Fiona studied cookery at La Varenne École De Cuisine in Paris in 1980 and then spent 4 years cooking at Jenny Ferguson’s You & Me Restaurant in the Sydney CBD (with Stefano Manfredi). A series of cafés followed, including Bronte Cafe (the first on the Bronte Beach strip), which she opened in 1985 and ran for 14 years while also operating wholesale cake business, Epicurean Kitchen. In 2000, Fiona obtained a Certificate III in Travel & Tourism and gave guided tours that included advise on which restaurants to visit. She worked briefly as production chef for Jones the Grocer then ran Fideli Cafe & Food Store in Waverley from 2002-2006, making everything onsite. After a brief stint of food prep and styling for TV, she landed at Sydney Seafood School in 2008.
“I don't really remember anyone ‘teaching’ me to cook, but always accompanied my mother shopping and was active in deciding what to buy and cook. My grandmother and aunts always cooked from scratch and there were always two home cooked desserts at dinner and freshly baked cakes and biscuits at afternoon tea. I remember making biscuit dough at home by myself after school when I was quite young, in primary school, and the neighbour cooking it for me because I wasn't allowed to turn the oven on by myself! She also provided jam, so I suspect it wasn't so tasty! Why do I like cooking? I guess I like feeding people - I always cook too much! I enjoy putting different ingredients together and love trying something I’ve never tried before. The possibilities fascinate me, I don't really have a favourite dish, as I always want to cook something new. I love traditions, but always do what you’re ‘not supposed to do’ and try out new recipes on guests. I have a mega cookbook library but am not faithful to any one author. Cookbooks are often bedtime reading for me, with a huge pile beside my bed. I do like Vegetables from an Italian Garden as it combines gardening and great recipes for all those delicious Italian vegetables like artichokes and radicchio. Bitter by Jennifer McLagan is another favourite, as are Peter Gordon's books because of his interesting flavour combinations. And I love almost any baking book.
I love working at Sydney Seafood School because no day is the same, we're always learning from our guest chefs. We work with a great team and constantly meet new people through our guests. It's a pleasure and a great reward to see that they have a fabulous time while they are with us.”