It was in 2014 that chef Telina Menzies relocated to Melbourne from their hometown of Perth to take up the role as Executive Head Chef for The Publican Group Australia, overseeing its portfolio of 12 businesses across Melbourne and Western Australia and moved to Australian Venue Co. in late 2017.
Telina now oversee chefs across 28 locations, including 15 Melbourne pubs, 10 venues in Western Australia and three in regional New South Wales.
Telina also manages pop-ups and any national activation's, including the new and wonderfully local-produce-driven Yarra Botanica on the Yarra River.
As a chef who is highly regarded for their strong commitment to provenance-driven cooking, we’re thrilled to feature Telina as this month’s Mount Zero Hero.
Mount Zero’s ethos aligns strongly with the culture Telina is nurturing at Australian Venue Co. and we love working with them and their team.
“I discovered Mount Zero when I moved to Melbourne eight years ago and loved using the olive oils across the group,” Telina says.
“I’m really proud to use Mount Zero products,” they add, “Mount Zero is an amazing business who is driven by sustainability. The way that Richard [our GM Richard Seymour] and the team pay such respect to the people and owners of the land on the Wimmera [where we harvest Mount Zero Pink Lake Salt]…it’s such a beautiful and important story.”
Telina uses our olives and olive oils mostly across the venues they manage. The Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a favourite: “We use the Arbequina across our pubs and it’s my go-to everyday for dressings, over pasta, I could almost drink the stuff, it’s so good,” they say.
They recently found our newly released Mount Zero Yuzu Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil and “I bought some to try and went through it in about a week. I’ve loved the mandarin oil for a long time, too. I’ll have it on a dish or two in the venues all the time, I love it on ice cream!”
Another oil Telina loves? Our Mount Zero Smoked Extra Virgin Olive Oil – using smoked Paperbark strips (Malaleuca).
Telina uses the oil on emu and kangaroo dumplings, and it also features in the recipe for smoked barramundi tartare with Smoked Extra Virgin Olive Oil, slow-cooked yolks and bay crisps that they have shared with us today.
“It’s a smoked barramundi tartare and the smoked oil adds a ‘beefiness’ to the dish, it gives it loads of depth,” they say.
Telina isn’t expecting you to smoke your own barramundi and has tips on where to get local barramundi – already smoked – to utilise in the recipe.
It’s a busy time for Telina and their team and we love being a part of it!
the fast five
1. If you weren't a chef, what would you be doing?
"I would be working with at-risk youth, helping, supporting training them for their futures."
2. Last place you dined out?
"Rockpool for the Greenstone and Gold event for Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. Chef Christine Manfield and Minyunbal woman, food activist and educator Arabella Douglas created First Nations food matches. It was amazing!"
3. What's your favourite Melbourne restaurant?
4. Favourite season of the year for produce?
"Definitely Autumn; my partner and I love to go pine mushrooming. I love persimmons, Jerusalem artichokes are coming soon, then chestnuts. I really love this time of year."
5. Do you have any special projects scheduled for 2022 or beyond?
"I do. I’m working on a couple of really really big projects, and I can’t talk about them yet. One is in coastal in Victoria and one is suburban, bringing an old Melbourne pub back to life, so watch this space."
By Hilary McNevin