Originally from Sydney, Clare Falzon grew up on the east coast, spending time between the Central Coast and with family both in the city’s inner west and multicultural western suburbs. Food played a big part in their upbringing, both from their parents’ love for and curiosity about adventure and food, and their paternal family’s Maltese heritage.
Falzon’s career in hospitality began with washing dishes at 15 and commencing an apprenticeship one year later. Upon completion of this qualification, they combined their other love of travel and started exploring the world, eventually landing in London in 2013. Over a two-year stint, Falzon worked in the Four Seasons Park Lane restaurant Amaranto under the direction of chef Adriano Cavagnini. It was here Falzon recognised the depth of intricacy that food could offer and the wide world of produce and dishes not yet experienced.
Falzon moved over to Michelin-starred Maze, not only gaining experience in a Michelin-standard environment but working closely under the head sushi chef Gohei Kishi, where they were introduced to an elevated level of precision and disciple. While within the Gordon Ramsay group, Falzon also gained experience at Petrus, Bread Street Kitchen, and was a part of the opening team of Heddon Street Kitchen.
Not ready to return home yet, Falzon then moved to Amsterdam and worked at Bussia, which has been a great influence on their idea of comfortable fine dining. A small Italian restaurant, with highly experienced chefs and a front of house team filled with a wealth of service and wine knowledge, Falzon experienced an environment which showcased high-quality produce, and their first example of restaurants working directly with producers and foragers.
On return to Sydney Falzon fell into a position at the well-loved Nomad in Surry Hills. While working under the leadership of Jacqui Challinor, Falzon was given the freedom to explore and develop their own cooking style and introduced to working with ingredients and flavours they had always been intrigued by but never cooked with. Falzon credits Nomad as where they first started to develop their identity as a chef, and considers Jacqui a friend and mentor to this day.
A great influence while working at Nomad, particularly associated with the charcuterie and cheese making, was Falzon’s direct interaction with producers and famers. They formed personal relationships with them, with the opportunity to gain information directly from producers shaping each element of a dish proving to be both inspiring and rewarding. Falzon knew their next move had to be a place which in captured this.
In 2018 Falzon applied on a whim to Hentley Farm Restaurant, one of three Relais and Chateaux restaurants in Australia, landing the position as sous chef. It was here Falzon found exactly what they were seeking: a community which supported and championed each other, offering exceptionally high-quality produce. Within the year they progressed to head chef, working closing and learning from Lachlan Colwill. In late 2020 Falzon stepped into the role of executive chef, taking control of Hentley Farm Restaurant.
Proud to now call South Australia home, Falzon passionately champions some of the state’s best and respected producers and treats their produce with the upmost respect to create an experience in which ingredient shines in its own light and leaves guests with an unforgettable memory.
While at Hentley Farm, Falzon has been the recipient of several awards and programs, including wining delicious. Magazine’s National Produce Awards Next Generation Chef of the Year Award in 2022, being nominated for The Advertiser’s Woman of the Year Award in 2023, participating and competing in Appetite for Excellence in 2019, and being a Gault & Millau’s Young Talent of the Year Finalist in 2019.
Under their leadership, Hentley Farm Restaurant has received 17 points and three hats in the Australian Good Food Guide, as well as winning its Reader’s Choice Regional Award twice, and was also nominated for Gourmet Traveller’s Best Regional Restaurant in 2021. In 2023 Hentley Farm restaurant was cited as a top 10 South Australian restaurant in the Gourmet Traveller Annual Restaurant Guide.