Prior to helming the pinnacle of Melbourne fine dining , Zagame Corporation Executive Chef Chris Bonello’s strong connection with food was sparked by humble beginnings. Born in the rich food culture of Malta to a farming family, Bonello’s innate connection with the land and intuitive understanding of seasonal produce was nurtured as he harvested produce in the fields alongside his father.
After completing his culinary studies, Chris accumulated a breadth of experience running large-scale operations for luxury hotel groups including Hilton Worldwide in Scotland, Hotel Riu Seabank in Malta and Palazzo Versace on Australia’s Gold Coast.
Commencing a six year tenure at esteemed chef Shannon Bennett’s Vue Group, Bonello rose to the role of group executive chef, during his time responsible for all operations across a stable of restaurants including the prestigious, three-hatted Vue de Monde, as well as managing commercial partnerships and cookbook development.
Accepting the role of Group Executive Chef of Zagame Corporation in 2016, Chris’s first project for the company brought refined dining to Berwick with the cherished MPD Steak Kitchen. Reflecting the culmination of Bonello’s 10 years of cooking in Australia, the seasonally-driven menu showcases the highest quality produce, cooked to perfection on a bespoke grill fueled by native ironbark. Bonello also oversees Zagames house in Carlton, the four-starred Grand Hotel and Casino in Vanuatu, and five casual Zagame’s restaurants.
Chris’s passion for cooking is nourished by making people smile with food, as well as the electric energy of the industry. “Every day is different and far from boring. There’s always an element of surprise, and I still get butterflies before a busy service,” he says.
Chris believes that success can’t be achieved without a great team, and emphasises the importance of surrounding oneself with passionate people with positive energy. Continually striving for greater excellence, Bonello works collaboratively with his team in research and development sessions, always searching for the next best thing.