Cassie Hopkinson is our new Co-Executive Chef (Kitchen and Operations Management). In this role, she works alongside Peter Kulcar and is a superstar when it comes to all things kitchen business management.   On a day-to-day basis, Cassie can be found sifting through food costings, invoicing, and ordering from our wonderful local producers and suppliers.  She is the key liaison between our sales, logistics and management teams and our kitchen. Cassie juggles all the kitchen rostering, KPI’s and oversees the team building, training, and recruitment of our creative chefs.     

You can’t keep this cookout of the kitchen for long!  Cassie has a passion for all thing’s hospitality especially BBQing and low and slow smoking, food photography and whiskey tasting!  She loves to get her hands dirty in our onsite kitchens working with our team in the canape and fine dining sections and offsite at functions.

We recently asked Cassie to share more about her passion and inspiration for the hospitality industry.

 

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?

The ability to show my creativity and personality through each dish I create.

 

Favourite food and drink?

Favourite food is tricky as I love so many!  I am a meat eater and love venison and a good quality steak. Low and slow BBQ and smoking is a passion for me.  Without a doubt, whiskey is my go-to drink.  Scotch whiskey and infused Gin’s are my jam. I also don’t mind a paddle of craft beers on a hot summer’s day.

 

Best event you’ve attended and why?

A master class with Heston Blumenthal.  It was a fantastic showcase of knowledge, skill and flavours with an amazingly talented chef.  Closely followed by the Steve Irwin Gala Dinner 2019

 

What’s your number one tip for anyone looking to hire a caterer for their next event?

Ask questions, give clear concise instructions on what you would like delivered and dietary requirements.

 

What do you feel distinguishes Wine & Dine’m?

Our team goes above and beyond to ensure every detail for every job/event is exactly what the client has asked for. We strive to be industry leaders in every aspect of the business and value our staff and their well-being to ensure they are happy and consistently producing fantastic high quality, food and service for all events big and small.

 

What menu item is currently your favourite?

Hard choice.  It’s a close call between our house-smoked beef tri-tip and our amazing desserts.

 

Recent event highlight

I’m a big fan of creating beautiful and elaborate charcuterie stations to start and end the night.   I love working at The Fortitude Music Hall and cut my teeth on a 290 person seated dinner for Motorama earlier this year between lockdowns (obviously)!   It was such a fantastic venue to host these large numbers and was great to see the team flexing their muscles again in this arena.  We created a custom canape + two-course menu and added the Treat Yourself Dessert Wall to finish.  Guests love to incorporate this dessert wall as it includes four delicious dessert canapes, featured here:

  • Lemon curd flan, torched Italian meringue (v/gf)
  • Blue cheese panna cotta, ginger biscuit (v/gf)
  • Dark chocolate, strawberry marshmallow tart (v/gf)
  • Berry sponge, ruby cream, cocoa crunch (v)

 

Given all the changes in the industry and the world recently, where do you see yourself professionally in the future?

I hope to be working with the Wine & Dine’m team for many years!  My position here is one I truly value and it allows me to have my fingers in all aspects of the hospitality industry. I hope that I can continue to learn and train others within the industry to ensure future growth and successful, talented chefs emerging into the industry.

 

What would you do if you weren’t working in this industry?

Hospitality is my life, but if I couldn’t work in this industry, I would do photography probably based around food/wildlife and scenery.

 

Who inspires you?

Anthony Bourdain was someone I idolised as a teen Apprentice – his no-fear attitude and passion for the industry were second to none.

 

Favourite place to go out with friends?

Any BBQ comp or festivals, new food venue trials, bespoke eateries, and breweries.