FRONT OF HOUSE
Bianca Welsh, doyenne of the front of house, has not only trained and created a team which is the envy of many a great restaurant, her work in the mental health sector is admirable. Ahead of her time, she recognised the importance of good mental health in the workplace and on top of going out and getting a psychology degree to help her HR role she has supported and inspired many, creating and sharing resources to keep everyone fighting fit. She is also bloody good at what she does, taking out Australian Young Restaurateur of the Year at the age of 26…no mean feat!
Executive Chef Craig Will’s approach to food hasn’t drifted far from when he wandered into cooking at the ripe age of 5. Growing up in Tasmania his backyard was filled with fruit, vegetables and a remarkable walnut tree that inspired a cake recipe that changed his world. This abundance of earthly rewards, combined with an intuition for flavour, pointed Craig to the kitchen and he never looked back. A formal apprenticeship in Hobart and then time cooking off island netted him extensive experience working with seafood….and a wife, also in the trade. An invitation to join the team at Black Cow Bistro in Launceston allowed Craig to join as a Co Owner and his consistent celebration of Tasmanian food and the people who make it is obvious across his ever-changing menus. The offerings reflect the season, an appreciation of simplicity and Craig’s particular love of coastal seafood, Tamar Valley veggies and something sweet and fruity to finish.
James Welsh, Sommelier and glass half full kind of guy started as a waiter at Stillwater fresh from stocking shelves at the local Bunnings. His passion for the local wine industry saw him dive deep into the oenological world, becoming a Len Evans Scholar (considered the world's most prestigious wine school) in 2014, and he now travels on invitation to specialty tastings as far away as Hong Kong James sits on wine panels and judges wine shows amongst many other things wine. This passion for all things vinous and his rise through the ranks saw him offered an ownership opportunity before the age of 30 which he grabbed with both hands. His generous nature and love of wine has inspired the team and through regular staff wine tastings and knowledge sessions he now has numerous members of the team pursuing formal wine training.
Chris McNally has over 2 decades of exceptional experience ranging from high end city restaurants to hotels across the world.
Chris began his hospitality career in the kitchen as an apprentice for a local pub in Launceston in the early 90’s. He quickly realised the front of house was where his passion lies and transitioned over.
He quickly worked his way up through the ranks of hospitality and has gone on to manage restaurants and hotel restaurants across the world, with highlights such as prestigious and hatted venues such as Flying Fish in Sydney, Tom Aikens restaurant in London, The Press Club in Melbourne and the Apollo in Sydney and has been involved in a number of opening of new high end venues and rebranding of hotel restaurants. The latest role prior to be lured back to Tasmania was in Bodrum in Turkey at the exclusive and luxurious Macakizi Hotel as the Food and Beverage Manager for five years.
The opportunity to become a part owner of Stillwater and Black Cow was a harmonious match as Chris has been working casually over the off season in Turkey. Being the summer months in Tasmania he quickly became a huge asset to the team with his broad range of experience and expertise.
Chris is now the Hotelier/Co-owner of the businesses and opened and ran the new arm of the group’s business – Stillwater Seven. Seven luxury rooms by the water of kanamaluka/Tamar River, just above the restaurant. His service is highly sought after with some of his guests following him from Turkey! He is also very involved with restaurant operations and works in and on the business with his other business partners.