Born and raised in Melbourne, Sean’s earliest kitchen influence was his late mother, Gina. A stalwart and creative home cook, Gina prepared food for the family every day – rarely with a recipe in sight.
“We always ate a great variety of different dishes inspired by many cultures around the world, especially South East Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern. I was never allowed to say ‘I don’t like it’ unless I tried something – she always encouraged me to explore what food could be.”
From helping at home to food tech and eventually a certificate of Commercial Cookery from Melbourne Polytechnic, Sean soon felt he had found his calling. After trialling a number of Melbourne restaurants, he settled at South-East Asian institution GingerBoy to complete his apprenticeship. After a brief stint at Movida, Sean returned to GingerBoy in 2014 as Sous Chef.
The following years at Sezar, working with owner and chef Garen Maskal, helped Sean to develop his approach to flavour, and to embed an appreciation for restraint and refinement. The first opportunity to lead a kitchen of his own came with the opening of Chapel Street’s Shukah, also run by Maskal, serving tapas-style dishes with a broad European and Middle Eastern influence. At its closure in 2019, Sean returned to Sezar as Head Chef.
At the beginning of 2020, Sean and his partner decided to move to Asia with a plan to open their own restaurants and share their knowledge in a new community – a plan scuttled just a few months later as COVID-19 started to take hold. Sean instead set his sights on South Australia, an emerging culinary stronghold with a reputation as home to some of the world’s finest produce.
Sean moved to Adelaide in 2021 to join the Madame Hanoi team, originally as Chef De Partie. Working closely with Head Chef, Raj Kumar, Sean progressed to Sous Chef in 2022, overseeing key kitchen operations and contributing to the creative development of the menu. As Head Chef, he’s excited to continue the Madame Hanoi legacy, and to bring the energy that diners expect.
“Madame Hanoi is a fast-paced vibrant venue, with the food to match. The kitchen is small, and the flavours are bold. Customers come to have a fun experience and with an open kitchen you can’t miss a beat.”
Photo credit: Duy Dash
SkyCity Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide