Ben McRae named new Executive Chef

Apples + Pears Entertainment Group is excited to announce the arrival of new Executive Chef, Ben McRae.

Ben McRae will bring his fresh and vibrant take on pan-Asian food to the group's Melbourne flagship restaurants, Red Spice Road and Burma Lane. 

For over eleven years Red Spice Road has been serving some of the best Asian fusion cuisine in town and is now excited to bring Ben’s extensive authentic experience in Asiacombined with international 5-star diningto the table. A match made in heaven. Ben brings 20 years’ experience to the kitchen from a diverse background in some of the world’s finest dining institutions. 

Ben can count Sale St Bistro and Brewery (now Sweat Shop Brew Kitchen), Bisma Eight,  and Thailand’s prestigious Issaya group as previous residence, though most notable is his time as Executive Chef at Nihi, Sumba (Indonesia), Travel + Leisure Magazines ‘Worlds Best Resort Hotel’ 2016/2017. 

McRae has been wowing the mouths of royalty, prime ministers, rock stars and international sporting icons around the world, returning to his native Australia ready to give Melbourne diners the best and most tongue-tantalising pan-Asian food in the city. But all this cooking for celebrities doesn’t mean Ben’s food is stuffy. “Eating should be fun!” says McRae. “I love creating modern produce-driven food that takes influences from everywhere, shines on the plate and leaves you wanting to try the next dish,” he said. 

While Chef Ben may be a fan of wine, spirit and cocktail matches, he specialises in matching his cuisine with beer and has won numerous awards for his spectacular combinations. Ben is also the brand ambassador for Beervana, Asia, conducting craft beer and food pairing events across South East Asia. Ben is partnering with Wine Selectors in their masterclass “The Chef & The cellar” at the Good Food & Wine Show. He will also be conducting cooking demonstrations on food & beer pairing, as part of the Ariston Food and Drink Experience at GABS festival.   

Vanessa Green, Managing Director of Apples + Pears said, “We are really excited to have Ben on board, he is such a talent, and we can’t wait to bring a whole new fresh palate of flavours to Melbourne diners. Ben loves to collaborate with chefs from his travels so expect plenty of guest appearances coming soon! We’re lucky to have such a talented chef, not to mention super lovely guy, come home to Australia.” She said. 

Between the restaurants and external pop-up events, Apples + Pears Entertainment Group fed over a quarter of a million people in 2018. Red Spice Road, has been operating for more than 11 years and is the unofficial home of Melbourne’s best pork belly. Burma Lane is the group's youngest Melbourne restaurant. A vibrant venue where Asia meets the world via creative and fresh taste sensations delivered in a melting pot of different flavours and cultures.