Joel completed his apprenticeship here at TarraWarra in 2011 and has now returned as Head Chef.

Born and bred in the Yarra Valley, Joel always had a love for food and feeding people. He grew up cooking for his family, and after working in a butchers it was a small step to starting his apprenticeship.  Joel has always been inspired by the people around him and is always seeking out a vast range of new culinary experiences.

After winning Apprentice of the Year in 2011, Joel was encouraged by then head chef Robin Sutcliffe to leave TarraWarra to broaden his experience, first at the acclaimed Union Dining in Richmond under Melbourne legend Nicky Riemer, followed by a sous chef position at Ebenezer Restaurant. Joel returned to the Yarra Valley for a sous chef position at The Healesville Hotel. Joel’s first head chef role was at the wine focussed Bar Liberty in Fitzroy, where he gained his first chef’s hat in 2017 in the Age Good Food Guide. It was here that Joel learnt the art of food and wine matching, and the balancing of complex flavours inherent in both. Joel then worked at Mayfair restaurant in Collins St. before again returning to the Yarra Valley, first at Giant Steps restaurant, followed by head chef at Medhurst Winery. 

It was at Medhurst that Joel gained a loyal following and reputation for his delicious food, and where he was able to apply his depth of knowledge, creativity and experience to the produce of his home.

Back at TarraWarra Joel has embraced the chance to expand his passion for feeding people incredible food. His dishes are both vibrant and fresh, at the same time as being intricate and ultimately delicious. His quiet, unassuming nature hides big ideas and a natural talent in the kitchen.