Our Gourmet Chefs, Our Culinary Icons

By  |  0 Comments

St Kilda Bites proudly presents… ‘Our Gourmet Chefs, Our Culinary Icons’

Taking centre stage right here in the St Kilda area! This regular segment profiles St Kilda’s premier Chefs, who are contributing to our area’s emerging vibrant food culture!

Chef Profile No. 5:  Arabella Moppeit-Reid, Head Chef Dining Haul, Elwood Village, Ormond Rd, Elwood.

One of St Kilda’s exciting new and innovative chefs is Arabella Moppeit-Reid, a born and bred Melbourne woman who now holds the reins of Elwood’s Dining Haul.

In her first Head Chef position, she has been bringing a youthful flair to the traditional menus of the suburb for just over a year. Always confident in her true calling, Arabella has been cooking with her family from the tender age of eight.

Confidence in her ability and a true passion for food has led her into a fulfilling career in an industry she really loves. Starting her training at Box Hill TAFE, she honed her skills in the restaurant at Sofitel. Coming to Dining Haul initially as a line cook last February, she achieved Head Chef the following August.

Dining Haul’s menu is share plate driven, encouraging groups of diners to order several plates to enjoy together, a concept that appeals to Arabella on a personal level: “When guests share food, it means they’re tasting five or six different dishes”, she tells me under the bright winter sunshine, “You can’t see much of a restaurant from just one plate”.

Part of Dining Haul’s success can be attributed to a strong confidence in the quality of the food. The dishes are simple, with a focus on the intrinsic flavours of the ingredients rather than an overpowering sauce. She steers away from altering the food too much, using light techniques to enhance flavour and create depth.

Arabella also assures me that a great rapport with suppliers is integral to creating a successful menu, and she mentions one in particular: “I have a great fishmonger in the South Melbourne Market, he’s even been known to call me in bed to offer me a particularly excellent catch”. She confides in me that seafood was not her speciality when she joined the Dining Haul team.

“It’s been a real learning curve for me” she says enthusiastically, going on to talk to me about her love of a good challenge and the acquisition of knowledge and new skills. Now a seafood aficionado, Arabella points to the importance of recognising local trends and desires. “Elwood knows what it wants, so I can’t go too crazy” she laughs, “but it does mean I can play with old classics. Just don’t push it too far!”

In its second year, owner Demitri tells me, the Dining Haul experience is growing day after day. With a true passion and trust in the quality of both produce and the talent in the kitchen, Dining Haul’s restaurant boasts old favourites with a modern twist. One aspect of a venue that really endears me towards it is the love that the staff have for both their work and the customers they interact with, and this is the friendly vibe I truly feel when sitting down there for my coffee. Dining Haul’s great location and passionate kitchen make the perfect recipe for good company and great food.

Presented by the Peckish Pom in collaboration with the Food Dude

Find us on FacebookFind us on FacebookFind us on FacebookFind us on Facebook