Homegrown Chef Casey Harbridge finds the right creative fit at Albury eatery Mr Benedict

FOOD SCENE: Award-winning Albury eatery Mr Benedict chef Casey Harbridge will complete his apprenticeship on Thursday. He loves cooking with seasonal and regional produce grown on the Border. Pictures: JAMES WILTSHIRE

FOOD SCENE: Award-winning Albury eatery Mr Benedict chef Casey Harbridge will complete his apprenticeship on Thursday. He loves cooking with seasonal and regional produce grown on the Border. Pictures: JAMES WILTSHIRE

WHEN chef Casey Harbridge had to rule out his dream job as a pilot he simply chartered a new course.

Now part of the award-winning team at Albury eatery Mr Benedict, Harbridge will complete his apprenticeship on Thursday.

“I always wanted to be a pilot in the military but I couldn’t do it because I’m deaf in one ear,” he said.

Surrounded by family and friends employed in the hospitality industry, Harbridge worked at The Commercial Club and The Bended Elbow in Albury before a stint at Duchess of Spotswood in Melbourne.

He returned to the Border five years ago when his mum Melissa Pellas opened Mr Benedict, which was named Best Cafe Restaurant and Best Breakfast Restaurant in the southern region of NSW Savour Australia Restaurant and Catering Awards. 

“It’s rewarding and it’s a challenge,” he said.

“When you have a good day, you’re on top of the world. It’s very creative – it’s one job where you present yourself in the product. If the food’s looking good it reflects well on the kitchen.”

In his spare time, Harbridge enjoyed golf with his grandmother Carol Drummond and cooking for girlfriend Sam, also a barista at Mr Benedict.

“I’m thankful to Mum for the opportunity to work for her.”

What's your favourite dish?

Lamb rogan josh in the slow cooker.

What are the staples in your pantry?

Cumin, ground coriander, garam marsala, lemons and beef from the butcher. Rump is versatile and cost effective.

What is your recipe standby?

Chicken and mushroom risotto.

What's the biggest product discovery you have made in cooking?

Lemon myrtle rub for steak and roasts.

What's your secret vice?

Gaming

What is your most unforgettable meal and where?

A seafood degustation at Asiana in Albert Park, Melbourne.

What's your favourite cooking utensil?

A large, heavy-based pot for poaching eggs.

What's in your kitchen toolkit?

Kiwi knife, whisk, pastry brush, tweezers, tongs and steel are the things I use on a day-to-day basis.

What did you have for dinner last night?

Baked chicken with oregano and lemon rub and roasted Italian salad (green beans, olives, red onion and potatoes).

What are you drinking?

Lazy Yak Australian Pale Ale.

Details:

Mr Benedict,

664 Dean Street, Albury

Phone: (02) 6041 1840

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