Since 2009 Cory Campbell has been Shannon Bennett’s right-hand man, helping him to carve a niche as one of Australia’s most sustainable restaurateurs with Vue de Monde, The Lui Bar, Vue Events, Vue Café and Bistro Vue. It is on the 55th floor of Melbourne’s iconic Rialto building where Cory perfects his craft, at a restaurant celebrating both Australia’s heritage and the very best local produce.
Growing up on the coast of New South Wales, Cory completed his apprenticeship at The Peppers Anchorage in Port Stevens, before travelling to Europe where his backpacking adventures were interrupted by a year-long stint at The Square under Phil Howard. But it was in Copenhagen, working with René Redzepi at thrice-named World’s Best Restaurant, Noma, that Cory found a food philosophy that truly resonated with his own: one that focuses on fresh and adventurous cuisine which is truly defined by the word ‘locality’.
At the helm of Vue de Monde for ten years, it took a special kind of talent to allow Shannon to take a step back from his kitchen and position as head chef. Staking a claim to his protégé, Shannon envisages a long and prosperous culinary partnership with Cory: “I got to know Cory before he started with me while he was in Singapore. I knew from the conversations we were having at this time [that] he was a very special chef. I think I see Cory becoming a partner in the group.”
And for Cory, Vue de Monde certainly is proof that he is on the right path to making a splash in Australia’s dining scene. Along with an incredible view overlooking Melbourne’s cosmopolitan cityscape, Vue de Monde has real energy. The tasting menu is interactive, with guests using their hands to create dishes themselves and the whole experience, from eating with your fingers, feeling the patterns on the cutlery, picking up the rocks on the table to sitting back and rubbing the kangaroo fur on the chairs, becomes a unique one, infused with a real sense of its Australian setting.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, Cory also has plans to open his own Australian-inspired project. “I would love to open my own place down the track, closer to the beach, which will allow me to surf a lot more,” he says.
So if Cory is at the forefront of Australia’s fine-dining scene, what dish will herald Australia’s nouvelle cuisine, I hear you cry? Our guess: gourmet surf-and-turf. Well, never say never…
© Dianna Snape; Serap Osman