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Bent On Food | Personnel

Donna Carrier - Proprietor and Restaurant Manager

Donna is the proprietor of Bent on Food Cafe and Regional Produce Store and Bent on Life Homewares store. Donna started Bent on food 15 years ago and the business has grown from strength to strength. Donna grew up in the region on acres where she enjoyed gardening and looking after the animals.  She has always enjoyed food and cooking and spent 18 years in the wine industry where she completed her Associate Diploma in Wine Marketing at Roseworthy Agricultural College. She is proud to have worked for wonderful family owned companies such as Brown Brothers Wines, Yalumba Wines, and Cassegrain Wines, she also worked with many small producers in the wine industry and her passion for food and wine is evident. In 2017 Donna was awarded Myall Lakes Woman of the Year for her contribution to the Wingham community and tourism in the region. Donna is a Board member at Destination North Coast NSW, committee member Barrington Coast Tourism and in 2019 mentored a group of business owners on Norfolk Island. Donna is a hospitality tourism consultant. 

Donna Carrier full bio

Michael Finch - Head Chef

Listen here to Michael's interview with ABC Radio in May 2019

Michael Finch has come home to cook at Bent on Food as it's new head chef. His travels over the past years have been long and diverse but he says it's time to put down some roots and enjoy the community values and friendliness which only a home town like Wingham can bring.

After initially moving from Sydney to Wingham with his family when he was eleven, he attended Wingham Public School and then Wingham High before commencing a chef apprenticeship at a little restaurant called Fergies attached to the Australian Hotel. There he was lucky enough to work with Fergie's restaurateur David Ferguson who launched him in the classic tradition and was the catalyst for Michael's life long passion and pursuit of his dreams.

From Fergies and after completing his apprenticeship in 5 star hotels in Sydney and a year on Hayman Island , Michael left for overseas to explore the world.

Michael first began soaking up what Ireland had to offer, working at the Killarney Towers Hotel as Sous Chef with Donal Kean at the helm. After a year he moved to Londons Cafe Royal Grill Room as Premier Sous Chef where he achieved Michelin Stars together with Herbert Berger with a few short stages at notorious 3 starred London restaurants.

Then to France, Moulin de Mougins with the 3 starred Roger Verge who mentored his tour year in France to 2 and 3 starred restaurants in Nice, Cannes, Paris and Strasburg. From France to a year in northern Italy, from Italy to the Grand Hyatt Melbourne, from there to Marriott Sydney, and then to Jakarta, Indonesia. 

After marrying an Indonesian girl Vina, and a few years later becoming a father to  Nicolas, he worked in various capacities in Indonesia and the Middle East, gaining experience not only in a Executive chef capacity in large multi national hotels, but also in the management field as General Manager and Managing Director, negotiating business between different cultures languages and  companies.

Although these experiences were amazingly challenging and mind expanding, he had begun to realise there was something missing in the high powered expat life and with Vina, started to make plans to return to his home town to enable their son and themselves to benefit from the Australian way of life which Michael  so valued.

After dipping his feet in the water at Taree and Port Macquarie,  He has taken the plunge into embracing Bent On Food , the philosophy of which suits him to a tee with its focus on local produce and community, and he hopes to continue the tradition of  inspiring people with honest food with depth and authenticity.