As we move into autumn, we’re still enjoying the warm days, whilst the nights are already getting crisper!
Next up for our My Montalto series, we’d like to introduce you to Craig Penglase, our Executive Chef.
Having worked closely with Matt Wilkinson before, Craig jumped at the chance to join forces once again at Montalto in 2021. In 2022, Craig was appointed the role of Executive Chef - working closely with Matt and Julie Bennett (Produce Manager) to highlight and maximise the bounty of the estate gardens whilst introducing seasonal ingredients sourced from trusted local suppliers across the Peninsula. Craig’s years of global hospitality experience underpin his all-encompassing role, whilst his boundless enthusiasm inspires the hospitality team to continue sharing the generosity and abundance that Montalto is known for to the very highest standards.
What does your perfect day at Montalto look like?
Early bird catches the worm so I’m up and on the estate bright and early most mornings – it’s my favourite time of day, the peaceful stillness is really breathtaking. A quick coffee followed by a walk around the incredible produce gardens with Julie to chat about what’s ready to harvest, and therefore what the kitchens will need to be prepared for in the not-too-distant future.
After chatting with Julie, I head into the kitchens to talk to the senior chefs about the abundant estate-produce and which dishes we believe will showcase these outstanding ingredients to their maximum, delicious capacity. Then it’s time to set up the kitchens for lunch service – I never tire of the sense of comradery at Montalto.
The perfect way to finish the day is with a glass or two of Simon’s wines, and a final gentle wander around the estate to unwind.
If you had to pick one Montalto wine to drink forever, which one would it be, and why?
What’s your favourite season? And your favourite estate-grown produce from that season?
Autumn! The cooler weather means surprise visits from Wendy sneaking in lovely local pine and slippery jack mushrooms (one day I’ll follow her to find the spots!), fresh chestnuts from the estate gardens and Julie’s fantastic carrots, cabbages and purple cauliflowers. The colours and flavours are beyond compare.
Your favourite little-known fact about Montalto to share with visitors?
We’ve recently discovered that the natural waterway that flows down the middle of the property has an abundance of wild watercress! The flavour is amazing – bright, fresh and peppery all at once. Look out for it on the menus.
Top tip on the Peninsula?
Definitely have an early dinner around the corner at Many Little – either out on the deck, or up at the bar are the prime spots!
After dinner, if it’s warm enough, head to Merricks or Balnarring Beach for a sneaky dusk swim.