Stuart grew up in a small community in northern New South Wales, on the land, about 35km out of the country town of Casino. His family had chickens, geese, cattle, and gardens of different edible produce. His parents are fantastic cooks, and so were their parents.
One of the turning points towards a cooking career was that Stuart's parents bought a block of land down the road from the farm, and the previous owner had established a very significant garden. In two large plots were some of the most extraordinary fruits & vegetables growing that you have ever seen — custard apples, avocados, papaya, varieties of chillies, melons, pumpkins and stone fruit to name just a few. There was something special about picking the fragrant, sweet, perfect ‘wild grown’ full of flavour produce that was growing there for Stuart. He sees this childhood experience as being one of the major influences on his quest for the quality produce that he uses today.
Working in some of the most renowned restaurants in the world, combining his passion for food and sheer hard work, Stuarts has trained alongside some of the best chefs and their protégé in 3, 2 and 1-hat restaurants. He has learnt thousands of recipes and skills to an exacting standard which have ensured that he gained positions of responsibility in extremely successful establishments.
In 2007, Stuart's business Hand Made Catering was born. The business was set up to specialise in food & wine matching. A combination of superior produce, the ability to create menus that are tailored to the client’s needs and the skills to deliver have ensured that, with guidance, clients can create their unique menus for their special event rather than being told what they are having. Stuart's parents instilled in him honesty, integrity, consistency, hard work and passion. These are the foundations upon which Hand Made Catering is built, and their menus and customer service are a testament to this.
Stuart opened Musque Food & Wine in 2017, which went on to win SA Restaurant of the Year 2020. He also won Small Caterer of the Year 2020 for Hand Made Catering. Musque Food & Wine has since transformed in to Bar:Musque and is one of the largest gin bars in Australia.