Carina La Delfa: 30 Under 30

Published on 15 June 2022

Photo: Carina La Delfa (photo: Clint Peloso).

Carina La Delfa was born into a food-rich culture – her parents are hospitality veterans, and it was practically fated that she would become a pastry chef.

She’s worked in all corners of hospitality, including cafés, casual dining, fine dining, hotels and chocolate, and is working towards opening her own business later in 2022.

Hi, my name is Carina La Delfa.

Right now I’m working at Tommy Collins as the head pastry chef.

Before I started here, I worked at The Grand Hyatt Melbourne, and later as a chocolatier at Cacao Fine Chocolates under Tim Clark. I then went into restaurants, including The Press Club and Dinner By Heston Blumenthal, and was guided by my mentor Gareth Whitton.

All up, I’ve been cooking for10 years, all of them in Victoria.

And I’m passionate abouthonouring my Italian background with Australian produce, like when I collaborated with Soigne Hospitality Group to host a dinner that highlighted women in the industry from different cultures. 

Right now I'm into making sourdough and naturally leavened breads, and also sourcing ingredients from local companies that support the mental health of the farmers. Also, changing kitchen culture and giving all chefs of all genders and ages an equal experience in the kitchen.

Which means I like cooking things like... I've been experimenting with different sourdough starters and adding different sugars and salts to the breads to see how they react. I also love trying to incorporate savoury flavours into plated desserts. I've been experimenting with camembert cheesecakes and red wine poached pears, and flavouring the dough for our Viennoiserie with hazelnut and coffee.

At 30 Under 30 I’ll be cooking saltbush butter and buttermilk sourdough.

The person I’m most looking forward to working with for 30 Under 30 isGiorgia McAllister Forte. I've been admiring her and Monforte from afar for a while – the finesse in the product and the flavours she creates.

My favourite thing to eat in Victoria right now is all types of Viennoiserie. I really love the standard Melbourne has hit, and also we keep pushing the boundaries. Monforte, Bread Club and Wild Life are great examples.

Finally, the big change I'd like to see in our food and drink scene in the next 30 years is a culture change in the kitchen. Melbourne has always been great at creating food trends, but enough is enough – we need an even playing field. Everyone wants to have a great dining experience, why should that experience change when you enter the kitchen?

Catch Carina La Delfa at the 30 Under 30 Gala dinner on Thursday 28 July and at the 30 Under 30 dinner at Society on Wednesday 10 August and follow her at @car_in_a_ 

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