Our Chef

Gavan Anders

Born in Warrnambool 1965, our wonderful Executive Chef, Gav, grew up on a dairy farm near the small regional Victorian town of Laang.

One of six kids, the Anders children all had jobs cut out for them: feeding the cows and calves, collecting wood, early mornings and late nights, and grew up with the expression "in dairy farming, you don’t breed children, you breed workers!"

Growing up around all fresh food, with meat and veggies grown on the farm and a transit van delivering the missing bits and pieces once a week, Gav became involved in cooking for the family from around the age of 10.  Any failures went to the pig!

At 17, Gav started his apprenticeship in Melbourne and three years later, he then took off to London where he spent the next year working as Sous Chef at Orso in Covent Garden, London. Gav credits this experience not only with giving him a firm knowledge of regional Italian cuisine, but with introducing him to many products he had never seen in Australia (many of which took a further 10 years before they were introduced!) and instilling a keen desire for further learning.

Upon returning to Australia in 1988, Gav spent the next three years working as a Sous Chef for a number of well-known local establishments in Perth before returning to Melbourne where he was employed at The Adelphi as a Sous Chef for Sabrina Santucci, with a focus on home-style Italian Cuisine, and where they gained One Chef's Hat in The Age Good Food Guide later that year.

Over the next 6 years Gav took on a diverse range of positions, including Breakfast Chef, Chef de Partie and Head Chef at well-known Melbourne eateries, such as Egusto, The Dog’s Bar and The Deck Restaurant in Southgate, with a short stint in between at Il Fornaio in St Kilda, specifically to gain experience in bread and pastry making with well-known patisseur Louis Vassaunot.

It was soon after this that Gav then joined The Farmers Arms, returning to his country and farming heritage.

With a keen desire for travelling and through his experience at Orso in London, Gav’s early career was spent pursuing a love for European foods. In more recent years, however, he has been inspired by the flavours of Asian cuisine, taking him to cities such as Ho Chi Minh, Bangkok and Hong Kong to "look, eat, smell" and continue his never-ending search for new ingredients and dishes.

Gav now resides in Ballarat and took the position of Head Chef at The Farmers Arms in April, 2011. He is a true Chef - no shortcuts, consistency is everything and he would never send out a substandard meal. He works as part of a group, has a lovely temperament and gets on well with everyone!
He is now also the proud father of Alexandria, born in early 2013.


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In his words:

What keeps you inspired?
The incredible range of ingredients we have access to, great people to work with, an enthusiastic audience who are so happy to try different dishes and pass compliment - that's what drives any chef really. We have created something special here at The Farmers Arms and we work well together. Everyone brings something to the table. A love of food and a desire to present what I can do well. The reaction I get in return inspires me to do more.

Favourite dishes; what do you love cooking and eating?
There’s been a lot - too many to name! I have a general love of food, which crosses many regions and cuisines, and I have a great curiosity to try new dishes. Memories of food tend to be based around who you’re with and the time that you had together. Every element of a dish should be a memory.

Why The Farmers Arms?
You have to feel comfortable about the space you work in and I am working with people that I have complete faith in, and whom I have worked together with for a long time now.  We have the same ethic about food and service - it's about deciding on a level or a standard and an expectation from our clientèle that we know we can deliver really well on.

Talking about the space you work in, what about the new kitchen (completed May, 2013)?
We’re all very excited about the new kitchen and have come up with an amazing design which we believe will give us every opportunity to do so much more: grow the pub in patronage and further develop the lunch menu to include smaller, complete and compact dishes - run in and out, "on the move" dishes that allow visitors to have a lighter style meal if they are on the road and travelling through town.

  • Having never been to the Farmers Arms at all, the opportunity to visit this time was taken.
    Standing proudly on a prominent corner on the outskirts, the Arms is a red brick building with lush green overgrowth on a green lawn base.
    Seeing a patient dog on a Ute parked outside is always a good sign at a country pub.
    With loads of atmosphere and character on tap inside, the mix of Melbourne trendies, locals, families, blokes and international visitors mixed in well.
    Drinks were cold and wet, food was delicious and surprisingly fast in delivery and staff were attentive. Menu had a definite ItalMed feel.
    All praise from us, see you next time.

    Kurzo - January 08, 2018  (TripAdvisor)