Shannon began his career in kitchens at the age of 17. Immediately after finishing his last year12 exams and instead of going to schoolies, he started his apprenticeship and hasn’t stopped since.
With work in 5 star hotels under his belt, it was his time at Brisbane restaurant Watt Modern Dining that spawned his passion for South Australian produce - having realised almost by accident that the food he was using interstate was almost entirely from home. It was a welcome return home to the kitchen at the iconic Star of Greece cafe in Port Willunga.
In 2008, Shannon was offered a role at Penfolds Magill Estate where he began to forage and play with wild ingredients before the arrival of Jock Zonfrillo; who introduced him to native Australian flavours. After 5 years leading the team at Penfolds, Shannon left to open Orana and Street ADL (later to be known as Blackwood) with Jock winning multiple awards and accolades including Advertiser Restaurant of the Year in 2014.
After a continuous 9 years in fine dining, Shannon decided to leave the restaurant scene for a move to the hills and focus on expanding the native food industry through his own cooking, growing and research of native ingredients. Through a focus on learning fermentation, pickling and other preservation techniques he has been able to harness the power of many of these unknown ingredients and use them in everyday cooking. Education is something he is passionate about and showing people his vast knowledge of local wild and indigenous produce is something that continues to inspire him.
Establishing Forgotten Seasons in late 2017, a small catering and consulting company, Shannon had the opportunity to travel to several remote communities, mostly in the NT through his work with Indigenous company Something Wild. He has established good relationships and helped with the supply chain to bring a lot of the amazing native ingredients to Australian households.
Having spent some time on the catering side of the industry and the hills lifestyle now in his blood, Shannon was recruited to run the restaurant side of a large collective at LOT.100 in late 2018. With a renewed focus on seasonal and hills focused produce he has been able to bring his knowledge and passion to collaborate with the beverage brands, 78 degrees, Hills Cider and Mismatch Brewing bringing native flavours to life through their products and show how they can be incorporated into a full dining experience in the restaurant.
Shannon is heavily involved in fundraising for the Womens and Childrens Hospital Foundation and is the founder of the Annual Collaboration for a Cause charity dinner raising over $65k in funds for this special cause close to his family.
Get to know Shannon
Describe your cooking ethos.
"I have a pretty simple ethos. Use what's around us. That means seasonal food, local produce, no waste and using other 'waste' products to make delicious food. Food should be fun but also deliver a message and story at the same time."
What do you love about your career?
"I like that every day I get to introduce people to my food and my ethos on food. I get to change minds, deliver new experiences and challenge people to at better and think more about the places they eat and the food and beverage choices they are making."
South Australian produce is…
"Far more diverse than people expect!"
Favourite South Australian region to travel to?
"Flinders Ranges (and of course the Adelaide Hills)"
Give us a sneak insight into your Tasting Australia dishes.
"A couple of classic flavour combos in my opinion and to be honest I will most likely change my mind on the day! See what the day brings."
What are you looking forward to most about Tasting Australia?
"Catching up with a few chefs from interstate, showing everyone what we can do in South Australia!"