5 Minutes with… Adelene Stahnke

4min August 6th, 2019
Introducing Untied's new Head Chef, Adelene Stahnke.
Discovering her true passion for cooking at a young age (think a competitive streak in home ec…), Adelene’s love for cooking has seen her work with the best of the best. From Melbourne institution Tonka to modern Bangladeshi restaurant, Bang Street Food, and even Michelin star restaurants like Madison Park in NYC. Keep reading to find out more about Adelene and what’s happening on the foodie front at Untied.

Meet Adelene

Adelene, tell us why you got into cooking?

As cliché as it sounds, I would say my two grandmothers ignited my love for cooking. One being German and one being Indonesian, I learned two very different styles of cooking. Plus, I was always obsessed with eating which was a huge indicator! So, when I was 14 I decided to become a trained chef because I realised how competitive I was in home ec. I knew this is what I was truly passionate about.

You’ve got an impressive resume, where did you previously work before Untied?

I lived in Melbourne for a while where I worked as a chef de partie at Tonka which is a Flinder’s Lane institution. Then I moved back to Sydney where I was at QT Sydney’s, Gowings before becoming Sous Chef at Bang Street Food which was an incredible modern Bangladeshi restaurant. From there I took on my first head chef role at House of Crabs in Redfern, which is part of Australian Venue Co., before landing my current role at Untied.

New Menu

You’ve recently revamped the menu, was there a particular food philosophy behind the change?

We have really shaken up the food at Untied in the past few months, but our biggest goal has been becoming really dietary aware. Instead of disappointing guests by pointing out the menu items of dishes they can’t have we have a whole separate menu specifically for them, for example Vegans. Veganism isn’t just another food trend. It appears to be getting progressively more popular and I think it’s here to stay. Venues are better off getting ahead of the game because there’s a huge demographic of plant based consumers out there. Even though I’m a huge meat eater, I feel like that really works to my advantage when creating these substitute menus. Just because it’s vegan doesn’t mean it has to be bland. So flavour is what I’m really focusing on.

Love that! So what was you overall approach for the menu?

The new menu has a great variety of options that appeals to all our different customers. For lunch we’ve stuck to the basics with our bowls and burgers offering. We’re in the heart of Barangaroo so the corporates want something quick and easy during their lunch breaks. On the weekends we have our Brunch with Soul Saturdays and Vegan Brunch Sundays, both bottomless and completely different from one another. Since lock out laws,  Sydney has become more day orientated so we’ve come up with the perfect offering for our customers that love their all-day boozy brunch sessions. Lastly, we have our A La Carte menu which is all about killer bar snacks like our boujee filled garlic bread gougere puffs and our truffle honey luxe wings. We also have the DIY taco platters that the groups are loving as a sharing option. Overall there’s a huge variety of meat dishes, vego, vegan and gluten free options.

Favourite Dishes

Loads of choices! What would you say the hero dish on the menu is?

The hero dish at the moment would have to be the hanger steak taco! It’s sizzling marinated hanger steak with green chilli mint yogurt, radish, snow pea tendril and pickled shallots. Its also available in the DIY taco platter so the whole group can smash it.

What about your favourite dish to cook on the new menu?

My favourite dish to cook is the beignets which we serve with tonnes of icing sugar as tradition and whipped praline cream. When I was travelling the states my favourite place by far was New Orleans! I had the most mind blowing beignet donuts at Café Du Monde so recreating them is really special to me. I’m constantly perfecting the recipe especially the vegan beignet which is served with a coconut whip.

Last two questions, we promise. What has been your career highlight?

In between House of Crabs and Untied I spent three months backpacking all around America. It was important for me to do a personal culinary trip for myself. I was lucky enough to do work experience at some phenomenal Michelin restaurants while I was there. Elske and Acadia in Chicago and Eleven Madison Park in New York city. What a dream!

Sounds incredible! Finally, what excites you most about Untied?

I think it (Untied) being so new & in an area where we are seeing a lot of new and exciting bars and restaurants open. With a lot of Sydney kind of going backwards it’s great to be in a venue that’s experiencing growth. We’re also a really female forward venue, all of the Senior management team are ladies and it creates a great positive space that can be really enjoyed by all of our guests.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Australian Venue Co. acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.

Australian Venue Co. is a place free from discrimination, where everyone belongs. We respect and celebrate the diversity of our communities, including people of all cultural and faith backgrounds, classes, gender and sexual identities, ages and abilities and we are committed to creating a safe and welcoming space for all.