TOM BROCKBANK | THE GEORGE ON COLLINS

Tom Brockbank has a passion for producing quality ethically conscious dishes, revelling in local and seasonal produce and ensuring minimal food wastage. Tom has worked in London at Pollen Street Social and here, at No. 8 and Estelle. He is now running the beautifully renovated George on Collins and he will have you at the 12-hour lamb shoulder, aged for 14 days then slow-cooked and served with bacon and petits pois. … More TOM BROCKBANK | THE GEORGE ON COLLINS

ROTEM PAPO | L’HÔTEL GITAN

With a background working at the top European restaurants in Israel, Rotem Papo started at Hotel Gitan as senior chef de partie before becoming sous chef. He stepped up into the Head Chef role in November and hasn’t looked back. What excites him the most is his Specials board and when you see it, you’ll understand why. Seasonal creativity at it’s finest; “always changing, never boring.” For my part, I was particularly impressed that Rotem had come in on his day off to chat with me and that he offered me a glass of wine. All the best conversations happen with a glass in hand. … More ROTEM PAPO | L’HÔTEL GITAN

DAVID RICARDO | PLAZA BALLROOM

David is softly spoken and seems as though he would be completely unflappable in any situation, which is a good thing, considering he oversees the execution of fine dining meals for up to 600 guests at one time. Before we sat down to chat, he showed me the ballroom, an exquisite heritage listed venue in the heart of Melbourne. I am now trying desperately to come up with an event so that I can eat there; for David’s food and for the theatrical elegance of the venue. … More DAVID RICARDO | PLAZA BALLROOM

LASSE “GD” POVLSEN | MR AND MRS ANDERSON

Lasse GD Povlsen trained in Denmark and worked in Michelin star restaurants there before coming to Melbourne and working for Andrew McConnell’s restaurants, as well as Attica and, most recently, Three Bags Full in Abbotsford. He has happily made the switch to cafes and is especially loving the paddock to plate concept at Mr and Mrs Anderson. Reading back the conversation, it seems a little stilted, but that’s because a lot of people stopped to say hello to GD while we were talking, testament, perhaps, to how much he is part of the community and how many friends he has made. … More LASSE “GD” POVLSEN | MR AND MRS ANDERSON

STEVE HOGAN | AU79

Steve Hogan oversees something of a cafe empire. He is Executive Chef to Addict Food and Coffee, Prospect Hill Espresso, Liar Liar and AU79, to name a few. Combining imagination, creativity, a sense of calm and a desire to help his team grow as chefs, the name of the latest cafe under his belt is apt; AU79 combines the periodic and atomic symbols for gold. This chef certainly goes for gold. … More STEVE HOGAN | AU79

DAI DUONG | UNCLE

Dai Duong has recreated all that is good about Vietnamese cuisine in his St Kilda and Collins Street restaurants, Uncle. Fresh, flavour-filled dishes served in tropically coloured settings. We talked graphic design, chef life and how great it is having his mum in to roll the spring rolls each week. … More DAI DUONG | UNCLE