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Future Generation: Ute Pikler

Emma Macdonald

She’s only 28 but Ute Pikler has spent four of the last ten years in one of the toughest roles in the food industry – head chef.

And now she has taken the leap into co-owning and running her own restaurant, the much-lauded Vincent in Barton. Earning her chef’s whites as an apprentice at the Boathouse, Ute did everything from mastering French techniques to scrubbing down the kitchen each night.

She moved on to Pod Food as head chef learning leadership of a small team and juggling a changing and seasonal menu and all that goes along with that. Undeterred by the long hours and constant demands, Ute moved to Melbourne to cement her place in the industry, scoring roles at some of Melbourne’s most elite restaurants. She was commis chef at Vue de Monde before moving to Circa, The Prince.

Vincent.Image: Tim Bean Photography.

Vincent. Image: Tim Bean Photography.

By 2015 Ute felt ready to make the leap to create her own restaurant, which she did with friend Ollie Ryrie. Vincent is a dark and intimate space where diners sit at long bars eating classic food with an original flair. It’s already garnered some rave reviews and Ute is in for the long haul.

When did you become interested in food?

I’ve loved food ever since I was five years old when I would sit on the kitchen bench and watch my dad make dinner every night and help him. My dad is a home cook extraordinaire.

What is the least pleasant part of being a head chef?

Nothing. I love what I do – every part of it. The most pleasant thing is creating a new dish and having my staff and customers taste it.

What ingredient could you not do without?

I’m very much French at heart. I can’t cook without butter (sorry lactose-intolerant readers!).

How does Vincent set itself apart from other restaurants?

Vincent is unique, it isn’t a restaurant, nor a bar, nor a pub. It brings a new concept to Canberra, sitting at long tables, eating great food, drinking amazing wine. You need to experience it to understand how it differs to other restaurants.

Read the entire Future Generation series here

Photography by Martin Ollman

This article originally appeared as part of our Future Generation editorial in Magazine: Future for Winter 2017, available for free while stocks last. Find out more about Magazine here

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Emma Macdonald

Emma Macdonald has been writing about Canberra and its people for more than 20 years, winning numerous awards for her journalism - including a Walkley or two - along the way. Canberra born and bred, she’s fiercely loyal to the city, tribally inner-north, and relieved the rest of the country is finally recognising Canberra’s cool and creative credentials. More about the Author

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