The Executive Chef
After completing an apprenticeship in Brisbane’s finest hotels, Russell Armstrong’s career continued to develop in the kitchen of the famous Connaught Hotel in London’s Mayfair under the guidance of M. Michel Bourdin. During this intensive learning experience, Russell also sought guidance from Albert Roux at his three-star restaurant, Le Gavroché.
While in Europe, Russell took advantage of a friendship he had built with Michel Troisgros and accepted an invitation to work in his father and uncle’s famous restaurant in Roanne, France – Le Frere Trois Gros.
From there Russell returned home to Brisbane, Australia, where he opened a number of award winning restaurants to showcase the skills and knowledge he had acquired in Europe. He opened two boutique hotels, one in Noosa and the other in Derby, Western Australia, before heading to the southern states to take up the position of Executive Sous Chef in charge of the fine dining room at Melbourne’s Regent Hotel.
Russell’s first restaurant in Brisbane was called Tables of Toowong. This restaurant received acclaim from both national and international food critics. Since it’s opening in 1993, Tables of Toowong was twice voted Best Australian Restaurant State Finalist by the Remi/Gourmet Traveller Magazine and in 1994, 1995 and 1997 was the American Express State Finalist for Best BYO Restaurant.
In recent years Russell has broadened his professional work to include cooking schools in Queensland and interstate as well as appearing as a guest chef to promote Australian food in South Africa, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. He is engaged as a consultant in the corporate catering area for one of the largest catering companies in Australia and has been instrumental in the formation of a group of Queensland chefs who are working together for the improvement of dining in Queensland, in terms of both supply and demand.
Before his move to South Africa for the EB Social Kitchen & Bar, Russell’s most recent achievements included Executive Chef of Australia’s first six – star hotel (Palazzo Versace), Executive chef of the much- awarded Michael’s Riverside Restaurant and the ownership and management of Armstrong’s Restaurant, in his hometown of Brisbane, Australia. Armstrong’s located within the stylish heritage listed Inchcolm Hotel, is spacious, unpretentious and has received numerous Australian culinary awards. In 2008, he opened his second restaurant Barolo, modern Mediterranean style, one which Russell is very passionate about.