G&M speaks with Clinton McIver

Clinton McIver is part of the new generation of young, talented chefs brave enough to take the leap and embark on a solo venture. Senior Sous Chef at Vue de monde for 4 years, Clinton has also accumulated international experience in the Netherlands, Spain, the United States, and Brazil.

Amaru is his first restaurant and, though it has only been open for 3 years, it has already made its mark on the Melbourne dining scene and was awarded Best New Restaurant 2017 by Gault&Millau.

How would you best describe the experience at Amaru to a potential diner?

Our food is produce- and flavour-driven, but it's the whole experience that I believe sets us apart from a lot of other restaurants. We work hard every single day to make sure our guests get the best version of what defines Amaru every single service. It’s comfortable, intimate, unique and, above all, absolutely delicious.

What specific qualities and experience do you look for in someone looking to join the team?

What I look for more than anything else is someone with a positive attitude and a good sense of character. Most things in life can be taught, but a positive attitude, bright eye and good sense of work ethic are harder to come by.


What does Richard Overbye bring to the Amaru brigade?

As the Amaru kitchen has grown and evolved, Richard has taken all of the right steps to keep progressing up the ladder. He’s always got ideas to bring to the table in respect to the whole realm of the restaurant and is also developing into a strong leader who is never one to shy away from a challenge.


What drives Clinton McIver to strive for perfection?

What keeps me always pushing forward, I guess, would be the ability to keep shifting the goalposts, not for only myself but for the team and business as a whole. We have worked very hard for everything that we have and so far, in the 3 years we’ve been here, everything has gone back into the business, whether its new ceramics, new artwork and furnishings to keep the dining room evolving and, most recently, a kitchen renovation to give us more freedom and efficiency, there’s always something that can be improved. I will admit that while it can be stressful and challenging not knowing if you’re always making the right decisions, its extremely rewarding and almost addictive when you see and feel it all come together from an idea.


In your opinion, what does G&M bring to Australia?

I know that Gault&Millau is a very reputable brand throughout Europe and it’s steadily gaining more attention here in Australia, which is great because they have a slightly more unique system of categorising restaurants and have never been afraid to shine the spotlight on the up and comers and people out there really having a go, not just the same restaurants year in and year out. What I think is most admirable though is their seeming “awareness” of the challenges and obstacles to overcome just to survive in this industry.