Published: 06 December 2016
Author: Stringer Clark

What a local lawyer can learn from a local world-class chef

Watching the sunrise over Mt. Elephant and the vast farmland was a wonderful way to start the day. As I made my way to the Colac Otway Shire ANZ Business Breakfast and soaked in the beauty of the scenery on my drive, with very little traffic on the road I felt grateful to practice law in this beautiful part of country Victoria.

The morning began with the newly appointed Mayor, Cr Chris Potter, announcing that Australian Lamb Company and associated Kiln Driers are undergoing further expansions which will also provide more employment in the Colac Otway Shire.

Dan Hunter of Brae then spoke about his personal journey from working as a kitchen hand to bluffing his way into kitchens as a cook, to finally committing to an apprenticeship in cooking at the age of 24. This led to an incredibly successful global career which included working as a Head Chef at a restaurant that has consistently been listed in the World’s top ten restaurants called Mugaritz in Spain and ultimately led to his own accolades in Australia as Head Chef at the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld.

Did you know one of the world’s best restaurants is in the Colac Otway Shire?

Dan now runs his own exciting restaurant and accommodation in Birregurra called Brae, which is in its third year of operation and has gone to number 65 on the World’s Best Restaurant list and 2nd on Victoria’s Delicious 100 Restaurants 2016.

Dan spoke about his attraction to the area and its local produce, where he can source such an array of incredible food, from locally farmed shitake mushrooms, goat and sheep’s milk, and organic berries in addition to everything he grows organically in his garden at Brae.

The messages I took home from his entertaining life story was to:

  • take opportunities as they present themselves
  • do something you love whereby you can create an income from it
  • be the best version of yourself
  • provide exceptional service to every customer.

Local business supporting one another

It was terrific to see some familiar faces and to meet some new faces at this business breakfast, and to support one another in our efforts.

Although we learnt that we will need to make very advanced reservations to enjoy a dining experience at Brae, competing with international tourists for a table at this world class local restaurant, I’m sure many of us left with it added to our bucket list.

The Colac Otway Shire ANZ Business Breakfast is held annually in December and was a sell out event this year, with local Chef Duncan Green from Fusion in Colac providing a delicious breakfast for attendees.


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