Tony Tan is one of Australia’s most respected culinary teacher and chef specialising in Chinese, Nonya, Indonesian, Korea, Cambodian Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Singaporean, Malaysian and cross-cultural cooking. Trained at La Varenne in France and Leith’s School of Food and Wine in England, he has owned and cooked at Shakahari Restaurant in Melbourne and Tatlers Café in Sydney. Tatlers was an instant success and was regarded as one of the most innovative restaurants in Australia. He was principal of his cooking school in Melbourne which he established in 2001.
A graduate in Renaissance History and Chinese Language from Monash University, Tony is fluent in several languages; as a consequence, he hosts intensive culinary and cultural tours to countries in Southeast Asia, China and Spain.
Tony has also presented several master classes around Australia and has been guest chef at hotels and restaurants throughout Australia, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, New Zealand and Spain including the Ritz in Madrid as well as at Alambique, one of Spain’s top cooking schools. He has presented at Savour New Zealand, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Tasting Australia and Melbourne Slow Food Winter Festival.
Tony has co-hosted the television series The Food Lovers Guide to Australia and has also appeared on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and Eddie MacDougall’s The Flying Winemaker. He has also organised the Asian Food Festival in Melbourne. He is the 2007 international judge from Australia at Hong Kong’s premier Chinese cuisine challenge, The Best of the Best Culinary Competition. He writes regularly for several magazines and newspapers in Australia including Australian Gourmet Traveller.
The school is listed as one of the top in Jenni Muir’s book, A Place to Cook in 2004. The UK paper, The Independent has selected his school as one of the best in the world in March, 2005 and in 2006, Tony’s cooking school is ranked as one of the top 22 internationally by London’s Financial Times. In 2007, Tony’s school is picked by the Australian as the state finalist in the Best Food Experience Category. In 2008, the school is listed as the two best in Australia by US Gourmet magazine as recognition for delivering in-depth culturally and historically accurate knowledge on the cuisines of Asia and modern Australia. He closed his school in 2012 to focus on tours and writing.
The quality of Tony’s food tours is recognised by winning The Australian newspaper’s prestigious Travel & Tourism Awards in 2008. Aside from making guest appearances as visiting chef in restaurants in Melbourne, Sydney and Wellington, he was also Creative Director – Cultural – of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. Tony is currently writing a book on Hong Kong and the long awaited Nonya book.