People

Dan Hunter —

Brae is the vision of chef and owner, Dan Hunter. Dan’s career has taken him around the globe and into the kitchens of some of the world’s most acclaimed restaurants, including an appointment as Head Chef at Mugaritz, Spain.

Before opening his own venture, Dan spent six years leading the kitchen of Dunkeld’s Royal Mail Hotel. There he developed his first intensive organic kitchen garden program and took the establishment to its Three-Hat status.

In December 2013, Dan’s first solo venture, Brae opened.

The restaurant’s location, on a farm in the Otway hinterland, has allowed Dan to develop the property’s 30 acres for onsite organic vegetable and fruit production. This produce, as well as that from local, sustainable farmers is used to offer a unique, contemporary cuisine built around an immense respect for nature and seasonality.

Dan was named Chef of the Year 2012 and 2016 in The Age Good Food Guide; Chef of the Year 2016 in Australian Gourmet Traveller Magazine; and Top Chef 2016 and 2017 in The Australian Financial Review’s Top Restaurants Awards.

Dan’s debut book with leading global publisher, Phaidon was released in May, 2017.

Simon Freeman —

Restaurant Manager, Simon Freeman brings to Brae an exceptional level of food and wine knowledge, gained via his experience in a number of highly acclaimed establishments, both in Australia and his native United Kingdom.

As Restaurant Manager at Claude Bosi’s Hibiscus, Simon built the highly regarded wine list from 150 to 600 wines on the establishment’s move from Ludlow to London, while retaining the restaurant’s Two-Michelin-Star rating. On completion of his Food and Tourism studies, he returned to Hibiscus as Assistant Manager and oversaw the opening of a number of successful new restaurants throughout the UK.

On arrival in Australia, with a desire to expand his wine knowledge, Simon relocated to one of Australia’s preeminent wine regions, managing the restaurant at Margaret River’s Leeuwin Estate. Later, drawn by his passion for food and wine, together with his love of outdoor pursuits, the Royal Mail Hotel in Victoria’s Grampians mountains beckoned. During an 18 month period, working closely with Chef Dan Hunter, Simon oversaw the retention of the establishment’s Three-Hat Age Good Food Guide status for a second consecutive year and elevated the quality of restaurant service to a level seldom seen in regional Australia.

Simon has been with Brae since its inception, overseeing the opening in December 2013.