An entertaining collection of stories that brings us an affectionate insight into a chef's craft. Together, our finest cooks, chefs, bakers, and growers of fine food, take joy in sharing their individual journey for their love of cooking or growing healthy sustainable food, that is fundamental to support our health and wellness.
Bonus Chef Interview with Mark Normoyle
Mark, you have been at the forefront of culinary trends. You also speak about Motivation and The Life of an Executive Chef. What was your life like in that role?
Being a chef of any level can be very rewarding. On reflection, my life as an Executive Chef has been an incredible journey. Travelling Australia and the world, meeting and working with some amazingly passionate people. Training and seeing my team grow is something that still gives me great pleasure. For me, I like to see anyone who is keen to improve their skills given every opportunity to make it to the next level. That includes kitchen hands, front of house staff, food suppliers as they are all an important part of the team.
Why do chefs wear their armor through their apron?
The old school cliché was “Tough it up.”I have seen chefs on all levels work very hard and often neglect their physical and mental health and also their family and social life in pursuit of their career.
By sharing my experience and tough times with my peers, hopefully, it may assist someone to take the first step into recovery or assist to look for signs that a colleague friend or family is not ok.
Working hard is a great asset, and the kitchen will always require hard work with relentless time pressure, but at the end of the day its only food!
What was your motivation for speaking about this? Why did you remain silent for so long?
My motivation for speaking out was to give back to the industry that has given me a great career. Being silent and only confiding in a small number of close contacts worked for me. I am at the stage now where I look at all my past life experiences, whether they be good or bad, I see them all as positive learning experiences.
I remained silent for many years as I did not understand that struggling with mental health was actually real and saw it as just a way of life that I felt unhappy. What inspired me to seek help was hearing Wayne Schwass, a prominent AFL footballer talk about his struggles with mental health during his career as a successful footballer. On hearing him speak I realized that I felt the same and was still able to function on a high level but struggling on the inside day by day. His talk inspired me to talk to my GP.
Mark, I really admire your courage for opening up and sharing your experiences. It is hearing other people’s stories that help others recognize they may also have a problem with mental health. It is important to speak openly about this subject.
How have you grown from this experience and what have you learned from it?
I have grown and matured as a person and learned to just take time out to relax and enjoy the small things in life. I had a constant fear of failure going through stages of my career. I no longer have this fear and realize that my best is good enough in any situation.
What are the three most important things a chef must do every day?
Enjoy every day, its piece of your life
Do the best you can in every situation
Create a positive team culture
Mark Normoyle is currently an Executive chef consultant in Australia, Asia, and beyond. With key roles as Wagyu Beef ambassador for the Gifu prefecture of Japan, Yuzu ambassador for Kochi Japan, Executive chef for Tune Hotel group Malaysia and Executive Chef for the Royal Melbourne show 2019.
Prior to his current role, Mark was appointed as Executive Chef at the RACV City Club Melbourne. And was brought on board to lead the kitchen team, and be at the forefront of 501 Bourke street facility opening. A large team of 80 chefs with 6 Food and beverage outlets, multiple event and function rooms, 140 accommodation rooms, and award-winning pastry shop Le Petit gateau.
Chef De Cuisine at the “Australian Club” Australia’s most exclusive private club, Sous Chef at Hotel Sofitel Melbourne, Sheraton Mirage Gold Coast, Sheraton Ayers Rock are venues Mark has honed his skills.
Mark’s career highlights to date have been hosting food and culture tours to Japan, India, Vietnam Cambodia, and Sri Lanka. Cooking at Guest chef charity events in Australia and abroad and working alongside the original Iron Chefs of Japan.