Food has always been a huge part of Ross Magnaye’s life. Growing up in the Philippines, his formative years were a constant feast, celebrating birthdays, weddings and other family occasions with generous home-cooked spreads. When it came time to choose a career, young Ross turned to his grandmother, a chef and restaurateur who ran the popular eatery Carol’s in Cagayan de Oro City. Her advice: “Apply for cooking school.”
With Melbourne as his Australian base, apprentice Ross set out to glean as much from the city’s diverse cuisines as possible. He trained as a pastry chef under Darren Purchese at Burch & Purchese in South Yarra, gaining valuable skills. With a reputation for talent and a strong work ethic, Ross added Spanish, Italian and modern Australian restaurants to his growing CV, including Society and Little Hunter.
Taking time out from the Melbourne scene, in 2014 Ross travelled to some of the world’s top kitchens. Stints at the Michelin-starred DOM in São Paulo, Brazil, under chef Alex Atala, and the award-winning Aziamendi in Phuket, Thailand, with chef Eneko Atxa, rekindled his passion for cooking.
Ross returned to Melbourne eager to expand his knowledge of all aspects of the restaurant business, concentrating on front of house work before taking up the pans again. Now, as head chef of Melbourne’s popular Rice Paper Scissors, he has refined his cooking style, producing simple South East Asian food that’s big on flavour, heavily influenced by his Filipino background. The long lunch and dinner queues are testament to his success.
Ross has also headlined at several pop-up events in Sydney, Bali, Thailand and the Philippines, part of his mission to share the unique flavours of Filipino food with the world. He is keen to represent his culture in every field, including public appearances, demonstrations, events and television.
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