3210 West Swan Road
Caversham WA 6055
Born and bred in Western Australia Phil Thomas discovered his passion for food at a young age.
His career began by peeling vegetables and scrubbing pots and pans after school and on weekends to get his foot in the door of a real commercial kitchen and secure an apprenticeship.
Having completed his apprenticeship at high end restaurants around Perth, by the age of 21 Phil was keen to pursue his passion for food and travel. He moved east and based himself in the heart of one of Melbourne’s renowned food precincts, St Kilda to continue work on his love for authentic Italian cuisine at Donovan’s on the Esplanade.
A job offer at Owensville in Ripponlea steered Phil’s culinary senses in a new direction. Here he was introduced to Middle Eastern cuisine by Robin Sutcliffe and delved into the flavours of Arabic, Turkish, Moroccan and Lebanese influences. This opened his senses further and while gaining influential experience also increased his desire to travel the world.
A move to the Mornington Peninsula soon followed. As Sous Chef to his mentor Brad Leahy they opened the new prestigious National Golf Club at Cape Schanck. With its beautiful glass front dining rooms overlooking the rugged coast line of the Bass Straight, Phil cooked for some great Australian icons such as Greg Norman, Leyton Hewitt, John Farnham and Malcolm Fraser.
At the age of 25, still full of enthusiasm for travel Phil booked his flight overseas and was soon to be encapsulated by the bustling food markets of Barcelona. Completely amazed by the variety and quality of fresh produce he spent hours wondering the streets engulfed in his love for all things food.
Based in West Sussex in the south of England the next two years were spent absorbing the cultures and cuisines that influence Phil’ style of food today. From fine dining in the heart of London, riding a camel into the Sahara Desert to enjoy an evening meal with the Berber tribe, eating tapas and running with the bulls in Spain, to a salivatingly good horse meat pasta with freshly grated white truffles and a glass of Barolo in Lake Como, Italy, Phil was certainly in his element. After getting lost in the wonders of Morocco, Turkey, France, Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece and its islands the time eventually came for the dream to end and Phil returned to his home town of Perth, older and wiser but still as passionate about all things food.
After a year as Sous Chef at Sandalford Wines in the Swan Valley, the opportunity arose for Phil to take over the reins and share his world experiences and his own style of food, which he describes as “Modern Australian with Middle Eastern and European influences” in the form of a fresh seasonal menu. “Here at Sandalford we cater for local and international guests in a professional yet relaxed environment. We strive for a consistent world class offering from our A la Carte Restaurant, private and corporate functions to our concert and events for up to 12 000 people. The beauty of our estate is certainly a major draw card and we compliment that with our food and some amazing wines.”
Since taking over as Executive Chef, Phil and his dedicated brigade of eight chefs have won back to back Gold Plate Awards from the Catering Institute of Australia and a Best Restaurant Award from the Western Australian Tourism Association. Phil has found the perfect opportunity to release his enthusiasm and flair for quality modern food, which is of course, Sandalford Wines.