"Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for embracing Victor Churchill into your homes and hearts over the last 10 years.” - Anthony Puharich
IN CONVERSATION WITH
Luke has been lighting up the Victor Churchill store with his friendly smile for eight years (but nine Christmases and that’s when you earn your stripes, he adds).
As customer service manager, Luke knows all the ins and outs at Victor Churchill. His background as a chef has also led to teaching our classes since 2015, including our very popular Let’s Cook Meat classes - so popular that we had to add more of his classes to our school schedule.
What was your background before you started at Victor Churchill?
I did my apprenticeship with Doyles in Watsons Bay, which is also why I wanted to work with meat more. I had gathered so much knowledge about seafood, I wanted to learn all there is to know about meat. And where better than one of the top butcher shops in the world.
And you’re a local to the area.
I grew up in Bondi Beach, but also lived in Woollahra before Victor Churchill was here, and I have been in Centennial Park since 2009.
Do you remember the first time you went to Victor Churchill? What was it like?
The first time I came in to the store was after my sister told me about it. I walked down the road with an idea of what I imagined it to look like as I had shopped in the old Churchill’s three years prior. I was blown away. I had only seen pictures of charcuterie displays to finally come face to face was a dream come true. I spent the next 20 minutes walking around and asking questions to all the smiling staff. I was then told they were looking for a chef. I’m not one to believe in fate but I had my CV handed in next day with my fingers crossed I could work in the benchmark of the hospitality world.
Then what happened?
They were looking for a chef to run the slicing and rotisserie department full time which was a perfect fit for me as I was looking to get out of kitchens and I wanted to improve my knowledge on all things smallgoods. Over my eight years here I have spent time in all departments.
What has been your favourite memory?
Over my illustrious career there are many times I look back on and smile. Meeting and chatting to the rich and famous, talking cricket with the Sir Michael Parkinson is something I could have never dreamed possible but we did several times. Nevertheless what I look back on most fondly is the others I have meet or work alongside the stories, laughter and experiences shared. The lasting friendships and knowledge gained is how I will always remember Victor Churchill.
What’s your favourite thing about Victor Churchill?
What I love about Victor Churchill is obviously working with some of the best produce Australia can offer. But as cliché or unoriginal as it might sound it’s the customers that get me loving what I do. Talking food and exchanging recipes is the highlight of the job. I have also been lucky enough to start doing classes here where I can talk, teach and share my love for cooking and one that knows me knows that I don’t mind being centre stage.
What’s next for you? And what do you hope for Victor Churchill in the years to come?
What do I have planned for the coming years… I plan on seeing the world to gather more knowledge of all things food. Only to return and bring it all back to Victor Churchill. And after that I might just settle down in the South Coast or Orange NSW where I will specialise in making goat milk cheese. It’s a simple life but that’s all I need after living in the city lights of Victor Churchill.