A desire to surf and travel is what led Newcastle-born Cory Campbell to cooking. The possibility of jumping off a plane almost anywhere in the world and being able to find a job had huge appeal.
After an apprenticeship at Peppers Anchorage in Port Stephens he took off to Europe, cooking in Copenhagen at the city’s best Italian restaurant, Eraora, and working at The Square in London under Phil Howard and alongside fellow Novacastrian expat Brett Graham (The Ledbury).
Moving back to Copenhagen he joined the small team at Noma, at roughly the time the restaurant received its first Michelin star. By the time he left, four years later, Noma had achieved the ranking of No 3 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list (and would later go on to hold the top position for several years).
For Campbell his time at Noma was intense and possibly the most influential of his career. His approach to food changed completely. As he says, “I learnt that we can write our own rules as long as we have an understanding of flavour and produce.”
A short stint in Singapore connected Campbell with Shannon Bennett who was looking for a head chef for Vue de Monde in its transition from Little Collins Street to the very grand setting at the top of The Rialto. Campbell took on the role and worked there for six years from 2009 to 2015. He brought influences from Noma, ranging from the understanding and utilisation of endemic ingredients to the interaction of chefs with guests in the dining room, and developed and evolved an entirely new menu. Vue de Monde held three chef’s hats from 2013 the top industry awards. Notably Campbell helped transform dinner at Vue de Monde from a meal to a dining experience.
Moving back north and closer to Newcastle, Campbell’s intention was to open a small 30-seat fine diner. He changed his plan completely when approached by Matt Moran to take on the role of head chef at Barangaroo House, looking after the food offerings on three levels. The sense of excitement and possibility to create something very special in Sydney’s newest waterfront landmark was simply too strong to resist.