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CargoCrew
CargoCrew
14 February 2023

Q&A with Chef Telina Menzies

We Wear Cargo Crew: Chef

As Executive Chef for Australian Venue Co, Telina oversees the launch and running of a multitude of iconic venues across Australia from the ground up.  From the branding to the design, staff recruitment and training to the kitchen and menu, Telina knows every inch of the business. 

We're excited to collaborate with Telina as part of our We Wear Cargo Crew chef campaign and caught up with them in this Q&A to learn more about their busy role.

CargoCrew

"You can have the best venue in the world and all the fancy equipment, but without great people, it’s nothing. It’s like a football team, you need the right people in the right positions and I love building that team, culture and seeing them be successful. "

TELINA MENZIES
Executive Chef Australian Venue Co

1. Did you always want to be a chef? Were you cooking up a storm for your toys as a kid?

I did always want to be a chef. I’ve actually come from a line of chefs - my dad and uncle - and they told me not to do it. As kids do, they do the opposite of what they are told, so here I am today and loving it.

Back in the day the pay wasn’t great and there were long hours but the narrative has changed, and the industry has changed too. Really focusing on work life balance and mental health focus.

Telina wears our Riley Boilersuit in Black at Yarra Botanica Restaurant, Melbourne.

2. How did you get started in the industry?

I was actually lucky to start at the Hyatt a 5 star hotel, it was the place to be in Perth. It gave me such a great opportunity to be exposed to so many different cuisines and venues; from fine dining, Chinese restaurant, functions, events, and al a carte, I got to experience all the different pressures of a kitchen over the 4 years. I used to also volunteer a lot and hang around after work, so they gave me an opportunity at Gershwin’s. I was the first apprentice to work there, so being keen and curious paid off. 

3. You’ve worked in lots of amazing parts of Australia from regional towns to big cities, what’s the first thing you like to do when you arrive in a new place?  

We have a saying ‘Check on the pie report’. So the first thing I do when I get to a town is to check out the local bakery and find the best pie. My favourite at the moment would have to be Bucks Bakery on the way to Eildon, I still think about that pie!  Beef, Cheese and Bacon is my go-to. The Apollo Bay Hotel also does a mean Scallop Pie.

CargoCrew

"We have a saying ‘Check on the pie report’. The first thing I do when I get to a new regional town is to check out the local bakery and find the best pie."

Telina Menzies
Executive Chef at Australian Venue Co

3. We know it can get pretty messy in the kitchen – what’s your go-to Cargo Crew chefwear?  

Love my chef shirt. I used to always wear black, but now I’m loving the chef white and I’ve even started wearing white on white, as it just looks so smart.   
I’m also protected by my Banjo Apron in Khaki - that’s my go to colour. The Banjo Aprons just fit really well, nice and thick, and good quality. Doesn’t rub on the back of your neck and the waist ties are the perfect length.

Uniforms I’ve worked in previously, you spend time adjusting your apron and being uncomfortable. The Cargo Crew Aprons are light and comfortable, especially wearing it for long hours. I spend more time in my chef uniform than my normal clothes, so it’s got to be comfortable. 

CargoCrew
Chefwear: Practicality meets Comfort and Style

Telina chooses to wear the Cargo Crew Chef Shirt as a staple in the kitchen, pairing it with the Banjo Chef Apron for a full professional chef uniform.

Added features across the chefwear range such a apron-loops to hold straps in place, knife pockets, enclosed metal press-studs on shirts and extra-long waist ties on aprons ensure maximum functionality as well as comfort for a day spent in a busy commercial kitchen.

Explore Chefwear

5.    What’s been the most exciting and challenging part about running a kitchen? 

I get to do a lot of openings, creating something from the ground up; the brand, design right through to the kitchen. I enjoy the challenge of ‘can you do it?’ then it opens and it’s a success. You keep pushing yourself and that’s what I find very rewarding. 

The unknown really motivates me now, to do better and I thrive on the fear of failure. I get a rush from that and nothing gives me more joy than starting from scratch and creating a place where people can come together to enjoy food & drink and be part of a community. 

6.    You’re currently Executive Chef at Australian Venue Co, training up a large talented team. What’s your favourite part of seeing a new menu launch?    

You can have the best venue in the world and all the fancy equipment, but without great people, it’s nothing. It’s like a football team, you need the right people in the right positions and I love building that team, culture and seeing them be successful.

I love passing on the knowledge. We were all worldly-young and naïve when you first start out, so to find those kids that have the passion and twinkle in their eye, in a positive environment, then getting to see them successful, is so rewarding. 

CargoCrew

"Sustainability and making conscious choices will continue to be a big focus in 2023. From the products we source for our menus through to what we wear. Knowing the story behind what we are putting on a plate is key and making sure our choices are right for the planet and our country is important."

TELINA MENZIES on Hospitality Industry Trends for 2023
Executive Chef Australian Venue Co

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