Meet our Executive Chef – Andrew Collins

Foodbuy supports and works with hundreds of amazing Chefs and creative culinary teams across the country.

Meet our Foodbuy Executive Chef Andrew Collins as we share a little insight into his passion for food and in creating the magic with dishes that leave us in awe.

Tell us a little about you

In addition to supporting our Client culinary teams, I lead the Product Optimisation team at Foodbuy.  My role is focused on bringing a professional chef and global foodservice perspective to the various procurement activities and decisions across our Foodbuy team. I work alongside the various Category Managers to test, innovate, implement and manage the rollout of benefit programs to ensure the best possible outcome for all our clients.

Tell us a little bit about your industry history

I’ve been a Chef of various different styles from fine dining, corporate and private catering, to managing large scale venues and events across my 25+ year culinary career. I’ve been very privileged that my love and passion for food has allowed me to work overseas and has taken me around the globe.

Five years ago when I first started in the Foodbuy family, I was Executive Chef at Taronga Zoo on behalf of their Client Compass. It was an extremely dynamic environment to look after from a culinary perspective with a strong social and community purpose to the service we provide.

After two great years, I was promoted to National Executive Chef for Compass Group Australia looking after sectors that covered, education, healthcare, corporate, defence and offshore remote Client environments. This role was great exposure to different sectors and differing resident and consumer expectations.

Where did your love for food come from?

Easy. Both my grandmothers. My Italian ‘Nonna’ (my mum’s mum) got me into pasta making, pretty much every Sunday as early as I can remember. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of our family get-togethers each November to make up to 30 cartons of fresh tomatoes into Passata (bottled sauce). It was a well-oiled machine, we all had our different roles to ensure the process maintained the authenticity from Calabria.

Equally, my English Grandmother was from Yorkshire (my dad’s mum) and they had lived in Malaysia for years where she loved to replicate

the cuisine she learnt from the local live-in cooks in Penang. Her cooking provoked and nurtured my respect of correct preparation, slow cooking, the use of spices and the importance of the right accompaniments.

When she prepared a curry, it was always an event that would take up to 2 days in the kitchen and end up with lots of family and friends turning up to enjoy eating it together.

I am very grateful and proud of how much exposure I had to such a variety of food from such a young age and its enduring ability to bring people together and create timeless memories.

What has stuck with you as being key to becoming a great Chef?

I believe enjoying food is about the occasion, the experience, and it’s really all about where you are and who you are with. I love an extravagant 15-course degustation, but I equally love a pie and beer at the footy.

Recommendations for favourite place to eat in Australia

China Town, Sydney. Spoilt for choice!

How do you relax and unwind?

Going to the beach, driving my classic car

What’s the secret to a great kitchen?

Teamwork, communication and positive culture

What’s the one cooking implement/device you could not live without?

My knives

What’s your favourite food?

Hard to choose one but probably fresh pasta.

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