After growing up at Minnamurra and doing his apprenticeship at The Perfect Break Cafe and Piato a young Dane Tobias set off for the UK where he worked for Rick Stein and Jamie Oliver.
Now Mr Tobias enjoys turning up to work every day in a scenic vineyard location not far from where he grew up.
The views make him feel like he works in the best office in the world.
And he gets to use his international experience to work with regional produce as good as anything in the world.
As the head chef at Crooked River Winery he is combining his skill in the kitchen with his ability to develop a great team.
Mr Tobias said it is wonderful to be living and working in the place he loves doing what he loves producing great food.
Prior to returning to Crooked River Winery he was working at Paperbark Camp as executive chef.
After returning to the Illawarra from the United Kingdom he worked at many well known Wollongong eateries such as Chedo's, Harbourfront, Piato Grand, Gigi's and Educated Palate.
He said one thing he learnt overseas that has served him well is creating templates and systems and building a great relationship with his team.
Mr Tobias said his passion for food started very young.
"I grew up on Minnamurra River where my whole life was fishing and surfing. I loved catching my own fish. There is nothing better than fresh riverside cooking.
"My passion was to follow my dream, go to London and work for Jamie Oliver. I arrived in Northern Wales and worked for the Peny Gywrd Hotel in Snowdonia National Park.
"After that I went down to Rick Stein's seafood restaurant in Padstow. They caught fresh fish four days a week in his charter boat. I stayed for 12 months. Rick Stein was unreal. He was there quite a bit".
Mr Tobias also worked in catering. He cooked for Michael Schumachers's 38th birthday in Monte Carlo and private functions for former US President Bill Clinton and celebrities such as David Hasselhoff, Claudia Schiffer and Sting.
When he was in the UK he said Jamie Oliver's Fifteen 15 was involved with the Cheeky Chops charity helping unemployed kids off the street.
Mr Tobias said he got to mentor some of them and is still friends with some who now own their own restaurants.
He said he feels really blessed to have had the opportunities he has.
"Jamie and Rick were very kind chefs. You could come to them with anything and they would mentor you".
Mr Tobias said one of the great learning experiences was going to the markets with Jamie Oliver.
"Working for Jamie I learnt so much," he said.
"I then decided to backpack through Europe before coming home in 2004. I was 20 when I went over there and came back when I was 24.
"My love for food is just natural for me. It is artistic. I love the creativity, the colours on the plates and the flavours. It is a great industry. You meet great people and you can travel".
Mr Tobias said he now gets to work with a great team of chefs who prepare lunch five days a week from Wednesday to Sunday. And dinner on Saturdays.
He described owner Godwin Felice as a gentleman who looked after his staff. As does restaurant manager Rachel Pearce.
Mr Tobias said his food style is Modern Australian with some European influences.
He said chef Matt Taylor worked at Kai Mayfair in the UK where he had his own restaurant. He also worked at Aqua Dining in Sydney.
Mr Tobias has worked with another chef Blair Simpson for four years. Crooked River Winery also has an apprentice chef in Beau Higbid and a new chef Bogan-Jarrah Latimer-Pilgrom.
Mr Tobias said the 140 seat restaurant is quite large which also makes the vineyard popular for weddings.
It also grows its own olive and lime trees, smokes its own food, brews its own beer and has its own garden, chickens and goats.
The chefs also forage for wild herbs and other ingredients.
Oysters and other produce is sourced from the South Coast.
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