April 2024

INTERVIEW WITH CALLUM HANN

How long have you been working in the food industry? 

I got my first job in a bakery at 14 years old, then in a restaurant as kitchen hand a year later. So whilst I studied at school and uni I’ve been in the industry as long as I can recall!

What enticed you to enter this industry? 

I often compare it to sport – no matter how much you train or get ready and organised, on the day of the service (game day!) you have to go out and still nail it. I get a lot of joy out of working in a team environment to make other people happy and have a great experience

How has your upbringing contributed to your role as a cook/chef? 

My dad worked in a winery for 27 years and my mum owned cooking homeware businesses so I’ve always been around the food industry. However it was my sister becoming vegetarian at a young age that really made me and my family start becoming a lot more adventurous with what we would cook and eat at home

What are some of your favourite/core memories in the kitchen, growing up? 

Making pancakes with mum; it was always, and still is, the go-to brekkie for mothers day, Christmas, birthdays and so on. I’ve started the tradition with my kids now and love it

How has your place or residence/local environment contributed to your role as a cook/chef? 

I grew up in the Barossa Valley and live in the Adelaide Hills now, two great wine capitals of the world. With great wine generally comes great other produce and a great food industry, safe to say this is the case. I literally have wild porcini and pine mushrooms growing a few hundred metres from my house, have wild garlic and fennel in my backyard, wild black berries everywhere in summer. It’s hard not to be inspired!

Who has been your biggest inspiration in your life as a cook/chef? 

Jamie Oliver – it’s not just his reliable and tasty recipes, I believe he genuinely wants to pass cooking skills on to others so we all eat better, are healthier and have a good relationship with food. He’s a big part of the reason I wanted to start my cooking school (Sprout) twelve years ago. 

What are your key ingredient staples? 

Olive oil, lemon, garlic, chilli

What trends in cooking/food are you big on now? 

Not sure I believe in food trends, some of the best dishes haven’t been changed much in hundreds of years! 

What is your favourite dish of all time?

 Roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings as it’s what I cooked for my wife Crystal on the night I proposed, so has good memories attached!

What specific skills have given you an edge in this role? 

I was studying engineering at uni and have always enjoyed maths, I feel like being good with numbers when it comes to recipes and kitchen logistics is useful! 

What are some of the key skills you’ve gained in your time as cook/chef?

Leadership, teamwork, humility; this industry is all about people. People you work with and being hospitable to those we cook for! 

What, in your opinion is the key to ensuring customer satisfaction when it comes to dining experiences? 

Making a meal into an experience. The way you’re greeted, the choice of music, the ambience, the team, it all plays such an impact on your overall experience. Of course the food has to be good too but that’s a given at any decent restaurant! 

What keeps things interesting for customers when they try your food? 

I like when the food has a story; could be an interesting ingredient or have a story about the producer who grows it. Giving people an understanding of the dish and context can help to enjoy to the fullest

What do you enjoy doing in your time away from cooking? 

I love going to the park with my kids, watching sport with my mates and cooking for my family. I know the questions says away from cooking but cooking for 100 people and cooking for my small family feels like two very different things!


ALUMNI RESTAURANT

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