Growing up amongst farmland on the south island of New Zealand Colin was formally trained in Christchurch in the early 80’s before heading to Sydney to expand his culinary experience. Over the years he has owned, in partnership, several restaurants including establishing what has now become a Sydney favourite, China Doll at Woolloomooloo Wharf. He has also worked at some of Sydney’s most well-know restaurants including Bistro Moncur, Bayswater Brasserie and Armstrong’s. It was while working at Armstrong’s in North Sydney Colin got his first taste of dry aged beef that forms the base of his menu at his new restaurant in Scone NSW (Upper Hunter Valley) - The Cottage. In 2010 Colin and his family moved to the small country town of Willow Tree, four hours north west of Sydney where he established an award winning dining destination - Graze at The Willow Tree Inn before moving on in late 2013. Spending the next eighteen months in Melbourne Colin’s desire to regularly breathe the country air was too strong and when an opportunity was presented by Sydney business man and local Scone land owner Michael Crouch to open a restaurant of his own in a beautifully restored 1860’s cottage nestled in the main street he jumped at the chance. With another move to the county he opened The Cottage in May 2015. It is quickly establishing a reputation in the Upper Hunter region as a sophisticated establishment with warm friendly service. As a new comer to the town Colin has tried to support local businesses. “If we support businesses in the local community, they will support us” says Colin. Colin’s classic bistro style food allows the produce to shine and not be over shadowed by fussy foams, crumbs or special effects. His classic French training is influenced by flavours of Asia and the Mediterranean. His food is real, reflecting his own personal style and although aware of trends and what others in the industry are doing Colin’s cooking is true to his humble beginnings.
Colin has travelled extensively through New Zealand, Africa and France as well as trips to London, LA and New York, sailing in Greece and family friendly holidays in Fiji and on the Great Ocean Road. Travelling has provided the opportunity to experience some of the worlds finest restaurants in New York, Paris and Cape Town as well as unforgettable food experiences at the street night markets in Zanzibar and steak tartare in a jungle café in Rwanda.
Colin has done an amazing job at The Cottage. It’s without a doubt one of the best steaks I have ever eaten. For anyone looking for a weekend away Scone is a beautiful destination only 4 hours from Sydney in the upper Hunter. A dinner or Sunday lunch at The Cottage will make it all that more memorable.