Inspired to enter the culinary world at a young age, Palermo Head Chef Oliver Gould’s determination drove him from dishwashing to distinction…
…first being recognised as a finalist for both Gourmet Traveller’s Best New Talent award in 2011 and Electrolux Young Chef of the Year 2014, followed by the esteemed title of 2014 Young Chef of the Year in The Age Good Food Guide Awards.
Starting in the pot wash section as a teenager, Gould quickly fell in love with the electricity and excitement of the fast-paced restaurant environment. While undertaking a full-time apprenticeship at St Kilda’s iconic Stokehouse whilst completing high school, Gould was mentored by respected industry figures including Maurice Esposito (Cecconi’s, Sarti and Il Baccaro, The European, Stokehouse) and Anthony Musarra (Van Haandel Group, Estelle and upcoming King and Godfree).
Nurturing his insatiable thirst for knowledge, Gould left Stokehouse for a nine month stint at Souk in Prahran. Post his return to Stokehouse, Gould’s potential was recognised by Musarra, who guided him in culinary and menu design. After being promoted to the role of Head Chef in 2009, Gould’s inherent creativity and strong leadership skills led to Stokehouse being awarded two-Chef’s Hats the following year.
After eight years at Stokehouse, Gould moved to Perth to helm the kitchen at The Shorehouse. This stint provided Gould with the opportunity to explore and understand new produce, working closely with local producers in Western Australia.
A seasoned traveller, Gould’s natural curiosity has fuelled trips across Europe and USA. His interest in Argentinian culinary styles – cooking ‘a la parrilla’ over coals or embers on a parrilla grill, or ‘al asador’ (fixing produce to a metal cross or cage to roast over an open fire pit) – was first inspired by the work of celebrated Patagonian chef Francis Mallmann.
After returning to Melbourne in 2016, Gould took on the head chef title at San Telmo Group’s newest venture at the time, Palermo, delivering a unique menu exploring the culinary influences of Argentina’s Italian migrants.
Gould notes the growing demand and appreciation for South American food in Melbourne steams from the city’s inhabitants’ inherent appreciation of fresh flavours and comfort cooking. “Melburnians love the simplicity and approachableness of the dishes, as well as the flavour profile from charcoal and wood-fire-fuelled cooking.”
Now taking centre stage as Executive Chef at Asado, the San Telmo Group’s latest Spanish-leaning venture in Southbank, Gould is confident that the restaurant’s quality-over-quantity ethos and authentic culinary methods will continue to the stoke the fire for unique and authentic flavours. “At Asado, we only serve guests premium quality beef and generous portions – just like you’d get in Argentina.”