Early life and career

Stephanie and her motherGrowing up

My early food life was influenced first and foremost by my mother, Mary Burchett, a wonderful cook who was interested not just in recipes, but in the culture that inspired the dish. I studied to become a librarian (with no thoughts of working with food professionally) and I left Australia at the age of 21 to see the world. The world for me at that time was France, and I was delighted to discover that France was every bit as thrilling and satisfying as I had dreamed it would be.

In the intervening 50 plus years I have returned as often as possible and, whilst acknowledging change, there remains a value and respect accorded to food that I find renewing and reassuring.

SA at Stephanies RestaurantMy restaurants

For 21 years Stephanie’s Restaurant was at the heart of everything culinary in Australia. We trained wonderful staff, we cooked excellent food, we pioneered techniques and ways of looking at ingredients, we championed small producers, and we set new standards of service. In 1994 I became a Member of the Order of Australia in 1994 for services to the hospitality industry and for encouraging young apprentices.

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