's Star Chefs Congress 2007. Last year Bennett opened Vietnamese/French establishment Jardin Tan in Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens. Shannon brought his signature approach of classical cuisine with an edge to delight our 2015 guests.Australian chef and restaurateur, Brett Redman delicately designed the 2019 menu adding his personal flare and style. Australia’s oldest family owned winery, Yalumba have once again provided the wines to accompany the meal.​

2014 - Christian Honor

Australian Chef Christian Honor has worked for some of the culinary greats in kitchens across the globe. Here in the UK he worked for Gordon Ramsey at Royal Hospital Road and then for four years at the Dorchester before opening Chriskitch café in Muswell Hill last year. With this move from elite dining to a warmer more informal experience Honor focusses on a stripped-back back menu combining just a few humble, seasonal ingredients. Known for his creative combinations, mixing great flavours and textures, Honor wowed our guests with his menu for the 2014 Gala Dinner which kicked off with a kangaroo carpaccio and finished with snow eggs inspired by Mrs Beeton.

2013 - Greg Malouf

Born in Melbourne to Lebanese parents, Greg Malouf is a recognised authority on Middle Eastern cuisine. Malouf combines a classical culinary training with his family heritage and is considered one of Australia’s most influential chefs. Following his training in Europe Malouf spent over a decade as Executive Chef of Melbourne’s MoMo restaurant, during which time was awarded the Age Good Food Guide’s ‘two hats’ and Dish of the Year 2010. He moved to London in 2012 for a stint as Head Chef of Michelin-starred Petersham Nurseries Cafe. Malouf certainly brought his innovative style to this year’s Gala Dinner menu featuring such delights as Persian onion soup with lamb and a whole poussin with couscous stuffing.

2012 - Brett Graham

Brett Graham began his career aged 15 working in a simple fish restaurant in hometown Newcastle, Australia. Later he worked under Liam Tomlin at Sydney’s highly acclaimed Banc restaurant, where he won the Josephine Pignolet Award. Following this he moved to the UK where he worked at The Square for chef Philip Howard. Further awards followed, including the Young Chef of the Year in 2002. Since 2009, when he first created a menu for our Gala Dinner, Graham has been awarded a second Michelin Star and Restaurant of the Year Award for his Notting Hill restaurant The Ledbury. Highlights from his menu included a stunning ceviche of hand dived scallops, a succulent short rib of beef and molasses sugar tart.

2011 - John Torode

Melbourne born celebrity chef, restaurateur and author John Torode moved to the UK in 1991 and began working for the Conran Group at restaurants Le Pont de la Tour and Quaglino's. After his first TV appearance on ITV's This Morning in 1996, he went to present a revamped MasterChef with Greg Wallace on BBC One in 2005. By 2011, the show had been sold to 25 countries and led to popular spin-offs Junior Masterchef and Celebrity Masterchef. Torode is the former owner of the Luxe and owner of the hugely successful Smith’s of Smithfield. With Australian yabbies and braised beef on the menu our guests were treated to a real taste of home.

2010 - David Thompson

David Thompson is an internationally renowned chef, restaurateur and cookery writer, recognised for his skill and expertise in Thai cuisine. After living and working in Thailand he returned to Sydney in 1992 to open Darley Street Thai and Sailors Thai in 1995. The success of these restaurants got him noticed by hotelier Christina Ong, who invited him to open a restaurant in one of her COMO hotels. Nahm opened in 2001 in The Halkin hotel in London and within six months received a Michelin star, the first Thai restaurant to gain this award. This year he opens a second branch of Nahm at COMO’s Metropolitan in Bangkok. Thompson created an exquisite Thai menu for us this year which was accompanied by Penfolds Bin 51 Riesling 2008.

2009 - Brett Graham

The Ledbury’s Brett Graham was this year’s Gala Dinner guest Australian chef. Graham’s home town of Newcastle, Australia is where he began his career aged 15 working in a simple fish restaurant. Later he worked under Liam Tomlin at Sydney’s highly acclaimed Banc restaurant, where he won the Josephine Pignolet Award. Following this he moved to the UK where he worked at The Square for chef Philip Howard. Further awards followed, including the Young Chef of the Year in 2002. At the age of 26 Graham was awarded a Michelin star within a year of opening The Ledbury in London’s Notting Hill. He is recognised by his peers as one of the most talented chefs to rise up in recent years and with grilled West Australian Rock Lobster and shoulder of Australian lamb on the menu our guests were in for a real treat.

2008 - Skye Gyngell

The 2008 guest Australian chef Skye Gyngell is Head Chef at the award winning Petersham Nurseries in Richmond, Surrey. Her first book A Year In My Kitchen was winner of the Guild of Food Writers Award ‘Best Cookery Book 2007’, and her second book is currently underway. Skye says that for her to cook is the most natural thing in the world and she can’t think of anything more exciting than to welcome in the new season’s ingredients. Skye travels regularly to Australia and brought some flavours from home to the memorable four course dinner that she created for our guests this year. The menu included Australian loin of lamb, supplied by Meat & Livestock Australia. The delicious accompanying wines were from Australia’s famous Wynns Coonawarra Estate.

2007 - Shane Osborn

The superb 2007 Gala Dinner menu was created by London’s leading Australian chef Shane Osborn of Pied-a-Terre. Before that he worked with Gordon Ramsay and Marcus Wareing, opening L'Oranger, and as junior sous chef at the Square. A passion for what he does has resulted in him being awarded two coveted Michelin stars. Aged just 29 Osborn became the very first Australian chef to attain Michelin status. Shane said his menu was inspired by flavours that reminded him of his early days cooking in Perth and included one of his signature dishes Chilled Pumpkin & Ginger Soup, and the main course was Australian beef, generously donated by Meat & Livestock Australia. Hardys premium Australian wines accompanied Shane’s menu.

2006 - Maggie Beer

After a reception ‘Down Under’ guests were treated to a spectacular four course dinner designed by Barossa Valley’s renowned chef and food writer Maggie Beer. Beer is an Australian icon and her Australian TV series, The Cook and The Chef has been broadcast to a worldwide audience. She created a memorable and authentic Australian feast incorporating premium ‘home grown’ Australian ingredients including Wagyu Beef, from Big Jack’s Creek farm in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range in New South Wales, and fresh Marron from Kangaroo Island. Other ingredients included chestnuts from Victoria and Maggie’s signature Barossa verjuice. To accompany this wonderful menu were premium Australian wines from Hardys Wines.


2005 - Scott Webster

In 2005 we were delighted to welcome back Osia’s Scott Webster to design a menu to celebrate the Great Australian Outback. An ambassador for modern Australian cuisine, Webster’s impressive career has taken him from his training in Sydney to some of the world’s top kitchens, including London’s Savoy Hotel and the Grand Hotel, Switzerland. In 1998 he was the coordinating chef for the athletes' village at the Winter Olympic Games in Alberta, Canada. Last year his West End restaurant Osia was shortlisted for three awards in the 2004 Carlton TV Restaurant Critic’s Awards: Best New Restaurant, Best Front of House Team, and Best London Restaurant. With barramundi and yabbie chowder, and roasted Dorrigo lamb rack on the menu, Webster certainly brought some stunning Australian flavours to our 2005 Gala Dinner.

2004 - Scott Webster

Australian chef Scott Webster trained in Sydney and his career has taken him from Sydney to London, Switzerland, Los Angeles and now back to London. Webster’s hallmark is fresh food, simply prepared and he has brought his passion for Australian flavours and Asian ingredients to Osia, his new restaurant and bar in the West End of London. In 2003, Osia was shortlisted for the Hotel & Restaurant Restaurateurs’ Restaurant of the Year 2003 New Restaurant of the Year award. Webster created a stunning four course menu for our inaugural dinner showcasing the very best of Australian produce. The menu included eucalyptus wildfire Australian beef fillet. The beef was courtesy of Meat & Livestock Australia.