Owner and head chef Miss Katie’s Crab Shack, Melbourne, Australia
When and how did you get involved in the seafood industry?
Growing up in a pub I’d always wanted to be a chef, despite dad’s best efforts to steer me towards another career. I’m pretty head strong, so I forged ahead, earning my apron strings in the kitchens of Movida and Eau De Vie Melbourne. As a young chef I was able to further developed my love of seafood and quality Australian produce. When an opportunity to start my own restaurant came along, I drew inspiration from my family roots and the cooking I had grown up with. Mum hails from Gibson Island, in Maryland, USA, where blue swimmer crabs and oysters are in abundance in the surrounding Chesapeake Bay. In 2013, with $3k and a teeny tiny kitchen, I opened the Crab Shack opposite the Queen Victorian Market. Four years later, having “changed shells” twice, I am proud to say the Crab Shack is still going strong.
What is your biggest reward working in the seafood industry?
Working with some of the most incredible produce and waxing lyrical about it with producers and suppliers, who unlike most, share my passion for sustainable Australian seafood. I’ve fostered some wonderful relationships within the industry, and have felt incredibly supported by the people within the seafood community. I’m somewhat of a “newbie” to the industry, and have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know producers, for whom I have great respect, listening to their stories and learning from their experience.
Most memorable moment
Travelling to the States with my mum to visit the family and get some inspiration for the menu. We went sailing on the Rappohannok river at sunset, eating prawn cocktail, we watched dolphins and pulled up crab pots of blue crab and later went hunting for fire flies.