5 minutes with Danielle Dixon, sous chef, Bucci Restaurant
Her career might have kicked off on the TV screen, but this young chef has well and truly earned her place at one of Brisbane’s best Italian diners.
OK, let’s get this over with. Yes I was on MasterChef but before you roll your eyes, I am truly grateful for the experience – it opened my eyes to the inside world of hospitality. Despite what people think, there is a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that actually exposes contestants to the reality of a career in this industry. MasterChef was the push i needed to leave my existing career and start a new one. I was the first contestant to put myself through an apprenticeship and become a qualified chef, something I am very proud of.
Starting my apprenticeship at the age of 29 was tough. I had a mortgage and bills to pay. It also put a lot of strain on my relationships. There aren’t a lot of development programs/scholarships for mature age apprentices; there’s a whole facet of training that isn't available.
Bucci diners are absolutely loving our new vegan dishes. We recently had a 3rd year apprentice start with us who happened to be vegan. He is very open to learning and very creative and so we gave him the option to design some dishes for our current menu. The walnut ragu is amazing. On the opposite side of that we have been featuring some great Australian pork as well. Our pork cheek maltagliati is to die for.
The Brisbane dining scene is growing rapidly. I love the variety we have, and with our beautiful weather and access to incredible produce it's a great time to dine in Brisbane.
I’m currently working on obtaining my Diploma in Hospitality. I love learning, so developing my knowledge and skills is something I'm always working on. I also have a couple of pop up projects I'm working on with one of my CDPs. Stay tuned for more details.
The dream for me is to lead my own kitchen team and create great innovative menus featuring the best produce I can. I want to build an inspiring kitchen environment that encourages people to learn and develop themselves. I wake up almost every day and am thankful that I get to have a job where I genuinely love what I do. I'd love others to have that same experience.