FOR Riverina-raised chef Andy Milton, eating out should be an escape.
The co-owner and executive chef at 2640 Restaurant and Bar, which opened late last year, said he wanted people to feel at home - but away too - in his relaxed casual dining restaurant space.
"The aim is to get people to feel like they're on holidays," he said.
Having spent most of his hospitality career on the Border (excluding two years in South East Queensland), Milton said 2640 was his first business.
After finishing his studies at Billabong High School, Milton began an apprenticeship at The Commercial Club Albury before he was made head chef at the SS&A Golf Club, aged 23.
Most recently he worked at La Tierra, which offered Mediterranean cuisine inspired by local produce.
"2640 is my first venture in actually owning the business," Milton said.
Wine specialist Alex Berry has done the wine list while 2640 also has beer on tap now after a major fitout.
MEET MORE HOMEGROWN CHEFS:
What is your favourite dish?
Lamb backstrap, char-grilled and marinated in rosemary salt, mixed with lettuce and goat's feta salad with balsamic vinegar
What is your favourite season?
Winter. I love slow-roasted and braised meats; we're looking forward to introducing these into the menu in winter.
What are the staples in your pantry?
Truffle and Moroccan spices. I love the smell of truffle and Moroccan spices add an explosion of flavour to season any dish; they are a personal favourite.
What is your earliest cooking memory?
My Year 12 hospitality teacher from Billabong High School was one of the biggest influences on me. Now they're one of my biggest customers!
Which ingredients do you grow yourself?
I don't grow any produce but I only use fresh, local produce, changing with the seasons.
Name six people you'd invite to a dinner party.
My kitchen team; getting together for a dinner party is something that would never happen!
What is a favourite foodie ritual?
Experiencing nice tapas or seafood.
What did you have for dinner last night?
Mitta Valley Beef porterhouse here in the restaurant.
What are you drinking at the moment?
Beechworth Pale Ale
2640 Restaurant and Bar,
550 Kiewa Street, Albury
Phone: (02) 6041 2640
Opens Monday to Friday, 7am to late; Saturday 8am to 12am; Sunday 8am to 10pm