MATT WILKINSON, FROM CULINARY CAPTAIN TO CREATIVE DIRECTOR
What started as a conversation with Matt in lockdown in August 2020 regarding a consultancy position, quickly grew into a part time, then full time role as Culinary Captain. The last 12 months have been an incredible journey with the team collectively achieving so much with Matt at the helm. Matt’s energy, drive, skill and passion have had a hugely positive influence on every area at Montalto.
Now, with the core hospitality offerings humming, the produce gardens and orchards working in perfect harmony with the kitchens and the team solid, Montalto is able to live up to one of their key promises to Matt - a part-time role that he could balance with his family life and other commercial activities. Montalto is excited to announce Matt’s new permanent role as Creative Director.
CRAIG PENGLASE, EXECUTIVE CHEF
Craig Penglase joined Montalto soon after Matt in January 2021. Montalto is thrilled to announce his recent appointment as Executive Chef.
From the country to the city, to Sydney (Marchetti’s Latin, Tuscan Grill, Primadonna, Tom Rutherford’s The Truffle Group) and then Melbourne (Group Kitchen Manager for John and Frank van Haandel across Stokehouse, Circa, Longrain, Comme, Mr Tulk) and then onto the USA (Charlie Trotter’s, French Laundry, Bouchon), Craig then returned to Melbourne as the Executive Chef for Marwa Makool at Oasis before finally joining Matt at Montalto.
Craig and Matt have known each other for years, having originally worked together at Circa and across the Van Haandel group. They will continue to work closely together on the culinary offering at Montalto.
DIANA DESENSI, HEAD CHEF, THE RESTAURANT AT MONTALTO
After enriching experiences at Grossi Florentino, Pt Leo Estate and Berth, under Matt’s mentorship, Diana was quickly promoted to Head Chef in The Restaurant in February 2021 where she has been wowing visitors with her outstanding skill and talent.
Diana’s passion for maintaining the integrity of Montalto’s estate-grown produce underpins everything she cooks in The Restaurant. Her love of sharing beautiful food that reflects the abundance of nature aligns perfectly with Montalto’s estate to plate philosophy and the opportunity to work closely with Produce Manager Julie Bennett continues to be one of the highlights of working onsite in Red Hill.
Matt and Diana will continue to work creatively on The Restaurant menu together.
Matt, Craig and Diana are personally committed to working closely with both Simon Black (Chief Winemaker) and Julie Bennett (Produce Manager) to continue to highlight and showcase the connection between Montalto’s award-winning food, wine and estate-grown produce.